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How To Find A Lost Outdoor Cat

They Become Victims Of Intentional Displacement

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In some cases, neighbors, apartment managers, or even ex-lovers will intentionally displace a catsomeone removes a cat from its territory and releases it into another area. Often, cat-hating neighbors, who are tired of free roaming cats entering their yards, will bait a humane trap to remove the neighborhood cats. Some people will take the cat straight to the animal shelter , and others will simply release the cat into another area of town. Many pest control companies that are hired to humanely trap free-roaming “feral” cats inadvertently capture and remove pet cats as well.

Distances Where Cats Were Found

The researchers studied the distance from where the cat went missing to where it was found. The median length was 54 yards , with the maximum distance being 15.5 miles .

Distances varied by the cats outside experience in the six months before going missing.

Indoor-Outdoor Cats

The median distance for indoor-outdoor cats was 328 yards .

Outdoor-Only Cats

The median distance for outdoor-only cats was 1.1 miles. .

Indoor-Only Cats

For Indoor-only cats were found within 42 yards .

The finding that owned cats is often found not far from where they go missing provides evidence to support shelter-neuter and return strategies, also known as return to field and cat diversion. The rationale for this is that lost-owned, semi-owned, and community cats cared for by people do not travel far from the location where they are fed.

How A Cat Microchip Can Help You Find A Lost Pet

Knowing how to find a lost cat is essential, but taking preventive measures before the unthinkable happens is perhaps even more important. And one of the best ways you can ensure a speedy reunion with your lost cat is with a microchip.

Microchips are tiny devices inserted under the skin that give your cat a unique identification number. Once you upload that number and your contact information to a national registry like the HomeAgain National Pet Recovery Database, its saved in a permanent record.

Should your cat ever become lost, all it takes is a simple scan of your cats microchip, and HomeAgain will immediately contact you to share your cats location. Plus, your enrollment with HomeAgain includes access to a 24/7 call center filled with specialists who are trained to distribute Lost Pet Alerts to shelters and veterinarian clinics in your area. You can even create a flyer on the HomeAgain website to begin your search faster.

Because when it comes down to it, services like HomeAgain use the latest technology like cat microchips to not only help you find your lost cat, but to bring you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your feline family member has the best chance of coming home.

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Don’t Give Up Quickly

According to Best Friends Animal Society, 56% of lost cats were found within two months. Albrecht tells Best Friends that people call off their search too quickly because they assume the worst. “Use every possible search method immediately including conducting a thorough physical search, distributing fliers, and putting out humane traps,” says Albrecht. “Go over the same ground multiple times and at multiple times of day. And dont discount the human factor, because cats do get picked up and taken to the shelter. They can also assimilate into a nearby cat colony, so get to know the people in the neighborhood who feed outdoor cats in case they spot a new arrival.

Your Cat Was Escaping A Threat

How to Find a Lost Outdoor Cat

Outdoor cats come and go as theyplease. If they see a threat such as an animalor a moving truck, the cat flees the scene and may end up in unfamiliarterritory. A cat that feels threatened and finds itself in unfamiliarsurroundings will follow its instinct to hide. Depending on your cats personality, it might take him a long time tobreak cover and try to find his way back. Lost cats will most likely come outof hiding to look for food. They may break cover during hours when its darkand quiet. This is the reason why its worth a try searchingfor a lost cat at dusk or dawn.

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Check Outside Armed With The Right Tools

Once you’ve completely searched inside your home or apartment, start checking around the exterior of your house. Head outside in comfortable clothes with a flashlight and treats, and make sure you have a picture of your cat ready to go on your phone. Check underneath decks and porches, any outdoor furniture, in bushes and any other hiding areas. According to a Daily Paws interview with Missing Animal Response Network founder Kat Albrecht, an indoor cat is most likely very close to your house. If you can’t find your cat on your property, head to your neighbors’ homes. Ask if they’ve seen anything and if you can check their property, then repeat the same thorough search you did in your yard in theirs.

Talk to anyone you see during your search to let them know to keep an eye out. Show pictures of your cat, tell them your cat’s name and if they have a collar or microchip. A study done by the Missing Animal Response Network revealed that out of 477 lost cats that were found, the median distance was 39 meters for indoor cats and 300 meters away for outdoor cats. If you have an outdoor cat, make sure to search their known territory thoroughly.

