How to find a Lost Cat


Are you an owner of a lost cat? Are you finding the answer to how to find a lost cat? If yes, then we are here to help you. In common opinion, cats are the most independent creature. However, cats love to roam around the neighborhood and feel happy about this. If your cat has a habit of wandering around the property, you don’t need to worry. Most of the cats come back home at nighttime. It means that you don’t need to worry if the cat enjoys roaming but returns home at night. But some cats don’t have the habit of going out.

There are two types of cats; one is indoor, and the other one is outdoor cats. If an indoor cat goes out, then there are fears that you will lose it.

If the cat doesn’t come home for a long time, it could be a worrying situation. According to stats, there are 6.5 million cats in Europe, and 25% never reunite with their owners. It means that 1.6 million never return to their homes to see their owners. It’s quite an alarming situation; that’s why you need to get ready if you face anything like this.

What do the stats say about the lost cats?

If we talk about the American data, around 10 million pets get lost every day, including cats and dogs. American Humane society researched in 2012 and found out that;

  • 93% of the lost dogs find their way home and join their owners.
  • But only 74% of the lost cats can find their lost owners.
  • According to stats, owners found out 15% of dogs found with the help of microchip. But this number of cats is only 2%. It is proof that fewer people use ID tags for their cats compared to dogs.

Due to these discrepancies, there are fewer chances that you will find a lost cat. American Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals’ states, every year, 6.5 million animals end up in shelter homes. The above data show that there is more ratio of cats that are lost and don’t come home again. So, due to this, we need proper research to cope up with a situation like this.

Myths related to finding a lost cat:

If the cat goes missing, then the most important thing is to take the right steps in the right direction. If you don’t do this, then there are high chances that you will lose the cat permanently. Firstly, you need to burst the following myths;

  • If you put the cat’s litter box out of the house, then it’s not going to help you. There is a common perception that if you put the litter box out of the home, the cat will smell it and come home.
  • Don’t assume that the predator killed your cat unless you find clumps of fur or other hints.

How to find a lost cat?

After bursting the myths and knowing that the ratio is relatively low, missing cats come home independently. So, if the cat goes missing, then you need to start immediately by following these steps;

Step # 01: Understand the cat’s personality:

When an indoor cat escapes from the house, then the first question arises in the mind where she can go. However, the answer to this question might help you find a solution to finding a lost cat. But it’s not that simple to get an answer to these questions. For this, you need to understand the cat’s personality that will tell you about the place where she can go. Dr. Albrecht defined the four natures of a cat and where they can hide.

The curious or Clown cat:

These are that type of cats who love to run to the door to meet and greet strangers. In general opinion these cats are unafraid. Due to this personality, these cats continuously remain in trouble. So, when these cats go missing, they can easily hide within the five-block radius.  So, don’t assume that it’s easy to find cats who have this type of personality.

The careless cats:

These cats don’t care for the people and tend to stand back when they face people. When these cats go missing, they hide. But eventually, they come back home or meow to be in the house.

The cautious cats:

Generally, these cats are shy and hide away from people. But it’s also a reality that these cats like people. When these cats go missing, then they instantly hide in fear. These cats come home to get the attention of their owner. But if they are hiding from people or due to any animal, there are fewer chances of returning.

The Xenophobic cat:

Xenophobia is a fear of hatred from strange things or people. Cats face this condition due to any genetic reason or kittenhood trauma. So, these cats feel fear of strangers and other people. However, when they see any threat, they try to hide. When displaced, they hide in silence and remain in the same place.


Step # 02: Know where to search:

Before starting your search, it is vital to know the favorite hiding places of the cats. It is the most crucial step that will help to make the process easy. So, the following is the list of sites from where you should start the search;

See the hiding spots:

When a cat gets lost, then you should search for every hiding place. It is a possibility that it could be at any location. For instance, you can search under porches, garages, sheds, sewer drains, or inside pipes or vents.

Look at the high places:

Most cats like to hide in high places, so don’t forget to check these places. So, it would help if you look at the trees, rooftops, or in high corners. Apart from this, the cat may hide between the roof and walls.

Consider the places where the cat could get trapped:

There is a possibility that the cat could get trapped in a tiny, dark, or narrow place. So, while searching for the cat, you should check these places. For instance, check the construction sites, pits, rubble, an empty neighbor’s house, or anything like this. Apart from this, the cat might jump at the delivery truck or into a car.

Apart from the above places, here are some other recommendations where you can check for the lost cat;

  • Inspect the warm places because it could be the favorite place of a cat in winters
  • The cat could get trapped underneath the furniture, in the basement, attic, locked room, or closet. So, search the mattresses boxes, chimney, dressers, drawers, or behind the appliances or other things like this.

Step # 03: Start search effectively:

After understanding the cats’ personality and if your cat goes missing , don’t waste time. Always start where you think it might be hiding.

