Look within a 5 acre area if you have lost your cat

If you have lost your cat it is 90% probable that she is within a 5 acre zone around your house. Five acres is around 200 metres by 100 metres (220 yards by 110 yards). This figure is mine and is both an average and a guesstimate based on what I have read over the years. It depends on the cat’s sex too (males like larger areas).

We hear a lot about lost cats. Sometimes they are indoor cats who escaped the home or indoor/outdoor cats who did not come inside for a while and have gone walkabout.

Chance a lost cat who was found by a dog
Chance a lost cat who was found by a dog. Photo By Maggie McGill
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The reason why I say a lost cat should be within about five acres or even less is because domestic cats have small home ranges (their home territory) and they are very likely to stick to it.

For indoor cats their home range is the home so when they escape they’ll probably be a bit confused but I’d be fairly confident they are still close by.

The problem is finding a cat in a five acre area. Cats are very hard to find and they don’t always come when called. They are even less likely to come on being called if they are doing a walkabout. Putting food and water down is obviously a good idea but no guarantee nonetheless.

In a home where there is a dog and cats, the dog may assist in finding a lost cat through detecting scent.

A recent lost cat story bears this out. A 7-year-old, ginger tabby named “Chance” lived with his owner, Jean Carter at a retirement home. He wanted to explore the great outdoors but was an indoor cat. Before he became an indoor cat he had lived both inside and out.

Jean took him out to the garden in a carrier and opened it to see what he’d do. He “went into the grass”. That is the last she saw of him until he was eventually found.

Jean put up the usual posters and even went back to his previous home to see if he had returned to it. All to no avail.

It was hot weather and Jean was having nightmares over he lost cat. She was giving up hope as five days had elapsed.

As it happens there was a little dog in the retirement community owned by Mary Charuhas. Her name is Molly. She is a bichon frise mix and 9 years old. Molly knew of Chance’s scent because she had bumped into him in the past. Molly is described as both a friend and foe of Chance.

Molly a dog who found a lost cat
Molly a dog who found a lost cat. Photo By Maggie McGill

Molly picked up Chance’s scent and barked at a nearby bush. The barking forced Chance to reveal himself and this alerted the dog walker, Katie, to that fact that Chance was nearby.

Katie passed on the good news to Jean and he was captured. Well perhaps “captured” is the wrong description. It seems that there was no problem in getting him back home.

Chance was never that far away. If my cat went missing, I’d search very thoroughly within around 5 acres rather than spend time looking further afield.

If there is a road within that five acre zone I’d look in areas adjacent to it to check if he had been hit by a vehicle. As it happens there is in no conventional road within a five acre area which is why I bought the apartment.


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