What To Do If You Find A Missing Cat

It’s not easy to gauge a cat’s personality type if she’s sitting on a wall or on the sidewalk. Most lost cats will move to higher ground if approached by a stranger. If you think a cat in your neighborhood could possibly be displaced from its home, ask your local no-kill animal shelter to assist with a trap unless she’s really friendly and will come to you. Make “found” posters and post them within a five-block radius of your home. Hopefully, you’ll be able to reunite the cat with its owner.

Sandy Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer. Her work appears regularly on in various national and international publications. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association of America.

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Do Cats Run Away To Die

Some people wonder whether cats run away to die, or even if they know they are dying. The reality is that they do not leave because they know they will die.

When a cat is not feeling well, they usually look for a quiet, safe place. The sicker they are, the more they feel the need for security. When you think of it from a wild cats perspective, if you arent feeling well, you are more vulnerable to predators. But according to cat logic, if no one knows youre sick and no one knows where you are, you should be safe.

Usually, sick cats dont go far from home. Instead, they seek out the quietest, safest nearby spot they can find. If they are too weak to get food or walk home again, they may be in danger of passing away in this spot.

If your cat is missing, do a thorough check of the crawl space under your home or apartment building, as well as underneath the porch, in a barn or shed, or around a neighbors home.

Cats are capable of some pretty amazing return-home feats, but its best to not rely on this alone if your cat is missing. Keep checking the neighborhood and local shelters, as well as around your house or your neighbors houses. Check with the new tenants if you moved.

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Food Or Water

Finding Lost Cat Outside (Thanks to Cat Treats)

Just like humans, in any extreme situation, a healthy adult cat can go a couple of weeks without eating, while still being able to drink. However, they can only survive 3 days without water. That is why you should not hesitate to contact your neighbours in case your cat goes missing. They might have gotten stuck somewhere.

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Owner Behaviors That Create Problems:

Cat owners often behave in ways that actually inhibit their chances of finding their lost cat. They develop tunnel vision and fail to find their cat because they focus on wrong theories. They experience grief avoidance and quickly give up their search effort. They feel helpless and alone, often discouraged by others who rebuke them and tell them it was just a cat and youll never find your cat. But one of the biggest problems is that cat owners typically focus their search efforts by posting lost cat flyers and by searching the cages at the local shelter. Although these techniques are important and should not be overlooked, the primary technique to recover a missing cat should be to obtain permission from all neighbors to enter their yards and conduct an aggressive, physical search for the missing cat . Simply asking a neighbor to look for the lost cat is not sufficient! Neighbors are not going to crawl around on their bellies under their decks or houses to search for someone elses lost cat!

Leave Food And Water Outside Overnight

If your cat did just go out for a wander, the first thing that’ll make them come home is hunger. If you can get a humane trap used to help trap ferals or injured wildlife, you’ll want to put the smellitest, tastiest, best wet cat food in there along with some water. Reach out to local rescues and shelters to see if you can get a humane trap.

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How Do I Attract A Lost Cat

Here are some more ideas to attract a lost cat back home:

  • Leave the garage, or another door cracked open cats like to sneak inside
  • Put your cats favorite bed, blanket or scratcher outside the scent will attract them
  • Put some special food out, like tuna or sardines. The smellier the better! Just make sure its salt and oil free. Heat up the food to increase the aroma
  • Go outside, and talk in your normal voice, as if youre chatting on the phone cats are known to be attracted to their humans voice
  • Keep an eye out: cat parents have reported their cats returning most often between the hours of 8pm-2am and 4am-7am4

Strategies For Finding Lost Cats

13 Tips on How to Find a Lost Cat

One study found that 15% of pet owners had lost a dog or cat in the previous five years, and 85% had been reunited, but people were more likely to be reunited with a dog than with a cat . In this study, 59% of cats were found by looking in the neighborhood and 30% came home on their own only 2% were found at the local animal control.

More detail on search strategies is found in a questionnaire study conducted by The University of Queensland and Missing Pet Partnership . In this study, a third of missing cats were found alive within 7 days, and half after 30 days. By 61 days, only 56% of the cats had been found, and beyond this only a few showed up.

Of the cats that were found, most had not gone far from home. Indoor-only cats were found 39m from home, on average, and indoor-outdoor cats 300m from home . For all the cats , the median distance from home was 50m, and 75% of cats were found within 500m.

What this means is that if your cat is missing, you should search very carefully close to home. Being cats, you will not be surprised to learn that some of those that were found turned up waiting by the door to be let in. Cats were often found in nearby hiding places such as hiding in a yard, in bushes, under decks, or inside sheds. Cats that were considered curious were the most likely to be found in a neighbors house.

Here are some tips to help.

