LOST A CAT? - Here’s what you can do...
First, don’t panic too soon - cats often go ‘missing’ and then arrive home late, or even the next morning, wondering what all the fuss is about. So, give them a few hours at least before you take action, then print off this page so you can tick off each item as you cover it.
CHECK around your home & garden:
- every room in your house / loft / cellar / all cupboards
- behind curtains / under duvets / behind settees / under beds
- in and around washing machine / dishwasher / tumble drier / oven / microwave
- chimneys / dustbin / water butt / compost bin / sheds / garages
- greenhouses / outside toilets / vehicles / gardens / hedgerows
- check under nearby cars, also check engine spaces under car bonnets and in wheel arches
- if you are having building work done, check under floorboards and in any holes large enough for a cat to get in.
AT HOME do the following:
- leave your cat's favourite toy or piece of his (unwashed) bedding in your garden, somewhere sheltered from rain
- also leave out an unwashed item of your clothing, which will have your smell on it, again in a sheltered place
- also, put the contents of your hoover bag and any used litter from your cat's tray
- All the above will smell familiar to your cat and may help to keep him in the area, or even guide him home
- Go out into your garden and around the immediate vicinity of your home late at night or in the early hours when things are quieter; call for your cat and then stand still, taking the time to listen for a reply. If your cat is shut in nearby, this is when you are most likely to hear him.
SEARCH your area:
- It can be more productive to search for a cat at night when it is quieter, but if you are under 18 years of age, please don't go looking for your cat alone after dark, always take an adult with you.
- Take some dry food, and a cat carrier with you, or if your cat hates carriers take a pillow case!
- Walk around your local area, paying particular attention to any garages, lock-ups, skips and empty properties
- make a note of any empty houses for sale or rent, and contact the estate agent / letting agent. They may have shown someone round and shut the cat in, or a previous owner/tenant may have left a cat flap set to in-only.
- Call for your pet by name (you may feel daft at first, but this often works) and take time to listen for a reply
- shaking a box of his favourite biscuits, or squeezing a favourite squeaky toy may help
- stop regularly, and listen - give your cat a chance to answer your call
- remember to stay in one area long enough for your pet to reach you if he is in the vicinity.
ASK the Neighbours:
- Ask your neighbours to check their sheds, garages, etc. Visit houses at least ten doors in both directions, on both sides of your road, and also any houses whose gardens back onto yours. Take a photo with you, and leave them your phone number.
- Make a note to go back to any neighbours who weren't in when you called. Just popping a note through the door doesn't always guarantee they will check!
PHONE Calls to make:
- If your cat is Microchipped, call Petlog: 01296 336 579 so that they can flag your cat as missing, and also to check any 'found cat' reports in your area, (lines are open 365 days a year 24/7). Or visit: www.petlog.org.uk - Every vet and rescue center knows of Petlog, and they are nearly always the first port of call when a lost animal is brought in.
- Call RSPCA helpline, who match up lost & found cats across the UK: 0300 1234 999
- Inform all local vets practices (not just your own vet), for details of vets in your area go to www.any-uk-vet.co.uk
- Inform your local animal rescue organisations: Contact Details for Rescue Centres in Your Area (UK & Ireland).
- Ring your local council’s Environmental Health Department. This can be a difficult call to make, but they will be able to tell you if a cat matching your description has been found killed on the road. Unfortunately, most councils have no facility for checking for microchips, so they will not contact owners.
POSTERS! Make up a "Lost Cat" Poster / Flyer with the following details:
(If you have Pet Insurance check your policy; some cover the cost of advertising or a reward for a lost cat)
- your poster should include a photograph of your cat (people remember photos better than descriptions)
- A brief description of your cat, (leave out an important detail, that way if someone contacts you saying they have found your cat, you can check that extra detail with them to know if they are genuine).
- date and place your cat was last seen
- contact telephone number
- post them through every door in your immediate area
- display at: post offices, supermarkets, pet shops, boarding catteries, vets, library, launderette, hairdressers, pubs
- and at newsagents, fish & chip shops, corner shops, garages, doctors, dentists, police station, schools
- and on: notice boards in halls such as scouts, brownies, playgroups, community center, church halls, bingo halls, youth clubs, social clubs
- while distributing posters, don't forget to check shop windows for a 'Cat Found' notice, just in case!
- Tie or tape leaflets to telegraph poles, lamp posts, phone boxes, bus shelters and post boxes (put these posters inside plastic wallets to protect them from rain). NB, Please don't nail posters to trees - this can cause infection in the tree, and you could also be fined by your local council.
- Email the poster to friends in the area and ask them to forward to others they know
- also display one on your own front gate, and in your window
- display in car windows - yours and neighbours's cars if they are willing
- give a copy to your postal delivery worker, window cleaner, lollipop-persons, any regular dog-walkers
- offer a reward if you can - it could be a box of chocolates, for example, it doesn't have to be money.
- place a 'Lost Cat' advert in local newspapers, and also check the same for any 'Found Cat' adverts
- contact local radio stations (they will often broadcast lost & found appeals)
- Post your cat's details on lost & found registers and websites.
- post your cat's details on the 'Lost and Found' Blackpool Lost & Found Pets or message our Facebook page
- check the 'Found a Pet' galleries for cats found near you on Animal Search UK (searchable by area)
- Contact the local fire brigade to ask if they have been called out recently to rescue any cats from trees etc.
- If your cat has been missing for a week or more, ask local rescue groups for the locations and contacts for any known local feral cat colonies. If your cat has wandered further afield, they may latch onto a colony for security, food, and company. Anyone managing a feral colony will notice a newcomer!
- If you feel particularly spiritually connected to your cat, you may like to try some visualization techniques, employed by some animal communicators. This is still a little-understood area, and will not appeal to everyone, however, if you think this is something you would like to try, print off the following PDF written by a practising communicator » Lost cat visualization PDF
!! Warning !! The "I've Found Your Cat!" phone call:
Take Sensible Precautions: If someone calls saying they have found your cat, please do not go to see the cat on your own, particularly if you are under 18 years of age. Take an adult friend with you - and a cat carrier of course!
Beware of Hoaxes and Scams: Be on your guard if you are asked to part with money for the return of your cat. Even if you are happy to offer a reward, NEVER hand over money until the cat is safely in your hands. (One scam reported to us even involved the request to arrange a money transfer – don't be caught out!)
"He's home!" - When your cat comes home:
After you’ve made a big fuss of him/her and given them their favourite dinner, please inform any authorities who have been asked to look for them, and retrieve the posters you distributed around town!
The best of luck for your reunion!