The end of Pet Theft Awareness Week marks Missing Cats Day.
Every cat owner’s nightmare is their pet disappearing one day and not coming back. The uncertainty of not knowing what has happened to them is heartbreaking. While some cats go missing for a day or two, others are lost for months, or even years, and unfortunately, a proportion never come home.
What should I do if my cat is missing?
1. Don’t panic. Many cats disappear for slightly longer than normal and turn up a short while later as if nothing has happened.
2. Search every corner of your property, including sheds and garages. Call your cat and rattle their favourite food. Keep listening, if your cat is stuck somewhere you may hear a faint meow.
3. Walk round the neighbourhood calling your cat and shaking their favourite food. Again, keep listening for a response. Try and do this at a quiet time so that your cat can hear you.
4. Tell your neighbours. Either speak to them directly or post a note through their doors. Ask them to check sheds and garages and leave doors open for a while in case your cat is hiding.
5. Put your cat’s litter tray outside. They may be able to detect their scent if they have gone out of their normal territory and lost sense of direction.
6. Put up lots of posters around the local area and use the power of social media and missing animal websites such as AnimalSearch. Have a recent photo of your cat, when and where they were last seen and a contact telephone number. Keep checking posters and websites to see if anyone has reported sightings.
7. If your cat is microchipped, inform the chip database that your cat is missing.
8. Report your cat as missing to local animal charities and veterinary surgeries.
9. Speak to your local council to see if any dead cats have been picked up.
10. If you have moved recently from somewhere local, investigate around your old property as well.
What should I do when my cat comes home?
Make sure that you remove any posters and inform everyone that they have been found.
If your cat seems injured, thin or unwell, take them to the vets for a check up.
If your cat has been missing for some time, keep them in for a few weeks to allow them to settle back in to home.
What should I do if my cat doesn’t come home?
Sometimes cats reappear months or even years after going missing, but unfortunately the longer they are away, the lower the chances of them coming back. Grieving for your pet can be really hard when you don’t know what has happened to them and many people around may not understand what you are going through.
The Blue Cross has a Pet Bereavement Support Service providing phone and email support by trained volunteers to help you through this difficult time.
If you move or change your contact details, update them with your cat’s microchip database in case they do reappear at some point.