Start looking immediately:

If you don’t start an extensive search immediately, then there are chances that you will lose the cat permanently. In this situation, there are some don’ts that you need to follow in order to run an effective search campaign;

  • Don’t panic: If you are a cat owner, you mustn’t panic..Of course it will worry you but keep a clear head in order to think clearly.
  • Shouldn’t wait: It is another excellent instruction that will help to find the cat earlier. So, it would help if you start instantly right after you know that the cat is lost.
  • Shouldn’t give up: It is human nature that we lose hope with things after outing up little effort. But this isn’t the right approach. There are times that you will be on the verge of finding the cat, but due to giving up to early, can cause you to permanently lose it.

Search inside your house:

In 2017 a study did an experiment where 477 out of 500 cats were found around the owners’ house. Due to this strong proof, we should start the search around our own house. It will help if you considered that a cat can hide inside a wall for three weeks. So, begin to search in each and everything in your house. There are fair chances that the cat will be inside the house.

Start looking near your house:

If you didn’t find the cat inside the house, the next step is to start seeing outside your home. But you can’t begin search randomly; it is vital to start systematically. So, here are the following things that you can do to make the search effective;

  • Carry a flashlight to search every corner of the property, whether it is dark or bright place.
  • Search all of those places where your cat can hide. For instance, the areas could be inside sheds, garages, beneath decking, or bushes. It could be anything; that’s why search thoroughly.
  • If you feel that your cat could be at this place, then don’t call the name loudly. Usually, the lost cats behave terrified, and they don’t want to leave the hiding spot even for you. So, a call in a soft and quiet voice might help you.
  • There is a possibility that a cat could be trapped or locked anywhere. So, you should keep yourself actively looking and pay attention.


Step # 04: Start looking for the cat in the neighborhood:

After searching for your own house and property, now it’s time to move to the next step. Yes, now you need the help of your neighbors. So, here are the following things that you can do in this regard;

Talk to you neighbors:

At first step, you should talk to your neighbors and ask them if they have seen the cat. We read in the cats’ personality guideline that most of the cats stay within their home radius. So, it’s better to ask your neighbor, and they might help you with your search.

Ask for the information and help from neighbor or passerby:

Whenever someone walks by, don’t forget to ask about your missing cat. There are bright chances that passersby have seen your cat. However, you can show the picture of your cat for the best results if you have one. Kids, elders, or social workers spend lots of time outside of the house. So, these people could be a useful source. Apart from this, you can also offer a reward if anyone finds your pet.

Search in the neighbor’s property:

It will help if you keep searching and now increase it up to the neighbor’s property with their permission. After asking for any useful information, it is good to check the neighbor’s property by yourself. If you do this, then there are few chances that you will miss any hiding place. After all, you know your cat better than any other person.

Search in the nighttime:

After searching the cat in daylight, the next step is to search at nighttime. However, repeat every step that you did in the day. But don’t forget to carry the flashlight and call the cat softly. Lost cats often leave their places at night when they feel safe and rely on the darkness.

Step # 05: Encourage the cat’s return:

After completing and following all of the above steps, the next thing is to try something out of the box. So, here are some suggestions to call the cat back home.

Don’t leave the left-over food outside of the house:

The left-over food may attract foxes, bugs, or other things like this. However, these things might scare the cat. As a result, you won’t be able to get back your cat. But if you want to leave the food, then pack it in a closed plastic container.

Set a cat trap and baby monitor:

You can get cat traps from the animal rescuer institutes, and these traps are easy to use. So, check the trap after every hour, and if any wild animal caught in it, allow it to go free and reset the trap. Apart from this, you can set the baby monitor to keep the eye at the door in the nighttime.

Apart from the above methods, here are the following other ways that can help get your cat back..

  • Sprinkle the food around the trap to give a trail to the cat
  • You can leave your unwashed shirt or another belonging outside of the door for the smell.
  • Try calling it softly in the nighttime.

Step # 06: Spread the word:

After searching the cat in your home, property, or your neighbor, now it’s time to spread the words. There are the following things that you can do for this;

Create and Distribute flyers at prominent locations:

It is one of the most effective methods to spread the word. While preparing the flyers, use a clear picture, simple writing with a visible color scheme and style. After preparing the flyer, now distribute it in your neighborhood, street, or near the area where you doubt that cat could be here. Post them at the busiest junction of your area. Apart from this, you can distribute in nearby offices, buildings, or parks.

Post on social media or Craigslist:

There are many local pet-loving groups on social media. So, you can use these groups to spread the word. Also post on craigslist but always keep in mind to post a clear and fresh picture.

Contact the local shelters:

You can go to the local animal shelter to see if they have your cat or not. These two state departments are the house of most lost animals, so don’t forget to check here.



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