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Author Topic: Lost cat search tips  (Read 1154 times)
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RIP little angel Katey

« on: April 07, 2012, 05:04:07 PM »

Just thought I'd post the Meownty Hunters lost cat search tips for anyone who is not on Facebook but reads this forum. Feel free to copy and email to someone who is searching for their lost kitty:

Cat search tips:

1. Ensure your cat DID, in fact, get outside. Search your entire home, including ducts, drop ceilings, behind appliances, in basements and crawlspaces and in furniture. I had one cat make a comfy hammock out of the bottom of the couch. Never would have thought.

2. If you know your cat got outside, place a dish of tuna and his/her litterbox with used litter outside at the point of exit/entry. Also put little piles of used cat litter around the front of the yard where it meets the sidewalk and the back yard where it meets the back lane (if any).

3. If your cat is indoor only, they will likely be hiding very close by (within a few houses of your home). They are frightened and will not likely come out for treats or the sound of your voice. You must get a flashlight and check under everything in the area.

4. Also look up in trees as cats may be chased up them (or may have chased something up there).

5. If your cat is indoor/outdoor, they may not be as close by as an indoor only cat, but may still be hiding or have been trapped in an out building. Check all garages and sheds (also check these if cat is indoor only). Make sure you expand your search area to three blocks in every direction from the farthest point you've ever seen your cat travel.

6. Ask homeowners' permission to search their yards and check under and in everything possible. Don't forget to check the rafters in a garage or shed as many cats feel more secure high up away from humans.

7. Take a digital camera with you for those tight spots you can't see into. Just aim the camera into the space (under stairs, decks, sheds, pipes, holes) and the flash will light up the area when you take a picture. Take as many angles as you can of the space. Review your results before moving on.

8. Some cats have also been known to just walk into other people's homes and become disoriented. They will not necessarily make themselves known in the stranger's home right away. If a neighbor has a cat or a dog that has been spending an inordinate amount of time in a spot in the home, this may be a clue that there is a strange animal in the home.

9. If there is snow, sand or mud on the ground, look for paw prints.

10. Create flyers for your neighborhood (three blocks in every direction) and go door-to-door with them. TALK to the people if you can so they can see how frantic you are to find your kitty. Pay special attention to those that have feeding stations or keep pet food outside. This is a good time to get permission to search yards.

11. Create eye-catching posters for the neighborhood and place in highly visible areas (schools, grocery stores, intersections, etc.)

12. Notify all shelters and vets in your city. Include any unique things about your cat (e.g. black dot on nose, white tip of tail, missing tip of left ear, etc.) that will distinguish it from others.

13. Post lost cat ad on Kijiji, Craig's list, local online lost and found, newspapers. Check found ads on same websites. Also check "giveaway" ads (some people find cats and may not have been able to find the family, so they try to rehome them).

14. Physically go down to check all shelters as workers may not match the lost cat with the notification you have left them. These are overworked people and mistakes are made. Make sure you ask to see staging areas as not all animals are always kept out in the open for the public.

15. Get an infrared trail camera and set it up outside in various places in your yard to see if you can catch your cat on film. These cameras are inexpensive and most take very good photos. They will snap pictures or record video 24/7 and can be very helpful if you think your cat may have come home when you were not around.

16. Set up a feeding station where you can see who is eating (e.g. just outside a basement window) and watch in the early evening and early morning to see if it's your cat coming around.

17. If your cat has been seen frequently either in your yard on in another yard, rent, buy or borrow a humane cat trap and try trapping your cat. Place their favorite food or some nice smelly tuna or sardines at the back of the trap beyond the trip plate and check on the trap frequently. Never trap on other people's property without their permission. NEVER leave the trap unattended for more than one hour in nice weather if it is well concealed. NEVER leave it unattended at all if the trap is not concealed. NEVER leave it unattended in inclement weather at all! Your cat could die of frostbite, exposure to the heat or cold. NO HUMAN, NO TRAP! When you can't be there, take the trap with you, but leave the food for the cat as it will get used to finding it in the location where you want to trap.

18. Contact an MPP trained detective with a tracking dog. They may be able to track the cat's scent.

19. Check city deceased animal pickup service. They keep a record of all animals found.


Quick tips of the day:

Make sure to give a copy of your flyer to all the postal carriers in the areas your cat was lost. See if you can get a copy of the poster or flyer to other service people as well (TV repair, electric company, gas/oil company, furnace repair, plumbing, courier, taxis, school bus drivers). Those people are in your area every day and in other parts of the city and can keep a lookout.


While searching for your lost cat, take note of any security cameras in the area, especially ones on homes and garages. Ask if the homeowner would kindly review the footage for the time your kitty has been lost to see if she/he has been caught on camera. If there are commercial buildings in the area, they often do have footage, but it may be more difficult to get them to review it, but it never hurts to ask. Cameras sometimes look like tubes with lenses on the end, but they also often have domes covering them. They may be very high up or just attached to the eaves of buildings.


This one is for cold areas of the country where vehicles have block heaters that you have to plug in. Cats will often seek refuge in the engine compartment of cars, as they are warm when plugged in.

Make sure, when you're searching for your cat, that you bang on the hoods of any cars that are plugged in (especially overnight and in the morning) and count to twenty. You may or may not notice paw prints in the snow, so it's a good idea to do it.

Do not pound on the hood too hard. Do it with an open palm. This will scare any cats out from under the hood and prevent severe fan belt or burn injuries when the engine is started. Cats have also been known to "go for a ride" this way and get transported to a completely different area. Some miraculously make it, some are severely injured.

If you plug your OWN vehicle in outdoors, always bang on the hood or honk the horn and count to twenty BEFORE starting up your car. You will be saving a cat's life and a traumatizing experience for both of you.


When you're out searching for your cat, bring along a digital camera. There will be times when you will not be able to see under something, like a deck or stairs or a shed or even under a house. Rather than trying to contort yourself, put your camera in the little space there is and take pictures from as many angles as you can. You may not be able to see under or in those tight spaces, but you camera can.


If you've lost your cat, tape a poster on your front door or make a bright lawn sign and tape the poster to it so if someone has found the cat and is looking in the neighborhood to see if it lives somewhere, they will spot your sign and get him home.


If you find a cat or kitten around your home and it has no tattoo or chip, try going to neighborhood homes with a picture to see if he/she lives close by first, before posting on community boards or making found posters for the area. This could save a lot of work.

If you move or change you phone number, don't forget to call your vet or shelter or microchip company to update that information for your cat's tattoo or chip. You wouldn't believe how many cats can't get home because the phone number is not in service anymore or belongs to another person. Clinic and shelter staff will not scour Facebook looking for you and they won't give the old information to the person who has found your cat. At that point, your cat will get a new family, if it's lucky.

Cat profiling information (the type of cat personality can determine where best to look):

More lost cat information:
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 05:18:54 PM by bug » Logged

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
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