There are, of course, various ways of finding a lost cat. The poster on a nearby tree has an 11% success rate according to a study. It must vary from place to place but the success rate is not that high. That said, two thirds of “lost cats” come home of their own accord. Most are in the neighbourhood. Another place you can go to is the local shelter and of course if your cat is micro-chipped somebody should contact you to tell you that they have found your cat. The microchip does not work all the time but it has a high success rate and is an essential form of cat identification nowadays.
Most lost cat should not be that far from their home. Clearly, a percentage of loss cats have been killed and therefore they will never return. The most likely place where they are killed is the road for obvious reasons.
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