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What to do if you've lost your cat

lost and found cats protection
Not all cats are destined to be house cats and it’s no surprise if your moggy comes and goes throughout the day. If your return home is greeting you with little more than an untouched food bowl however, you might be feeling a little worried. Before you do anything, take a look at our advice on what to do when your cat goes missing.

Is your cat lost?

It’s important to remember that even cats with a regular routine can disappear for days at a time, returning later with no hassle. Cats are notorious for hiding in small places – from wardrobes and tumble dryers to garages and outhouses. While it might seem obvious, the first thing to do should be to check around your home and garden. When it is warm, shady places are favoured by felines so it’s well worth checking outbuildings in summer time.

The next step should be to ensure your neighbours are aware. Ask them to check their property, sheds and garages and keep a look out for your missing cat.

missing cat poster
What should I do if my cat is lost?

Keeping a list of phone numbers pinned to a board or attached to your fridge is a good idea. Download our lost cat checklist for useful contact details to use in the event of your cat going missing.

Speak to your local Cats Protection branch to find out if your cat has been listed as missing, as well as contacting any vet practices in the area. Although it is a difficult phone call to make, it is also a good idea to speaking to your local council’s Environmental Health department. They’re likely to keep a record of cats filled on the roads and although distressing, it is worth ruling it out.

How should I advertise that my cat is missing?

If you’re able to, make some flyers up to place around your local area. Include a good description of your missing cat with the gender, age, colour, breed and any distinguishing features they may have as well as a photo. Include a contact telephone number. For your safety, it’s wise not to give your address. With permission, you’ll be able to put up your flyers in local shops, vets and notice boards.

Social media sites are packed with great resources to help track down your cat, as well as offering an opportunity to advertise your missing pet. Post on the Facebook pages of Animal Search UK and CatAware as well as other local animal charities. You might also want to post on your local community’s Facebook page as well as your own to attract the attention of those living in the local vicinity.

How can I find my missing cat?

If you’re still patiently waiting for your missing cat to saunter back in, you can intensify your search with our handy tips and tricks:

• If your cat has a favourite toy, try leaving it in your garden

• Cats have a strong sense of smell – try putting out your cat’s blanket or bedding to entice it out of hiding

• Cats are generally more active at night, especially in hotter weather. Go out with a family member or friend when it is dark and call for your cat by name

• Leave a bowl of water out or some food. Although you might find it attracts other animals, it is still well worth putting your cat’s favourite dish out. Try a tasty treat such as tuna to entice your missing cat from its hiding place

How can I stop my cat from going missing?

Cats are innately curious and it can be tricky to keep your cat from straying. Follow some of our great hints and tips to try and keep your cat safe:

• Keep your cat in at night. Even if your cat is particularly restless before bedtime, a little bit of exercise through playing should help them settle in for the night

• Make sure your cat is microchipped and the information is kept up to date. Cats Protection believes all owned cats, even indoor ones, should be identified in order to trace their owner should they become lost or injured

• You might want to identify your cat with a collar with your contact details attached. Cats Protection advises the use of a quick-release or snap-opening collar in preference to an elasticated one. Follow safety precautions when using cat collars; it must be fitted correctly. Two fingers should fit snuggly underneath it to prevent injury

Above all, it’s important not to give up hope. There are often tales of cats being found and reunited with owners, sometimes years after they have gone missing. For more advice, speak to our National  Information line team on 03000 12 12 12