Your pet is family. If you lose your dog or cat, it’s understandably a scary and traumatizing experience. You want to keep your pet out of harm’s way, so you’ll be ready to start a search ASAP. You might be wondering how to find a lost cat. There are many things you can do. Here are some helpful bits of advice to help you find a lost cat or dog.
How To Find A Lost Cat Or Dog: First Steps
Finding your lost cat or dog may be as simple as looking outside. It’s possible that your indoor cat or pup somehow scooted out of an open door and is now in your front or backyard, so check there first.
It can be frightening not knowing where your beloved companion is, but being vigilant and using all the resources available to you can be helpful. If you can, take time off of work or school to conduct a thorough search for your missing cat or dog. The key is to start looking as soon as possible.
Make sure you notify any neighbors about your lost pet. Talk to everyone you see, including any utility workers, delivery people, or kids playing in the area. You can also distribute flyers with your pet’s photo on them.1
Finding Your Missing Pet: Make A Physical Search Of Your Home and Neighborhood
If you’ve checked your home thoroughly and you know your missing pet isn’t in the house, it’s time to take a walk and/or a drive through your neighborhood.2 Call out your pet’s name often. If you live in an apartment complex, do a thorough search as well. Pay special attention to any areas that offer shelter. Your frightened cat or dog could be hiding out there.
Leave cat food or dog food out both inside and outside of your home. This may help entice your missing pet into coming out if they’re hiding nearby.
If you own a cat, make sure to look in the trees and bushes, and under porches or outdoor decks. Remain aware of your surroundings, and search for your pet in places they may be familiar with. In other words, your dog may be walking around your typical walk path.3 Oftentimes, pets can remember the scent of your household and will stay nearby.4
Don’t give up, no matter how many days may have passed – do your best to search for them every day. You might also consider hiring a lost cat finder or lost dog finder to help in the search. You could also talk to local cat rescue groups about setting a trap for your missing kitty.
Searching For Your Missing Pet: Create Flyers And Posts On Social Media
You want your pet search to be as widespread as it can be.
Print clear pictures of your pet complete with a description of what they look like, their name, how to/not to approach them, and your name and phone number. Use flyers and put them up in the general vicinity of your neighborhood. You might also want to consider including a reward as an incentive to return your cat or dog. By doing this, you are increasing your reach on the search, and people might be more likely to help you out.5
If you’re on social media, the internet is an excellent tool to help find and return lost pets. Post on your social media so that family and friends are aware of what’s going on. They can then share your post in the hopes that someone might see your lost cat or dog. You can also join local social media groups that post lost and found pets. The exposure rate with social media is much higher than simply looking locally.6
Note: If you’re offering a reward for your missing dog or cat, always insist on seeing your missing animal before you pay any reward.7
Local Pet Resources: Check With Animal Control, Local Animal Shelters, And Veterinary Offices
In addition to searching the area around your home and neighborhood regularly, check with animal control, animal shelters, local animal rescue groups, and veterinary offices. There’s a chance that someone has already found your pet and has taken them to a nearby animal shelter. In this case, you will need to call shelters and describe your pet or (even better) go to the shelter to look. Animal shelters usually have a large influx of animals coming in, so look carefully, and don’t hesitate to go daily.8
In some cases, injured animals might be taken to a veterinary office for care. Sometimes, people who find animals bring them to their vet’s office because they don’t know what else to do.9
Call local veterinarian offices and check to see if they have found any lost pets. Many vet offices have bulletin boards for announcements. Ask if you can post your missing cat or dog’s flyer there.
Feeling Like You’re Out Of Options
If several weeks have passed without any sign of your missing pet, you’ll likely feel understandably distraught. If your cat posters and dog posters have led to no calls, you might feel like giving up. Finding a lost cat or dog can be hard, but don’t give up. Keep calling. Keep visiting local shelters and veterinary offices. Keep making flyers and posts with your pet’s photo and your contact information. Hopefully, your beloved pet will find its way back to you soon.