Did you know that only 25% of lost cats are found by their owners? Why? Because searches are often not very active. Here are some simple tips for finding your cat.
While using social media and the help of your friends and family to find your cat is always recommended, nothing is more effective than a thorough search of the neighborhood. In other words: physically look for your pet in every possible nook and cranny; bushes, under balconies, in sheds, etc.
An outdoor cat is territorial, often visiting the same places in the neighborhood. The average distance an outdoor cat travels is 315 meters, which is about 17 houses from its home. Field search is more difficult, but studies show that 40% of cats are found by physically searching their usual territory.
An indoor cat will often be terrified to be outside its territory, which is your home. Since the environment is unfamiliar, it will hide and may stay hidden for several days or even weeks. An indoor cat will rarely run more than 50 meters from its home, that is, two and a half houses away. It is, therefore, possible for the owner to be very active in his physical search.
Here are some commonly heard misconceptions:
"My cat will come back, he always comes back".
Although a cat that is used to being outdoors might have the reflex to return home regularly, don't wait too long if it happens to disappear. As soon as you notice an unusual, prolonged absence, start searching. The most common reasons for disappearance are the following:
- The cat is stuck somewhere
- The cat is injured, ill or dead
- The cat has been chased from its territory
"I'm going to put my cat's litter box outside, he'll find his way back by the smell."
While this method may not hurt your search, it is still questionable. It is a very recent solution that has not been proven to work. Don't rely on this passive action and start looking actively instead.
"My non-operated cat ran away, she will come back after her heat is over, it's natural".
A cat in heat is just as much, if not more, at risk of getting lost. They tend to go further out, looking for a mate. They could easily attract other feral cats. You are encouraged to search very quickly before you lose sight of her... and to call your veterinarian quickly to have her spayed ;)
In summary, it's not enough to post signs around the neighborhood, post an announcement on social media and take the litter box outside. Your cat's well-being depends on being found quickly and the best way to do that is by putting some sweat into it, dropping to your knees, and checking the underside of sheds!
Don't give up your search, many cats are reunited with their families after many months of waiting.
PS: The best way not to lose your cat is to keep it indoors and to get a municipal license.