Lost Cat Finder: An Interview with Kim “The Cat Detective” Freeman
As a full-time pet detective, Kim Freeman has years of practice tracking lost cats –and the dirt under her nails to prove it.
Combining lost cat behavior, missing persons profiling, tracking and trapping savvy with lots of cool technology, she’s been deemed the world expert in lost cat recovery, solving cases all over the US plus 17 countries from balcony jumping cats in Israel to lorry leapers in the UK, campers in Canada, surfers in Australia, and even a case in Latvia where the cat was trapped in a shed that had been locked for years.
Freeman takes her trained search cat, Henry to track escaped cats in-person and also coaches people via her online search guides: How to Find a Lost Cat.
For cat lovers, caretakers and shelters, this is key info that can change your world–and the cats’ –for the better.
What made you start LostCatFinder.com?
I lost my own cat and felt the panic and desperation firsthand– along with how cat owners are often deprived of the sympathy and community support offered to dog owners. I also got the typical load of bad advice and cruel comments about coyotes.
What reasons do cats become lost?
Reasons vary between indoor-only and outside-access cats, but in my experience, cats are often lost around the time of a move, while a pet sitter is on duty, and during holidays when kids and guests leave doors open. I’m also seeing a big increase in missing cats with popularity of cat harnesses.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when they lose a cat?
Following lost dog advice. Walking or driving around calling is a mistake as calling from anywhere but home can lead their cat farther away ala the Pied Piper. Leaving food out is a mistake as well, as it can attract wildlife and other cats. Same for the age- old wives tale of putting out a smelly litter box.
All these mistakes plus other big time wasters are covered in my tips and tutorial video, How to Find A lost Cat at www.LostCatFinder.com as an instant download. More importantly, the steps and tricks that DO work are outlined in a quick show & tell demo.
How can you prevent losing your cat?
Have a system, and make sure pet sitters understand the protocol for entry, exit and feeding time. Also best not to hope for the best on holidays; lock the cats in a bedroom with a note on the door. Better yet, LOCK that door and set up a Feliway diffuser in the room until guests, kids, fireworks, festivities are well over. And top priority is a microchip even if your cat is indoor only because should they ever get out, they need some form of ID in case they end up at a shelter or vet. For ID that can be spotted and read by everyone, I prefer a wide collar with lettering that can be read from a distance such as the Glow Track reflective collar with 1.5 inch lettering. Quick easy public ID is key as most cat will not end up at a shelter for weeks, months or even years.
I watched some of the video interviews on your site. In one of them, you mention that if you haven’t found your cat in 48-hours, then to seek help. I see you sell a book on your site for an instant video and e-booklet. I have never had my cat lost, but I would think I wouldn’t be in a frame of mind to read a book about it.
Some people prefer to read, some would rather watch a video, and just want quick custom advice, so I offer all three options.
Funny but people will waste hours and weeks searching in counter-productive ways, yet do not want to spend one hour learning from an expert what works. It seems that the owners who find their cats are the ones who do all three. When they say they will “do anything it takes” they mean it.
I think if someone can only manage one thing, the video tutorial is most useful as it shows tips and tricks for each type of cat personality along with how to use the key equipment most useful in a lost cat search.
If you’re not near me, but my cat is lost – you suggest buying the book, flyers and coaching package? What is the percentage of recovery using that method?
I’ve been doing lost cat search & rescue full-time for 7 years now, but until recently have not been tracking percentages on each method. Being able to hire an assistant means better record keeping and she is on those kind of details freeing me up to better focus on the cases and cats. Although I get letters often from kind owners who simply skimmed the booklet, not everyone who finds their cat writes to let me know. Authors love to hear form their readers, especially when it’s good news about how their knowledge took a lost cat owner from tears of despair to a “joy explosion” once their beloved lost cat was back home.
How successful have you been with your on-site search and rescue? What is the percentage of recovery using that method?
