Thank you to our guest writer, Nomi Berger!
Sometimes, even the most closely watched cat can accidentally escape from the safest of homes. If this happens to your precious pet, the following suggestions should, hopefully, help return her to you.
1. Remain calm and stay focused
Despite your obvious distress, the longer you wait to “sound the alarm”, the more time your kitty’s been missing and the further the distance she’s traveled. And so, draw that proverbial deep, cleansing breath and spring into action – clear plan in hand.
2. Search your neighborhood
After unsuccessfully scouring your home from top to bottom, and checking each hiding place, nook and cranny, canvas your neighborhood. Start by going door to door with a photo of your cat. Print and bring flyers containing all of your contact information (especially if kitty’s not micro-chipped) and leave them with your neighbors.
3. Place calls and make visits
Call animal control services and area rescue groups, then visit your local shelter(s). Speak with the employees, give them some flyers, and check every cat there, including any in the sick/holding area. Check back with the shelter(s) daily because new cats arrive all the time.
4. Post flyers
For your flyer, use a large, clear photo of your kitty and ensure the words “Lost Cat” or “Missing Cat” can be read easily from several feet away or from a passing car. Hold back tiny details to ask anyone who claims to have found her. Plaster as wide an area as possible with your flyers including local parks and gas stations, restaurants and coffee shops, small businesses, schools and libraries, pet stores and vets’ offices — wherever there are cork boards or places to affix them, making certain to get permission beforehand when necessary.
5. Use social media
Post that same flyer on Face Book, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Nextdoor and any other app or web site serving the area in which you live. The power of social media, particularly local Face Book groups, can be especially effective in helping spread the word about your kitty. Ask everyone to RESHARE your post, then send an email or text blast to people you know in your area and ask them to forward it to everyone they know.
6. Smells can help
Leaving an article of recently worn, unwashed clothing outside may assist your cat in finding her way home because she can pick up and track your scent. Putting out a bowl of her favorite food and setting her litter box outside can also help lure her back home.
7. Don’t give up
As emotionally and physically exhausting as it is, don’t stop, don’t give up and don’t lose hope. Sometimes it’s useful to search rigorously for several days, then take a break for a day before resuming your search. Remember: many missing or lost cats are ultimately found BECAUSE of the unflagging commitment and determination of their owners.