LOST A CAT - please read the below for advice
If you have lost a cat in or around Bicester, Banbury or Brackley, Cherwell Cats Protection provides the following information to assist you in getting your beloved pet back. Cats can and do go missing for days at a time (even those with a regular routine) returning later without harm. So, if you’ve checked all her usual beds and the food bowls remain untouched, read on to see what else you can do.Check your propertyCats are very good at hiding in small places. From wardrobes and tumble dryers to garages and sheds, cats love a dark and peaceful space that they can feel comfortable and safe in. The first thing you should do is check around your home and garden to see if your cat is hiding somewhere unfamiliar.Cats enjoy warm weather, but some tolerate the heat better than others. During summer time, shady places are favoured by felines to cool down so it’s well worth checking brick-built or timber outbuildings to see if your cat has found a cool patch. During winter cats will utilise any opportunity to keep warm, particularly if left out in the cold overnight or during work hours. Cats often sit under cars to make use of the heat from a recently-run engine, and it’s not unheard of for a moggy to have climbed into the engine bay of a family car to benefit from any heat given off.Some places will be more obvious than others, so check everywhere. Garden water butts should be checked and have covers or lids securely fitted, to ensure no animals can get trapped inside. Try to remember whether any visitors or contractors have been on your property recently, work out where they have been and whether or not they would have closed any doors normally left open. Cats can be very stealthy in their movement so if a visitor doesn’t know you have a cat, they won’t know to look out for her.Check with your neighboursTell your neighbours that your cat is missing, and ask them if they have seen it. Your cat may still be at the location it was last seen, or you might be able to figure out a likely alternative location based on her usual routes in or out of the area. Ask your neighbours to check their property, sheds and garages, and to keep a look out for your missing cat. All quite obvious, but some neighbours may be more receptive than others when trying to locate your pet so being both polite and specific about your requests may bear more fruit.Notify your local communitySocial media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be invaluable communication resources that enable users to both share and receive information about a missing cat quickly. Consider whether you want to target your post to a local audience, such as your neighbourhood residents or local town, or to a broader audience.Remember to consider any information posted online as permanent and not private, so be diligent about what personal information you intend to share. Facebook accounts such as ’Animal Search UK’ and ‘CatAware’ may repost your messages, and animal charities may do the same. Cherwell CP will be glad to help so please contact us if you’d like us to post notices about your cat.Contact veterinary practicesContact all of the veterinary practices in your area to find out if a cat matching your pet’s description has been recently handed in. Remember that if your cat has been passed to a vet, it may not be at the clinic that you usually use as your pet’s general practice. You will most likely need to demonstrate some form of proof of ownership if your cat that has been received into veterinary care, in order to have it released to you. Up to date microchip records matching your ID are the most useful information, and this can be cross-referenced with images that you have captured of your cat at home.Bicester veterinary practices
Banbury veterinary practices
- Bicester Vets 01869 252 077
- West Bar Vets 01295 262 332
- Hawthorne Lodge 01295 259 446
Brackley veterinary practices
- Mansion Hill Vets 01295 712 110
Distribute posters nearbyPublicise your cat’s welfare concern locally by displaying posters around your local area, including on lamp posts and notice boards in local shops and vet practices. Where possible, include a clear and up to date digital image saved at print quality (minimum 180dpi, preferably 300dpi). If your cat needs regular medication or has health issues it is essential to include reference to those on your notice.Add an accurate description of your cat, including it’s gender, age, colouring and breed, as well as any distinguishing features. Include a contact telephone number if you feel comfortable doing so and if you wish to provide an address, include the location of a nearby veterinary practice instead of your home address. Keep a record of where you have posted your notices, and take them down as soon as your cat is found. Leaving a ‘missing cat’ notice in place may lead to some local people ignoring other similar notices in the future.Contact your local authorityAlthough it can be an uncomfortable subject to address, it is worth contacting Cherwell District Council’s Environmental Health department during office hours. The authority may maintain records of cats found to be deceased locally, and although potentially distressing it is worth ruling out. Additionally, Highways England has a responsibility to retrieve animals from areas of the public highway that are inaccessible to pet owners, and staff may scan deceased animals for an identifying microchip.
- Croft Vet Centre 01280 703 451
- Cherwell District Council Environmental Health 01295 227990
- Highways England 0300 123 5000
Encourage your cat to return
If you think your cat is probably nearby you can try placing scent-marked items in your garden to encourage her to return home. Cats have a strong sense of smell so the following items may help to advertise your property as being familiar territory to her.
Food and water - If your cat is hungry and capable of returning, she may respond to seeing her regular food in a familiar bowl. If you think there is a chance that cat food left out overnight may attract the attention of other animals, the likelihood can be reduced by monitoring the food or providing it during specific hours. Leave food out for an hour before bedtime or wait until daylight hours. During summer time consider leaving a bowl of dry kibble instead of wet food, as this is less likely to attract flies. Always put out fresh cat food and make sure you provide clean water in different locations of your garden, away from her food.
Bedding - a preferred blanket may encourage her to return. Place this somewhere it will remain dry if the weather turns inclement, such as in an open shed.
Litter tray - the same is true for cat litter, which will probably be the strongest scent indicator that your cat associates with. Placing her litter tray outside (again, somewhere it won’t get rained on) will remind her where home is if she’s lost her way. Don’t forget to position her litter tray away from any food and water bowls left out.
Search your neighbourhood
Search your neighbourhood with a family member or friend and call for your cat by name. It is worth going out when it is dark as well as during daylight hours, as cats are generally more active at night. If you have located your cat, treats such as Dreamies or Crispies can be used to coax her back to you, providing she is familiar with them.