When the case is a recently-escaped indoor only cat, and I can take my tracking cat Henry out to follow the trail and direction of travel the odds are very good Henry will track right up to the hiding cat, or show me enough clues that I can find them or leave the owner with a strategy plan to recover them within 48 hours.
What is the radius of your search and rescue – in other words, where are you located and how far will you travel?
I am in Atlanta, GA and will travel anywhere if I feel there is a good chance I can help beyond what I can advise them to do on their own. I rarely take cases that are beyond 2 months out and do not accept cases if the owner is not part of the plan or resistant to my help. That said, I’ve recovered cats in 18 countries to date and been flown out to various US states in my 7 years as a lost cat specialist..
I saw on your interview and video page on your site, that your cat, Henry helps you – how did he become trained in doing that?
I met him at an adoption even and was taken by his fearless and chill demeanor. He was lounging on a grassy knoll watching humans and dogs stroll by with complete laid back interest. After observing how intently he sniffed my finger I presented to him as a kitty handshake, I went to my car to get my shelter cat enrichment kit. He was so exceptional, I asked to adopt him on the spot, but it took about two weeks of hoops before they granted me permission. He had been at the shelter for over a year and I felt so lucky to have found him! So now, Henry is a rescue cat who rescues cats!
Visit Kim’s website here: Lost Cat Finder.
Ironically, Kim had a successful lost Ragdoll cat reunion, which she featured on her Facebook page:
Has your cat ever been lost? Were you able to recover s/he? What methods did you use?
What an absolute star HENRY is!!! Bless you Kim and bless you Jenny for this interview and this information. I would like to add some more information about risk factors.
TRADESMAN: I had a tradesman visit my house yesterday and he arrived early. So I hadn’t put FLUFFY safely outside in his enclosure (which I would usually do). Long story short… FLUFF bolted behind some furniture, and then bolted into the bathroom. He was safe on top of the bathroom vanity for the duration of the visit, but I had completely lost control of the situation and FLUFF was beyond terrified (he hates strangers).
So TRADESMEN definitely present a risk for opening doors (and windows) without thinking, and I should have stuck to my usual routine of isolating FLUFF in his enclosure BEFORE allowing the tradesman in the house.
I regarded this particular tradesman as “safe” because he has been to the house before and he has a cat himself. We had previously discussed cat behaviour and he was very much aware that FLUFFY is not allowed outside to roam. But he doesn’t really understand what that means…
Thank you for featuring me and Henry, Jenny! For anyone interested, here he is in action tracking a deal kitty who escaped during a pet sitter situation. Two cats got out, one was recovered after a cat fight.
The owners thought for sure timid little Violet was dead for sure. They had given up after searching over a week –day and night for the lost cat. Since they are on my NExtDoor and pleaded URGENT, I offered to help at no charge. They were less than two miles away.
I was lucky to have an old friend along with a camera; she got some good action footage of Henry doing his Lost Pet Tracker job. Here is clip and happy reunion:
So proud of my tracking cat! I think he may be the only “bloodhound cat” in the world!
Purrs & peace,
Kim & Henry
WOW! AMAZEBALLS! LURVE HENRY SO MUCH!! He is truly OOAK!!! 🙂 <3 <3 <3
WOW! SUPER FABULOUS & PAWESOME INTERVIEW POST, Jenny! LURVED this one soooo very much. Sooooo very fascinating and super insightul. What an amazing woman & website! Very impressive! She is doing such important work! God bless her & Henry! 🙂 <3
Luckily, Miss PSB has never gotten out of our apartment! We are super diligent about her presence when we have the front door open for comings & goings in our daily routines and upon delivery or company arrivals… 🙂 <3
Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!
Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3
definitely one of those jobs, i never thought of having as a kid! glad she has helped reunite kitties with their owners.
lol…I didn’t even KNOW such a job existed until this interview! She provides an amazing service! 🙂 <3