Finding a lost cat can be extremely challenging and obviously, extremely stressful. Here's what to do if your cat goes missing.
If you've outfitted kitty with an up-to-date ID tag and assuming the collar stays on, you might get lucky and someone will notify you. We can't count on this being the case, though, so, below is a list of questions to be used a checklist if your cat gets lost.
One of the most important things to remember is to remain calm. That's easier said than done, I realize, but clear-headed thinking is what's needed during this time of stress.
There are some things you may have forgotten, like your phone number is not the same now as it was when your cat's ID tag was made. The ideas here are meant to jog your memory and get you thinking!
Taken recent pictures of your cat that you can make into fliers and post around the neighborhood and at busy locations? If you don't have pictures, does anyone else? Are any online that you can print out? Did you post any in our pictures of cats section?
Taken recent pictures of you with your cat (to help prove ownership if needed)?
Talked to all of your neighbors, friends, and co-workers if applicable, and make sure they're on the look out for your cat? Do they have copies of the flier?
Does your cat have a collar and ID tags? Is the information up to date? Is it readable? I found a cat once and I couldn't read the phone number on the tag!
Does your cat have a microchip? Is your information in the database up to date?
Is your cat registered with any other lost pet databases? Is your information up to date?
Checked any of the online lost and found pet databases?
Called your local animal shelters within a 25 mile radius?
Visited the animal shelters in person to view their recent additions and provided a flier?
Called your vet's office and also called other local veterinarians and pet stores nearby and posted fliers?
If your cat is a pure breed, have you called your breeder and/or notified all local breeders and pure breed cat rescue groups?
Used any of the other online or offline classified or notification services? Craigslist? Local newspaper? Community organizations? Church? Etc.
Finding a lost cat is difficult, and exhausting. Priscilla got lost once and it was an experience I don't want to have ever again.
I hope that your cat is safe and sound. If your cat is lost, however, I hope that these ideas help you just a bit, and I wish you much success in reuniting with your kitty.
American Humane has more advice on what to do if your pet gets lost including information on microchipping.