10 tips to help find your lost cat

Here are 10 tips to help find your lost cat. For most people, it is traumatic to lose a cat companion. You can feel helpless. It grates on your mind, day in and day out, that your cat is out there somewhere, struggling to survive, under-eating, becoming thinner by the day and living dangerously with a greater possibility of being injured or killed. Often when lost cats are found they are undernourished, underweight and in poor condition which is indicative of the failure of these domestic cats to cope outside of their family home.

Lost cat poster with large reward
Photo: Jaimy Jones / HCN Staff
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
  1. In America, a study found that 84% of 128 last indoor/outdoor cats were found within a five-house radius of their home. The Times newspaper tells me that America’s cat detective, Kat Albrecht, says that outdoor cats on average will be found in a 17-house radius of their home. See domestic cat home range.
  2. Also in America, the same study found that 92% of 158 indoor-only cats who had escaped were found within a five-house radius of their home. Kat Albrecht, mentioned above, tells us that 75% of indoor cats are found within a three-house radius of the point where they vanished.
  3. The thrust of the above statistics tells us that when domestic cats are lost, they will almost invariably be found not far from their home.
  4. Bearing that in mind the best hope of finding your loss get is to engage in a thorough and persistent search within quite a tight radius of your home. This is likely to be more successful than handing out the usual flyers to neighbours and putting flyers through letterboxes even with a reward because when people are asked to help find your cat, they don’t really need a reward to do it.
  5. Searching for your cat within that specified radius is also more effective than posting notices online on websites in the UK such as Pets Reunited and Pawboost or local Facebook groups and the Nextdoor app.
  6. Albrecht states that lost cats tend to remain silent and hidden in an act of self-preservation as they are in another cat’s territory or in an area which they consider to be hostile and dangerous. They might remain in this area for a long time, even weeks.
  7. Don’t give up too soon even when you feel that you really have lost your cat. Click to read a story of not giving up ✌.
  8. If you’ve lost your cat when you moved home there is a reasonable possibility that he or she has tried to return to his original home. If that home is within a reasonable distance e.g. under a mile, he may have returned to it. That said, it would be advisable to search in the area around your previous home as a starting point. This might jumpstart your search and produce an early result.
  9. If you are in the area where your cat is hidden and can’t see him, placing his favourite food treat in that area may tease him out from his hiding place. Using a voice recording of his favorite person calling him may produce the same result.
  10. You can buy GPS tracking devices on collars which are operated via a smartphone but you have to pay a subscription which will put some people off when bearing in mind that it is simply an insurance policy against the rare possibility that he or she may become lost. A cheaper substitute is a radio tracking device placed on a collar which is detected by a hand-controlled pad which beeps more rapidly when it detects the radio signal emitted from the collar. I have used this myself with success to understand where my cat goes and therefore better understand his outside movements. This can also help to find a cat when lost. It’s quite a cheap device and there is no subscription and therefore it is financially manageable for most people.

RELATED: Lost Cat Poster

Kevin and Bastet
Kevin and Bastet. Kevin, from California, lost Bastet, his cat, in a massive pileup on Interstate 41 in Wisconsin in a whiteout. Sometime later after a big search, she was found in a wrecked car in a garage. He was devastated and is returning to Wisconsin to adopt kittens in her memory and to complete the circle.
Domestic cat home range mapped
Domestic cat home range mapped. Photo: a study.

Comments with more tips are welcome. First-hand experience is the best.

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