Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How to find your lost cat

how to find lost cats

In 2016, when we first got the kittens, I had no idea we'd ever be in the position of scouring the streets for one of them. lose one of our (now) cats. In the panic, I didn't really know where to start so now that she's back (phew!) I've written this post on how to find your lost cat, for anyone else finding themselves in this horrible position.

Rewind a bit. The cats have been allowed out during the day since the beginning of the year, roaming around the estate but coming home in the evenings for a meal, at which point they're confined to the utility room overnight. Once or twice, Martha, the bolshier of the pair, hasn't come home at night but she always returns before morning.

Last Thursday morning, Martha followed me out of the back gate when I was on my way to work. When I returned that evening she was nowhere to be found. Not unusual, but when she didn't return for her food that night I began to worry. The next morning she still wasn't home. By lunchtime, I began to panic. 

I posted photos of Martha on my Facebook page, then shared the post to a few local groups as well as the lost and found pets page. Both cats are micro-chipped so we called the service to mark her as missing, as well as calling all the local vets and shelters with a description, just in case. 

We put together a basic poster/flyer and printed out plenty of copies, then the boys and I went door-to-door on our estate asking neighbours to check sheds and garages. Our main worry was that she was trapped by someone who'd gone on holiday. I also put posters on in the window and on our back gate – Martha is such a friendly little kitten that lots of people stop to give her a stroke, so we hoped a passerby might have seen her.

find lost cat tips poster

The kids were devastated and wanted to keep flyering so we were outside most of the afternoon and evening, talking to neighbours and commuters. And plenty of helpful information kept coming through on Facebook although no leads.

By Saturday morning, conversation had turned to anecdotes from well-meaning people telling us about cats they knew who'd come back after a week/a month/six months etc. The kids went out to the local cafes and shops to give out more flyers. No one could really concentrate on anything much though as we all missed her so much.

On Saturday evening, I took a call from a woman who'd seen one of our Facebook posts. She said Martha had been playing in her garden all day Friday, and she lived 1.2 miles away from us. I admit to being sceptical about whether it was really Martha but Mike hopped on his bike and headed over there to look. He called me after half an hour or so: nothing. 

Then, I got a message on Twitter from someone who works at the pub near us who happened to be in the area of the sighting to say that Martha was under a van. I called Mike and asked him to investigate. On his way to the van, he saw not one but two black and white cats that weren't ours so he wasn't holding out much hope. 

But it was her! Martha was there, hiding under a van over a mile away from home, 60 hours after we'd last seen her. He coaxed her out, tucked her under his arm and made his way back to the house, where the kids were ecstatic to be reunited with our Martha. She was exhausted and has spent the past few days sleeping and purring, and we kept her inside for a couple of days (until she was chomping at the bit to go back out). 

Once back out, we had a few calls and texts from neighbours who'd spotted her so she's definitely made a bit of a name for herself. We even had a ring on the doorbell late last night – a couple of kind strangers had found her a few streets away, recognised her from the flyer, and brought her home! The power of print and social media, eh?

A happy ending for us and I hope this advice will help anyone else in the same horrible position as us last week.
how to find lost cat poster

How to find your lost cat

1. Tell neighbours – go door-to-door, introduce yourself and take a picture of your cat to introduce him/her, too. Mention the last time you saw your cat and ask them to check for your pet in any outbuildings. Keep talking to them.

2. Make flyers and posters to put through doors, hand to local businesses and attach to prominent lampposts or notices. Include a picture of your pet, when they were last seen, a description along with any distinguishing features, contact information and anything else that might help.

3. Join Facebook groups in your area as well as lost and found pet groups where you live. Post all the information from your flyers.

4. Use other social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram to spread your message as far and wide as possible. Ask local friends to reTweet or share your posts. Keep an eye on social media activity and follow up any leads – one Tweet about Martha told us that she's often late at night outside a nearby coffee shop.

5. Call your vet as well as others in the area, along with pet shelters and hospitals to leave a description and your contact details. 

6. Don't give up hope! 

I dearly hope you'll never need to follow information on how to find a lost cat as it's a heartbreaking situation to be in, but if you do I hope it's useful.

Have you ever lost a pet? What did you do to find him or her? Let me know in the comments x

PS Pin this just in case...

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