TIPS FOR RECOVERING A LOST PET
1. PREVENTION is the key. A breakaway collar with a tag and a microchip are the best insurance that your cat will be returned to you.
2. START SEARCHING AT HOME - First search your own property, then neighbors' properties, checking areas where your cat could be trapped, injured or hidden.
3. HOW TO SEARCH for an OUTDOOR Cat - Remember that injured cats HIDE, usually within a four (4) house radius. Just because you do not see or hear your cat does not mean he is not right there! Make sure you search in hiding areas on your own property and on your neighbors'. Do not just ask your neighbor if they have seen your cat, they will likely not be willing to crawl around looking in tough areas that your cat is most likely to be. Search sheds, garages, wood piles, basements, heavy brush, and under decks.
4. HOW TO SEARCH for a DISPLACED, OR INDOOR Cat - Remember that an escaped cat is a displaced one in unfamiliar territory. As with an indoor only cat they will be traumatized by this and may remain concealed and silent. Make sure you search your property and your neighbors' aggressively. One of your best tools for recovering a displaced or indoor cat is a humane trap. Check your local shelter for TNR groups who may assist. Make sure you let these groups know that your cat may appear feral from fear. Continue searching, cats may take days, weeks or months to show up.
5. DISTRIBUTE FLYERS IN YOUR SEARCH AREA - When developing lost pet flyers, use bright, fluorescent poster board. Use a giant, black magic marker (do not use water-soluble ones) for lettering and duct tape or staples to secure the signs. In giant letters at the top, write "REWARD" and at the very bottom write "Lost Cat/Dog". Then in the center of the poster board, glue a standard piece of paper that contains information on the lost pet and your phone numbers. In the largest font possible (at the top of the page) list a brief description of your pet, like Siamese or orange long hair, double paws. The size and fluorescent color of the poster will immediately attract people's attention. The radius of your flyer should be within one mile of where the cat disappeared, and all local shelters/vets.
6. BE PREPARED TO RESPOND TO SEVERAL SIGHTINGS - Be sure someone is available at all times to answer incoming calls for potential sightings. Ask the caller if they are on a cell phone, if they are, ask them to remain on the phone with you to keep you updated on the cats location. This tactic alone has proven to be a highly effective method of recovering lost cats. If you have an answering machine make sure you change your message to include instructions on how someone may reach you on your cell phone. If you do not have a cell phone, borrow one!
7. PLACE AN AD - Place ads in both your local paper and distant newspapers. Also check the "found pets" ads in these newspapers. Notify local and distant shelters and vets.
8. USE LOCAL LOST-PET WEB SITES - Consider posting information and a photograph about your cat on a lost-pet web site that lists lost pets from your area. Consider using the services of PETS911 (www.1888pets911.org), an organization that lists community based pet services, including lost and found pet web sites.
9. DO NOT GIVE UP - Some times it takes weeks, even months. Physically
your pet is somewhere,
and the majority of lost cats are found within a half mile, usually closer, of their territory/home. Although it is possible that someone has transported your cat a long distance from your home, you must act on the assumption that your cat is nearby and that you will recover it. Do not lose hope or become discouraged by others.
These tips have been developed from actual pet detectives such as Kat Albrect.