Losing a cat – or any pet – is devastating. We worry that harm will come to them while they’re missing and we worry about asking for help in locating them because of the judgment we might receive. So, today our veterinarians in Raleigh are sharing some great tips to find lost cats.
Losing a Cat: Veterinarians in Raleigh Share 5 Tips to Find Lost Cats
Asking For Help Finding a Cat
Now, first thing is first, let’s address the anxiety you may have about asking others for help in finding your lost cat.
You need to remember that even the best pet parent can lose their pet. A gardener leaving a gate open, answering the door to a salesperson, opening a window when you’ve burned the toast…they’re all situations where our cats can slip out before we have time to realize that this is even a possibility. It may only be seconds before we realize that they’ve made a break for it but by then, they’re already out and (as every cat owner knows) running after them is going to do no good at all.
So, set that anxiety aside. It’s possible for ANYONE to have their cat escape and the more eyes you have looking for that kitty, the better.
5 Tips To Help Find a Lost Cat From Our Veterinarians in Raleigh
1. Microchip Your Cat
One of the best things that you can do to help to locate your cat if they do go missing, is to have them microchipped. A microchip is a small electronic chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. Each microchip has an identifying number and that number is registered to you. Once your cat is microchipped, you will usually have to go to the chip company’s website where you will fill in your contact information, identifying information for your cat, and your vet’s name. Now, when your cat goes missing, if they are picked up by someone familiar with lost animals, animal control, or other local authorities, they can head to any local vet or animal shelter where a scanner can be used to scan for a microchip. In your case, the scanner would pull up your information and the finder of your cat could then contact you to let you know that they have found your kitty!
Some microchip companies offer additional “BOLO” alerts (you may have to pay an additional fee depending on the company). These services allow you to hop online and submit a “BOLO” alert. This alert is then sent to other members of the service who live in your area. This is a very worthwhile service because it gives you more search coverage!
2. SLOWLY Walk After Them
The last thing you want to do when your cat escapes is to run after them, but QUIETLY and slowly walking after them is a good first move. Try to keep your cat in sight as you follow them.
If your cat has been an inside cat for all their life, they are very likely to be overwhelmed by the newness of outdoors. With so many new sights, smells, and sounds, the first thing they are going to want to do is to hide which means that if you do lose sight of them, they are likely hiding closeby.
Making loud noises like shouting for them and clapping your hands will only increase their fear if your cat is already overwhelmed. If your cat isn’t overwhelmed, making loud noises like clapping or shouting their name will let them know that you are following them and they will likely take off running to avoid being caught.
3. Act Calmly
If your cat looks back and sees you following them, avoid eye contact, kneel down, and stretch out your hand. QUIETLY call your cat’s name.
This will sometimes encourage your cat to return to you because they are curious as to what you are doing or what you may have.
4. Lure Them With Familiar Things
If your cat doesn’t turn around or if they don’t come to you when you drop down to your knees, you need to focus on getting your cat home rather than following them. One of the best ways to do this is with familiar items.
Begin with your cat’s litterbox. Set it out on the porch and take some used cat litter and create a trail to the litterbox. Set out your cat’s water bowl and food closeby too. Make sure that there is an open door or some way for your cat to easily get back inside the house. If your cat is hiding close to home, a little time will allow them to calm down and the scent of something familiar may lure them home. If your cat comes to eat and drink, they will likely use their litterbox and may simply walk back into the house.
5. When Your Cat Isn’t Close to Home
If your cat isn’t close to home, they won’t catch the scent of their familiar items, so it’s time to make use of other resources.
- Put on a worn shirt, old sneakers – clothes and shoes that have your scent, the stronger that scent, the better.
- Walk around close to your home with a box or bag of treats while shaking it and call for your cat. As your walk, the hotter and sweatier you get, the better because it will increase the strength of your scent.
- If your cat doesn’t show themselves or come to you, go home and set your worn clothes out near the other items you set out to increase familiar smells that may lure them home.
- Put out a BOLO through your cat’s microchip company, notify local shelters, online lost pet groups, and neighbors. This will help to get more people looking for your cat. If you want to make flyers, do this too.
- If your cat has a travel carrier that they feel safe in, set that out with comfortable bedding inside to give your cat somewhere safe to retreat to. If your cat isn’t comfortable with a carrier, take a cardboard box and cut a hole one side. Turn the box upside down and place something heavier on top to keep it in place. Put some comfortable bedding inside.
- Go out to look for your cat during night time and early morning hours when it’s quieter outside.
- Contact local shelters and ask if they have seen a cat that fits the description of your cat.
If You Have Had No Luck
If the tips above haven’t helped and your cat still has not returned home, you need to take a little more drastic action. Get hold of a wildlife trap – you can contact your local shelter, rescues, or animal control and they may be able to provide you with one. You can also purchase one at most hardware stores or stores like Lowes and Home Depot. Set up the trap using something very appealing to your cat – a small amount of human-grade tuna, for example.
Keep in mind that you may trap any type of animal in your humane trap, but it’s also a great way to trap your own cat. If you do trap another animal, release that animal and set up the trap again.
In the meantime, continue to contact local shelters, scan the local lost and found groups, and spend as much time outside your home in your garden as you can. Spending time outside and talking while you’re out there is a great way to let them know that you are nearby.
If your cat has a fur-sibling, you can also get a harness and take their sibling walking closeby. Sometimes even if your cat won’t respond or come to you, they will respond to their furriends!
Looking For Veterinarians in Raleigh That Offer Cat Microchips?
If you’re looking for veterinarians in Raleigh who offer cat microchipping services so that you can worry less when it comes to losing your cat, Leesville Animal Hospital can help! We offer a full array of feline veterinary services including microchipping! Just give us a call today at (919)870-7000 and we’ll get you set up with an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgable vets!