Losing a pet is one of the most stressful experiences you can have as a pet parent, and if your cat has disappeared, you may be in a state of panic. Take a moment right now to breathe. Cats are great at finding their way home; there are stories of cats who traveled hundreds of miles back to their owner. Keep calm and if you take certain steps, you have a much better chance of getting your cat back. So keep a level head and read on for some tips on finding a lost cat.

Make Sure They Are Actually Missing

Sometimes, a cat isn’t actually missing; they are hiding. Before you launch a citywide search, be sure to check everywhere indoors. Your cat might be hiding in a closet, under the porch, in the garage, or some hidden corner of your yard. Don’t forget to completely search your home with a flashlight and your cat’s favorite treats. If your cat is trained to come to you when you say their name, they may still not come to you if they are stressed, injured, or trapped, but it is worth a try.

Reach Out

Once you have completely searched your property and determined that your cat has left the premises, start your search immediately. Go to the humane society if it is open to see if your cat was picked up by someone and turned in. If your cat isn’t there, you can report it as lost, and the humane society will have a record so they can let you know if they find your cat. Additionally, peruse the ads on Craigslist and Facebook to see if anyone has found a cat, and post an ad or two. Go door to door with a photo of your cat and let your neighbors know they are missing. Having a face to the name will make your neighbors more likely to remember the cat’s description and let you know if they see them.

Put Out the Litter Box

The litter box can be a powerful way to help your kitty find their way back home. Cats can smell the scent of their litter box from two miles away, so leaving it outside for them is a great way to help them if they have gotten confused or disoriented. Put the litter box on the front porch or patio where your cat can easily access it.

Search on Foot

You will also want to do a search of the area to see if you can find your cat yourself. Chances are, if they are an indoor cat, they probably haven’t travelled too far from home, and are just hiding until things get quieter. Try calling your cat and shaking their treats to see if they come to you. Smelling your scent and hearing the sound of your voice may be enough to get them to come out of hiding. Think about your cat and where they like to hide. They may be hiding in some shrubs or bushes, or if they like climbing, they could be in a tree.

Wait it Out

After you have searched the area with no luck, you may just need to play the waiting game. Chances are, your cat is hiding nearby and just doesn’t feel comfortable coming out yet. They may wait until later at night when everything is quieter, or maybe they are just having so much fun that they won’t come home until they start to feel hungry for dinner. Once it gets dark, every half hour or so, stand outside and call your cat’s name. If they are nearby and have just been waiting for everything to get quiet so they feel safe, the sound of your voice will guide them back home. Keep doing this periodically through the night.

Don’t Give Up Hope

If your cat doesn’t return in the night, don’t lose hope. It could be that they got very lost and are still making their way home, or someone has picked them up and they are en route to the animal shelter. Make a “lost cat” flyer and post it around your neighborhood with your phone number and email (omit your name for security purposes), as well as a description and photo of your cat and where they were last seen. Knock on your neighbor’s doors again and give them the flyer to keep your cat fresh on their mind. Some good places to hang your flyer include telephone poles, community centers, grocery store bulletin boards, the laundromat, and the library. Up your social media efforts by posting on all your accounts and asking your friends to spread the word. Every couple of days, make sure to visit the animal shelter and make sure that your kitty hasn’t been turned in; they will not be able to confirm or deny over the phone whether or not it is your cat. Don’t give up! Cats have returned to their owners even months later. Keep your lost flyers updated, keep asking your neighbors, and keep periodically calling your cat’s name at night when the world is still. Chances are, your kitty will show up when they’re ready.

We hope that you find your cat safe and sound. If you need a Fort Collins vet, contact Countryside Animal Hospital. We offer the compassionate care you want for your pet cat. Schedule an appointment today!