When do you stop looking for a lost cat?

A mom (mum) on Mumsnet asked “When do you stop looking for a lost cat?” It is a good question but I think the answer is pretty clear: never. Or to be more accurate, you can stop looking actively say within several weeks perhaps but never stop hoping that he or she might return because lost domestic cats sometimes return one way or another of their own accord months or even years later. Although we have to be realistic and pragmatic. The stories we hear of long lost cat reunions do not tell us how many are never found. The permanent losses are hardly ever reported.

This guy found his cat

This guy found his cat. Photo: Pinterest.

There are countless stories of the reunion of lost cats on the internet. They surface every day on news media and videos. The Mumsnet women who responded to the question have their own stories to tell which reinforces the advice that cat owners should not give up on their lost cat.

Three Stories

One lady says that her friend’s cat “came wandering back in the other day, he’d been gone for 18 months”, while another writes about the loss of the family cats when she was a child:

“When I was a child, we sent our cats to our GM’s house during a house move. They escaped….About a year later my DM went to a dinner party at a new friend’s house. She turned up and the missing cat was sitting on their doorstep.”

A third said:

“Mine went missing for 5 months. I left home for new job after she had gone, and then one night she just turned up at mum’s back door. Hungry, thin and grumpy, but fine..”


However, there is a problem with eternal hope. It can be painful. Correction it is very painful at least initially. It may be better to move on; to decide that your cat has been killed or is lost for ever. It is a way of mentally processing the loss. I lost my cat for 6 days and it was agony. The lady who asked the question writes:

“My beloved cat went missing two weeks ago, and I am in agony – I miss her so much and have been searching for her day and night ever since. I can think of nothing else.”

We don’t need to be reminded really but for all good cat owners who have close bond with their cat it is very painful to lose a feline companion. I would argue that the emotional response is not dissimilar to losing a family member.

Unexpectedly Turn Up

However, the answer to the question is that you might stop actively looking after a few months (is that too long and impractical?) but never give up hope. They turn up, they return, someone calls you, they end up at a rescue centre or a veterinarian, things happen unexpectedly and you’ll rekindle that relationship and it’ll be stronger. But make sure he or she is microchipped!

Some more on this topic…

[weaver_show_posts tags=”finding-a-lost-cat” number=”5″ sort=”ASC”]

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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2 Responses

  1. Jane Carter says:

    Never stop looking, never give up hope.looking

    It is the not knowing that, for me is the total killer. A very cruel form of limbo.

  2. Ye dont stop looking,when both my ‘Trinity and Storm’ went missing I never stopped looking them and I got them both back.

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