Missing cats, unlike dogs, are less likely to return home by themselves. When they get into an unfamiliar environment, they can hide in the same place for several days.
How to Catch a Cat
If your cat jumped out of the apartment and runs away, do not run after it, scream or make loud noises. The animal will only start running faster, trying to find a safe place and hide there, this is how cat instincts work.
What you need to do is follow the cat and try not to lose sight of it to see where it wants to hide. If the cat stops and turns around, do not look into its eyes. Instead, kneel down, reach out your hand, and call the animal in a calm voice. In this case, the cat will come to you.
Where to Look First
Domestic cats who have never been outside are afraid of everything around them, including loud noises and movements of people passing by. They tend to hide in safe places and wait there.
First, check the following places:
- Basement. If a door or window is open, there is a good chance that the animal will choose this dark and quiet place to hide. It’s not easy to search the entire basement, but you can try to lure the cat out. It will most likely come out at the owner’s call, the smell of its favorite food or valerian.
- Attic. If your cat escaped through the apartment door, it can go upstairs. Check if the attic door is securely locked and if there are other ways to get inside.
- Trees. When looking for a cat, look not only around, but also up. A frightened animal can easily climb a tree and then have difficulty descending.
- Garbage cans and places that smell like food. If the animal is hungry, it will start looking for food.
- Other secluded places such as bushes, grassy areas, gaps under garages, spaces under cars, ventilation.
Be sure to take a powerful flashlight, even if you go searching on a sunny day. It will help you carefully check all the nooks and dark corners.
To explore the area faster, you can use binoculars and other optical devices.
Best Time to Search
Although humans have domesticated cats for thousands of years, they remain nocturnal predators and are more confident at night. If you couldn’t find an animal during the day, experts recommend trying to search at night or early in the morning.
At this time, it is quiet outside, so the animal will hear the owner’s voice or the rustling of the packaging with its favorite food from a long distance.
Print Flyers and Use Social Media
Print ads are the most common and effective way to find lost pets. The flyer should contain a large color photo of the cat, a description of its appearance and distinctive features.
Sometimes it makes sense to specify the amount of remuneration for the person who found the animal. Do not use vague language, the amount should be specific and negotiable.
Social media is just as effective. Almost every settlement or district of a large city has a page on the Internet regularly visited by people who may have seen the missing animal.
You can also use thematic forums, pet search websites, and interactive bulletin boards.
People often hand over lost animals to shelters. Call them and contact the volunteers involved in overexposure.
Be prepared for the fact that there will be few useful calls. But be sure to check each of them so as not to miss a single piece of information.
Beware of Scammers
Unfortunately, there are always people who are ready to profit from someone else’s misfortune. The scheme is simple: scammers call the owner and describe the cat they allegedly found, but refuse to tell them its current location. To find out this information, the owner should transfer money to a specific number or, for example, put them in a mailbox. Many people pay scammers out of happiness that their pet has been found.
That is why you need to be careful. If your cat is an expensive breed, don’t mention it in the ads. Instead, tell more about its color, appearance, and habits.
You can keep silent about some features of the animal, using them later as a testing question. A scammer who has not actually seen the lost cat will not be able to answer it correctly.
Finding a missing cat is not easy, so it is better to prepare for an unforeseen situation in advance. Restrict the cat’s access to the street, install pet screens on windows, and use sturdy carriers to move the animal. You can use GPS trackers for animals that transmit information about their location to the owner’s smartphone.