How to Find a Lost Cat or Lost Kitten

This article offers help to cat owners who have lost their cat. How to find a lost cat, or kitten. What to do when your pet cat is lost. How can I find my lost cat? How can I find my lost kitten? Where to look for a lost cat or kitten? What to do when your cat is missing.
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When your cat is lost there are several things you should do in order to find your lost pet. Above all be aware that you need to not delay action in looking for a lost pet. In most places animal shelters only have to wait 72 hours before they are legally considered the owner of a lost pet. As well veterinarians may not be allowed to operate on injured pets when an owner cannot be found for 72 hours.

Step One to Three should be done immediately, Step Four to Six should be followed if the cat has not been found after 24 hours.

Step One – Look for your Cat

Be sure your cat is lost, look for it in your home, check your shed, garage, and closets. Check your yard, specifically look under bushes and decks, because if your cat has been injured, poisoned, or hit by a car, it will probably be someplace snug such as under a bush, or under your deck. Take a quick walk, or bike ride, around your block (not in a car as you cannot hear meowing). Call your cats name, listen for meowing, as your cat may be shut in somebodies garage, or hiding.

Step Two – Call the local Animal Shelter

Most areas have an animal shelter, or agency, that deals with the lost and found pets of the area. This may be a humane society, SPCA, dog pound, or so forth. If you do not know who to call you should phone a veterinarian as they will know. You may have more than one place you need to call. Leave a “Lost Cat” report with them, and have them check to see if any new stray cats have been admitted or reported.

Step Three – Talk to Neighbors

Make a note informing your neighbors that your cat is missing. If they are not home put a note in their mail box with the information and your phone number.

Step Four – Make Posters

If you have not recovered your cat in the first 24 hours after you notice it missing, you should make posters. These should be put around your neighborhood. Offering a reward is a good way to get attention. Remember to include a photo of your lost cat, or description. Be sure to remove all signs after your cat is found.

Step Five – Visit the Animal Shelter

If you live in a large city chances are several cats are admitted daily as strays or lost cats. The staff might describe your cat differently than you did on your lost cat report, or they might have overlooked it. Visit the shelter that houses the lost and stray pets, and specifically tell them you are there to look for your lost cat. Have a photograph you can leave with them that they can attach to your Lost Cat report.

Step Six – Call your Local Newspaper or Radio Station

Many newspapers offer free “Lost and Found Pet” ads, but even if the ad is not free it will be worth it. Radio stations sometimes provide announcements for lost pets or have a recording people can listen to if they have lost or found a pet.

*Be Aware

  • Lost cats are frequently taken in by well meaning, but ignorant people, who do not know that they cannot just keep any cat they find.
  • Cats are frequently picked up by neighbors angry at them being loose, and then dumped in other areas of town or in the country. If a cat matching your cats description is reported in another area of town you should check it out.
  • Cats bond to locations, a cat will try to find its way home – if you have recently moved it may be trying to find its way back to its old home.
  • Animal Shelters (pounds, etc.) are very busy, and often understaffed. You need to check back with them regularly rather than waiting for them to call you. At first you may want to call or visit daily.
  • If a cat was injured it may have been found and taken to a veterinarian. Usually veterinarians have to report these cats to the local shelter, but you may want to phone the veterinarians yourself, just in case.

cat and donkey

Lots of city cats get dumped in the country, in some areas it is legal for farmers to shoot strays.  It is not legal to abandon a cat in the country.

When you get your cat back, please keep it indoors, or in your yard.  Please also provide it with some sort of permanent identification (tattoo or microchip).

Related Links

Attention Cat Owners:  Not Everyone Likes Your Cat!

Should Cats be Allowed Outdoors?

What to do when you Find a Stray Pet

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