Lost and Found

Between 9am and 4:00pm (seven days a week) please contact our Reception if you have lost or found a cat on the Isle of Wight on t:03000 120 251   e:isleofwight@cats.org.uk  

Outside of these hours, we are able to provide online support for lost and found cats. Please send an email to lostandfound@isleofwight.cats.org.uk, and our volunteer team will be able to advise you on what to do next.  

  • If you've lost a cat, you may find it helpful to first read the information and tips below.  
  • If you've found a cat, please see our Found a Cat page.  
  • If you've found a dead cat, please do take a look at our advice on our Found a Dead Cat page.


I've lost my cat. What can I do?

Don’t despair. Cats are territorial, so a lot of missing cats are often found in the first few days within roughly a five-house radius from where they live. Cats that are new to the area, or shy cats, may have panicked and gone into survival mode, so are probably hiding even closer. They are too scared to move and will probably not respond to your calls. Even after the first few days, cats will often stay within the area, so don’t give up; keep looking. Here’s a checklist of things you can do:

Check your own home and garden first

This might sound obvious but cats feel most secure in small cosy spaces and might be hiding in the unlikeliest of places or might have become trapped or shut in.  Places to check include draws, cupboards, laundry baskets, back of wardrobes, and household appliances like tumble dryers and washing machine.  If you’re having building work completed, check under floorboards or any holes big enough for a cat to nestle into. 

Outside, thoroughly check your garage, sheds, bins, greenhouses,. If your cat is injured or scared, they’ll often be hiding under something.. Don’t underestimate your kitty’s shrinkability skills. That tiny gap under the shed?  Check it, if necessary with a torch.

Speak to your neighbours

If you’re sure your cat isn’t at home, the next thing to do is to speak to your neighbours. Ask them to check their own property, gardens and outbuildings, as well as under any parked cars in the neighbourhood. Remember to check homes on both sides of the road, as well as homes that have gardens that back on to yours. 

Try tempting him

If putting out the word about your missing cat hasn’t worked, there are some great tips to try and tempt them home. Cats are heavily reliant on scent and leaving out items that may entice them back to you is well worth an attempt. Things to try include the following:

  • Leaving out a tasty treat such as tuna might be enough to tempt him back (remember also to place some water nearby). Do it at the same time every night, then try to keep watch from a distance. (Some people even place a baby monitor near the food so they won’t miss her if she returns).  
  • It will also help if you put out in the garden your cat’s litter tray (still containing its ‘used’ litter).  Smelling his own scent will help to reinforce the notion that this is his home and give him a sense of security.  
  • Leave your cat’s favourite toy or some of their unwashed bedding in the garden

If you see your cat appearing several times (either in your garden, or a neighbour’s), this is a great step forward.  However it’s really important not to rush in and try and grab him.  This could scare him away permanently.  So take it slow.  Try and move the food nearer and nearer to your door every day, so that eventually you can place it inside and close the door behind him.  The alternative is a trap cage.  Do give us a call if you need help in setting this up.  

Look for him when it’s dark and first thing very early morning

  • Cats will often wait until it’s dark to search for food and will still often be out and about early in the morning when it’s quiet. Take a torch to look in bushes, under cars etc where he or she may be hiding.

Contact local vets & rescue centres

  1. If your cat is injured, somebody may have brought him in, so do check all your local vets
  2. Is your cat microchipped? Talk to Petlog on 01296 737 600 or Identibase on 01904 487 600 to register your cat as missing.  They may be able to help in the search.

 Useful numbers on the Isle of Wight include:

  • Facebook Lost Pets IOW
  • Cats Protection Isle of Wight – 03000 120 251 e: lostandfound@isleofwight.cats.org.uk
  • Feline Welfare – 01983 521778
  • Nine Lives Cat Rescue – 01983 852228
  • RSPCA Godshill – 01983 840 287

Put up posters and put fliers through your neighbours’ doors

Local shops and community centres will often be happy to put them up. People do take notice. Some people will often start to feed a cat that regularly comes into their garden, not realising that it is a lost cat. So post as many fliers as possible within your neighbourhood. If you need help with creating a poster or flier, we can provide you with a template.

Never give up hope

Cats are driven by strong survival instincts and can survive a long time on their own. Here at Cats Protection, we’ve seen many occasions where cats have been reunited with their owners, months or even years after they’ve gone missing.