What is the best checklist for trying to find a lost cat?

Finding a lost cat can be a little more difficult than locating a lost dog. For one thing, cats are masters at hiding and that, alone, can make it difficult to find. Secondly, there are so many stray and feral cats that, quite frankly, people wouldn’t notice a roaming cat as much as they would a dog. Third, the cat may be trapped, injured or frightened, all of which will make it much more difficult to see.

While no one can predict your success in locating a lost cat, there are some things you can do to increase your chances:

• Check your home, yard and look at places where the cat can hide, such as the roof or under the porch, deck or car. The unfamiliarity of the outside can turn a usually confident cat into a timid or scared one, so the cat may look for a place to hide close by the house.

NOTE: Never pick up a frightened cat. That will only spook him further and possibly cause him to run. Instead offer him treats and let him come to you. Talk softly while extending the treat and saying the cat’s name.
• Search on foot, preferably during the dark hours between 1 and 5 a.m. Cats feel more secure in the dark, so that is when she might look for food. If you cannot go out at that time, put a baby monitor on the porch. Some have reported finding their cats by hearing the meowing in the middle of the night.
• Ask around the neighborhood. Go door-to-door by foot and ask everyone in the neighborhood. For one, they’ll keep an eye out, but also some may have sheds, bath houses or even outside cellar doors that are left open during the day.
• Post flyers on every utility pole and community bulletin board within a three-block radius. Include a picture of your cat and your telephone number. Give one to your local animal control official, and ask shop owners and local businesses if you can leave flyers with them. You may want to go door-to-door to hand one to each of your neighbors.

• Check with veterinarians, as someone could have brought in your cat if she’s been injured.

• Call or visit animal shelters several times a week. Be sure to let them know if your cat is microchipped.

• Post advertisements in local papers or online.

• Visit animal rescue organizations.

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