Weeks ago, one of our Floppycats' readers lost her new kitten while traveling in her RV. I was heart broken for her and didn't know exactly what to suggest. Unfortunately, the kitten has not been found, but fortunately, she took notes of where to go when you lose your kitty and sent me a number of resources to help us put together this article.
Loosing a pet can be a heartbreaking experience. While efforts to prevent a pet getting lost are of course the best measures – such as registering your pet with a lost pet organization or microchipping it - it is good to know what resources are available as soon as possible when you realize a pet is missing, as some resources are dependent on an early response. Here are some options you can pursue to locate a missing pet:
Bloodhounds: These can be very effective in tracking a pet as long as scents are still fresh.
Contact Shelters, Vets And Other Agencies: The Humane Society encourages pet owners in the article “What to Do If You Lose Your Pet” to contact local shelters and other pet control agencies within a 60 mile radius of the home. Give the agencies a description of your pet and a recent photo, and check back with them daily. You can try passing the same information along to vets as well. If you believe your pet might have been stolen, you might also want to contact the police.
Tips for finding a cat: According to the article “Tips to Find Lost Pets,” there are strategies you can use that are specific to finding a cat:
- Look close to home - Indoor cats often do not wander far from home and are found just a few houses away. Check under porches, in garages, and in basements – a cat might just have gotten stuck in a little-used place, and might be indulging a natural tendency to hide when frightened, particularly in new surroundings. Check with neighbors to see if any spaces like these might have been left open, and then walk around and call your pet’s name, giving yourself time to listen for their reply.
- Create a comfort area – Set up an inviting place for your pet to return to somewhere outside your home. You might put out an old cardboard box with a towel or something that smells like home, along with food and water. Your pet might return to a place like this if it is nearby, and that way there is always something they can go to even when you are not actively searching.
- Look at night – After dark is the best time to look for cats, because the streets are quiet and the cat will most likely emerge to look for food. Check around your neighborhood with a flashlight, and bring some cat food to feed and calm your cat if it turns up.
Internet Resources: There are a lot of different internet resources available to help locate lost pets, including:
- Craigslist (specific to a city)
- Find Toby (specific to a state)
Some of these services cost money, and all are most effective when utilized as soon as possible.
Ask Around: Talk to anyone in your area – children, neighbors, even your mail carrier. They might be helpful even by just keeping an eye out for your pet.
Advertise: Make a flyer with a photo and description of your pet, along with your contact information. Hang them wherever you can, distribute them, and see if you can post them in places like your local grocery store or the vet’s office. Offering a reward might also help.
Newspaper: Put a “lost pet” ad in the newspaper with a photo, description, contact information, and details about where and when the pet was lost. Consider leaving out one detail in the description to avoid pet scam artists in case you are offering a reward. Also keep an eye on the “pet found” section of your local newspaper, and follow up on anything that looks similar to your pet.
For more tips on finding a lost pet, check out the Best Friend Animal Society article “How to Find Your Lost Pet.”
The key to finding a lost pet is to start using your resources as soon as possible and to not give up. Some pets have been found even months after going missing - pets can be smart and resilient, so don’t stop looking for them! Of course, having your pet microchipped is a good idea as well.
Do you know of any other resources of where to find a missing pet?