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Luring Out A Lost Cat

If you havent been able to find your cat so far, the next thing you can try is luring out your lost cat with treats.

Put a bowl of your cats favorite treats or food outside your doorstep. You could even put food in additional spots around your home if you have a large outdoor space. Your cat might catch the smell and run home for a tasty snack. Make sure someone is there to spot your cat in case they come home for a bite to eat.

This can help lure your missing cat home. However, be aware of raccoons it may also attract!

But What If They Don’t

The cat has now disappeared under your porch. You can see him in the farthest corner. So how do you get his attention? Set out some yummy cat food and water for him nearby. Then you retreat, and you wait. You want the food as near to your front door as possible. If you are lucky, the cat will come out when he is calmer and eat and come in the house.

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First Steps To Take To Find A Lost Cat

No pet owner ever wants to imagine a scenario in which their feline family member becomes lost, but the reality is that about 10 million pets are lost in the United States each year according to American Humane Society. Thats why its so important to know in advance what steps to take should the unthinkable happen.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Going Missing

how to find a lost cat

Putting regular actions in place to prevent your cat from going missing is essential.

Have your cat wear a collar with a tag that clearly states your phone number.

Always have your pet microchipped. Microchipping cats is compulsory in NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC and WA. Microchipping can be done by most vets for a small one-time fee.

Always make sure your cats microchip details are up to date. This way if your cat is found, its microchip can be scanned and it can be returned to you.

Providing your cat with what it needs can prevent it from wandering and searching.

Feed it sufficient amounts at the same time daily, to minimise hunting.

Play with your cat each day to keep it stimulated. This may lessen your cats urge to wander the neighbourhood in search of excitement.

If you have just moved homes, keep your cat indoors for a month or so.

This will help them realise where their new home is and stop them searching for their old house. If you feel bad keeping your outdoor cat locked inside for so long, consider getting a cat enclosure and run.

Somerzby offers cat enclosures of multiple sizes. The Somerzby Catio is specially designed to allow plenty of space for your cat to play and rest in comfort and safety.

The enclosure features a sheltered area underneath to protect your cat and their food from bad weather.

It can also be very useful to train your cat not to run away.

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Important Steps To Prevent And Reunite Missing Cats

There are some steps for all cat owners to take that will help in case your cat does get lost.

First of all, ensure your cat has some kind of identification such as a microchip, tattoo, or collar with tag. In a 2014 study, only 67% of veterinary clinics recommended microchips for all cats compared to 86% who recommended them to all dogs , so ask your vet about a microchip if your cat doesnt already have one.

A collar is a visible way of showing that a cat belongs to someone, but will not enable people to contact you unless it has an identification tag. Some people dont like to use collars because they think their cat wont like it, or its not safe . Be sure to get a breakaway collar that will release if it gets stuck to something so your cat does not become trapped. It is easier to teach cats to wear a collar if you start when they are kittens, but adult cats can be taught to accept them .

In some places, tattoos in the right ear are used as an identification strategy. They identify the vet clinic that did the tattoo, the year in which it was done, and the animal. Once the clinic is contacted, it is then possible to contact the owner of a cat. Tattoos can become hard to read or illegible over time.

Permanent identification requires you to update the microchip registry any time you move house or change telephone number. If there is a central pet registry in your area be sure to register your cat and keep the information up to date.

Looking Inside The Home

  • 1Remain calm. Losing track of your cat can be nerve-racking. Keeping calm will help you think clearly and make the most of your search. Stay relaxed and look for your cat as calmly as you can to increase the odds of you finding them.XResearch source
  • Get a flash-light to help you in your search.
  • Think about where you last saw your cat and start the search there.
  • Keep focused. Search everywhere you can think to look.
  • Search systematically. Look in all the possible hiding spots in a room before moving to the next room.
  • 2Search inside your home first. As soon as you notice that you haven’t seen your cat for a while, start searching around and inside your house. By searching your house first, you may be able to quickly find your cat and avoid searching beyond your home.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsLeading organization dedicated to the prevention of animal crueltyGo to source
  • Check everywhere, even in tight or small spaces.
  • Look behind and under furniture.
  • If there are areas where you can’t reach or see, try using a hair dryer to blow warm air into that space. If your cat is there it might flush them out.
  • Ask your family members if they have seen your cat.
  • Try shaking a bag of treats to coax your cat out from its hiding spot.
  • Listen for your cat’s voice as you search to help pinpoint its location.
  • If you can’t find your indoor cat after intensive searching, try waiting for an hour before expanding the search.
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