When you have found your cat
When she has returned home there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your cat from straying in the future. Keep your cat in at night and create a routine of rewarding her with a cat treat (such as those mentioned above) when she comes in. If your cat is particularly restless before bedtime, a few minutes of exercise through playing should help them to settle in for the night. Laser pens, feather sticks and string toys can work wonders so experiment to find out what toys your cat prefers to play with.
Cats are innately curious and it can sometimes be a challenge to keep your cat from straying. There may be an underlying reason for your cat’s propensity to stray, and this can be something as simple as a newcomer to the family or having to share it’s home with another animal. Whatever the reason, it’s vital to have your pet microchipped and the ownership information kept up to date.
Cats Protection believes all owned cats (even those considered to be indoor pets) should be identifiable in order to trace their owner, so Cherwell residents who adopt from us can be sure their new cat will be microchipped. The procedure is quick and pain free, so if your pet isn’t yet microchipped we suggest you speak with your vet today to discuss having it carried out.
Some owners may want to identify their cat with a collar that has their contact details attached. For those situations, Cats Protection advises the use of a quick-release or snap-opening collar in preference to an elasticated one. Cat owners should follow safety precautions and always ensure cat collars are fitted correctly - two fingers should fit snuggly underneath to prevent injury.
If there is still no sign
Try not to give up hope. It’s not unheard of for cats to be found and reunited with owners, sometimes months or even years after they have gone missing. For more advice, call the CP Helpline on 03000 121 212.
FOUND A CAT - Please read below for advice
It's common to come across an unfamiliar cat in your day to day life that you might suspect has strayed from it's home. Often, it might not be immediately obvious whether it is stray, feral or in fact an owned cat with a sense of adventure. By their nature, most cats are inclined to roam around the area surrounding their home, so what should you do if you've found a cat?
What do I do if i've found a cat?
First, work out if the cat is an owned pet, a stray or feral. They look very similar so it can be hard to tell, If the cat you have found is friendly, you might be able to check for an identification tag. If the animal appears healthy, doesn't look undernourished and has a well groomed appearance, then it may belong to someone who is missing their pet.
Check the cat's identity
If there are signs of ownership such as a collar or identity tag, locate it's owner information and contact the owner to let them know you have found their pet. If you are unable to contact the cat's owner you can take the cat to your nearest vet practice, where it can be scanned for an identity microchip. This will not cost you anything and could greatly assist with returning the cat to it's home.
Identifying a socialised pet
If you're unable to contact the owner and you can't take the cat to a vet you can contact Cherwell CP as we may be able to assist with collecting and reuniting the cat with it's owner. In Cherwell, you can call us 01869 908 308 or 07759 620 055 for advice, alternatively you can call the Cats Protection National Information Line on 03000 121 212.
Stray cats are socialised domestic cats that either don’t have, or don’t appear to have, an owner. Be mindful that even if a cat looks 'stray' it may be a neighbourhood cat that’s worked out that by looking hungry it can bag itself an extra meal!
- May be friendly - if they’re a little shy they will often approach cautiously, given time and encouragement.
- Alone - will almost always be alone.
- Ear tips intact - won’t have their ear ‘tipped’, even if neutered.
- Near houses - more likely to be found in peoples’ gardens and trying to get into the house!
- Microchipped - could be microchipped if they are a missing pet.
- Appeared recently - may have recently appeared and might look lost or disorientated.
Help a stray cat find it's home
For advice on what to do visit cats.org.uk/straycat
Feral cats are the same species of cat as our pet cats, but are not socialised to humans or the domestic environment. This means they behave like wild animals.
- Not friendly - to socialised to humans so naturally find us threatening, so they can be very hard to spot and very fearful.
- Won’t come close, even wth encouragement.
- Lives alone or with others - sometimes, but not always, lives in a colony with other feral cats.
- Ear tip - may have their left ear ‘tipped’ to show that they have been neutered and returned.
- Away from houses - Avoids human contact and often has a hiding spot away from populated areas.
- Not microchipped - Most feral are not microchipped.
- Permanent - More likely to have set up a long term, permanent home or shelter.
Found a feral cat?
For advice on what to do visit cats.org.uk/feralcat
What is a feral cat? The term feral describes members of a domesticated species that have reverted to living as wild animals. Feral cats have had little or no contact with humans. They can never be tamed and this should never be attempted because they are very fearful of people and it would seriously compromise their welfare. Feral cats live alone – or in groups called colonies – and are found in towns, cities and rural areas. The best solution for feral cats is for them to be neutered and returned to their familiar environment.
Cat traps can be used to catch feral or stray cats or those who are simply lost. They must be set in a secure location and monitored. We hire out these traps for £20. We would be more than happy to offer advice as to whether a cat trap is needed in your scenario. Call us at 01869 908 308 or 07759 620 055.
Cat traps allow you to catch the cat safely without harm to yourself or the cat. We often work with farms, stables and small holdings to TNR (trap, neuter and re-release) colonies of feral cats to stop the amount of feral unwanted kittens being born. Neutering these cats does not only stop the unwanted production of kittens it also increases the health of the feral cats and inturn creates better "mousers".
Occasionally we catch feral cats in urban areas and often they cannot return to the same area, so in this case we look for farms, stables etc to re-release these cats once they have been neutered. If you feel you have the correct environment for one or more of these cats please let us know! (These cats will earn their keep in return for shelter & some food).