If you are like most loving cat parents, the thought of your cat getting lost or picked up by strangers is a nightmare. Unfortunately, over 10 million cats and dogs disappear each year according to the American Humane Association. Don’t risk the scare a missing cat catch you off guard.
What You Can Do to Prevent a Breakout
Cats are some of the best escape artists in the world. They can maneuver around ankles and flatten out and under doors like nobody’s business. Their ability to sneak out increases when they’re stressed or scared. How can you keep your cat inside and out of the shelter?
- The first preemptive measure you should take to prevent your cat from becoming lost is to get her microchipped. A microchip will increase the likelihood of your cat’s return by 2000%. Bring your cat to the vet and get her chipped as soon as you can.
- If your cat is microchipped, keep your information up to date with your current address and phone number.
- Outfit your cat with a collar and ID in case she’s picked up by a neighbor or a shelter without a scanner.
- Keep your doors closed and ask visitors to come inside or step outside without keeping your door ajar.
- Check all window screens and patio screen to make sure your cat doesn’t have a chance to push through and get away.
What You Should Do If Your Cat Does Escape
In the First Few Hours
If your favorite feline darts out of the door or slips out of a loose screen, begin looking for her as quickly as possible.
- Keep calm and level-headed. Crying, panicking, and loud movements may scare your cat and keep her in her hiding spot longer.
- Grab a flashlight and begin close to home. Look in the bushes and other dark, small spaces close to home. Most cats don’t go far at first.
- Reinspect your home. Your cat may be squeezed into a tiny nook in your closet or under the bed.
- Call for your cat. If you have a signal for dinner or treats, use this to entice your kitty out of hiding.
- Ask neighbors if they’ve seen your cat. Bring your phone and a clear picture as a reference.
After the First Few Hours
Don’t panic if your cat doesn’t come out of hiding right away. As you are probably aware, cats can be stubborn or just too comfy to get up and moving. The next steps can help your cat find her way home with some help and encouragement.
- Leave food and water outside your door. Turn out the porch lights but keep an eye on the food for your hungry cat. Try some extra scrumptious food that smells irresistible to lure your kitty home.
- Create a cozy spot for your cat to sleep nearby the food bowl. You have to sleep at some point and so does your cat. Giving your cat a warm, dry spot will keep her safe and may help you find her more quickly.
- Keep a patio, porch, or garage door cracked if you can.
- Set up a video monitor like a baby monitor to keep an eye on the food as you sleep. This will help when it comes to food disappearing without a sure sign that it is your cat.
- Continue to ask your neighbors if they’ve spotted your cat.
Continue to Hunt for Your Best Friend
Cats can be tricky. Don’t give up hope. There have been cats returned to their families after 14 years! To keep your search effective, you should increase your search area and
- Hang posters with a reward and pictures of your cat. Use cats that show your cat’s unique characteristics and include her name. Start hanging the signs within a few blocks and in areas your cat may wander to (places such as restaurants where she may find free food).
- Call local shelters and the animal control and ask if they’ve gotten any cats that look like yours.
- Post your cat on any local apps or Facebook pages for lost pets. Nextdoor is a great app to post to since it is location-based.
Sometimes cats end up ‘being adopted’ by neighbors that don’t know the cat has a home. They may believe your cat is a hungry stray or in need or a warm shelter. Don’t get angry if this is the case. Your neighbor likely thought they were doing the right thing.
Be patient and persistent in your search for your kitty. When your cat reappears, you will want to snuggle and love on her, of course. Also, be sure to check her for scratches, bites, and bugs. A visit to the vet is always a good idea to make sure your kitty is healthy.
ViviPet Kitty Bowl
— Meow for now —