What do I do if my cat goes missing?
The first thing to do when you adopt a cat is make sure that you take good, clear photographs of your cat so that should your cat go missing, you have good photo material to rely on. Take photos frequently so you have up to date representations of what your cat looks like now.
The following are a number of tips to try if your cat goes missing here in Orkney.
Walk around the neighbourhood and call your cat by its name, do it loudly and do not walk too fast so that your cat has time to respond. He or she might have been locked into a shed, garage or other outbuilding and might call you back.
If your cat is not likely to call out, ask the people in your neighbourhood to check their sheds, garages, etc. to ensure your cat is not trapped inside. Ring doorbells and carry a photograph of your cat. It's much easier to identify a cat from a photo than from a mere description, as there might be many other ginger and whites or tabby cats in your neighbourhood.
If you live in an area where fishermen have creels ashore, do check all these places, as very often cats get trapped inside creels due to attractive fishy scents or bits of fish remaining inside the creels. As you can see in the photo, I have had this happen myself where two of my cats got trapped in the same creel! Creels have doors you can open to get them out, or you just lift them up so they can jump out the bottom.
Please also be aware that some creels are left on beaches, where the high tides can submerge them and your cat may drown!
Pour out the contents of your hoover bag in the garden, as the scents in that will attract your cat home. Also hang up your unwashed socks on the washing line, as this too will be familiar to your cat and will attract it.
Create a poster of your cat (please click here to see an example which you can edit to fit your cat's photo and description). Ask your local post office, shops, schools, etc. to display this poster in a prominent place so that as many people as possible see it. School children are often very good to contact as they will happily help you search for your cat.
Make some phone calls to let relevant organizations know that your cat is missing. Call Northvet on 01856 873403 and Flett & Carmichael on 01856 872859 as your cat may have been found injured and taken to one of the surgeries. Call the police on 01856 872241 to report your cat missing and ask for your local officer to have a look out on her/his patrol. Call the central SSPCA Helpline on 03000 999 999. If you have had any deliveries or live in an area where delivery vans are often stopping, give them a call as well as your cat might have jumped inside a van, been driven off and jumped out in a different area of Orkney. Also check locals who drive vans and are often seen loading/unloading in your area, such as creelers who have very attractive fishy scents in their vans/trucks! (This happened to us when our Leon went missing recently. Leon had ended up on a farm near Burwick which is about 7 miles down the road from us and had been there for 9 days!)
If any of the above tips have failed and you still do not have your beloved feline friend back, try placing an advert in The Orcadian on 01856 879000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Do so with a photo and ask the people that make up the adverts to make them stand out by using bold colours and if you can afford it, buy a double column add. This ensures that everyone in Orkney will have seen your advert!