Post # 1
OK. Two days ago, my very stupid cat went missing. This is how I found her…
Firstly, I realised that she was missing very fast. She is only ever outside for brief periods of time, but she didn’t come back from midday ish onwards on Friday. Her food was untouched… I know this because all of my three cats have different food. They all share, but they prefer different kinds.
By the next morning, I registered her with multiple online search engines, called the local vets, and talked to the local shelters. I also made a poster of her. At this stage, DH still thinks I am being silly and that she will come back on her own. I disagree, and register her microchip number with a number of databases. I also call local cat charities and register her missing.
Every night, and at regular intervals during the day, I call her and shake a bag of cat treats. I think I can hear crying at night, very faintly, but I can’t be sure.
Post # 3
By day two I realise that I am going about this all wrong. Satistically, 90% of dead cats are found within one household any way of home. 80% of recovered cats are found within 5 households of home. I use several published studies to find that the average cat has a range of a mere 300m. Most of them spend the vast majority of their time within 50m of home. Therefore, I print out a map of the area and map concentric circles onto it. I also mark out key areas in a highlighter. These are areas in which cats are likely to be. Cats are more likely to travel along fence lines etc etc… I use all this research to create my map.
I print out 200 flyers. Starting near to my house, I work outwards in concentric circles, going door to door. I also place flyers in shops, pubs, and on telegraph poles. I bring additional photographs of my cat with me, in case I see someone who is interested. They allow me to point out distinguishing features on my cat. If anyone isn’t in, I post the flyer through the door. I mark my progress using different coloured highlighters on my map, and carry a bag of cat treats to shake whilst calling for her on open ground.
Post # 4
I used to have indoor/outdoor cats… And my neighboors were CONSTANTLY stealing them!
They’d find their way back a week or so later, smelling like old lady perfume…
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
@Rachel631: So glad I don’t have to sit on eggshells waiting to hear the end of the story that YOU FOUND HER! Yay! Also – just have to say that I love how you used peer-reviewed research to determine the most effective search technique.
@BrandNewBride: Ha, we totally used to do that when we lived in an apartment building, except the kitty would roll on home smelling like cans of tuna fish 😉
Post # 6
I hope you find your kitty! I have never had a pet go missing so can’t imagine how stressful it is. My cat growing up went outside on a leash attached to a patio chair so she couldn’t get away. I tried to take my new cat out like that and he was like “eff this” and ran back into the house, never wanting to leave it again.
My work colleague lost her cat for a week, and finally found her when an elderly ladies hair dresser called and said her client was talking about her new cat that matched her lost car posters. The elderly lady lived right behind her and had had the cat the whole time!
ETA: i see you found her, yay!
Post # 7
By the afternoon, I am walking along the main road. I have already followed up several leads. If it wasn’t a weekend (she went missing on a Friday) I would also have called the local council. As it is, I have already emailed all the local papers etc etc.
I finally come to a repossessed basement flat, with a notice in the window. I go down the stairs anyway, to see if the cat is anywhere. There is some detritus near the spare fuse box, in an annex near the outside stairs. I sort through it whilst calling for my cat. I think I hear a mew, but also think I must be mad. That mew was very faint… faint enough to be an illusion… and is also behind me. The front door is also behind me.
I go to the front door, and call her name. After 60 seconds or so I can hear her call on the other side of the door. I call DH and ask him to come. The notice in the window says that the flat was repossessed the day she went missing. I call the number but, being a Sunday, they are not there. I check the locks… all polyfilla’d over. The agent filled them in and them placed a new lock at the base of the door, and filled in everything, including the postbox. I start trying to break down the door. Usually, I would go around the back first, but I know that the back doors in these flats are UPVC and almost impossible to break into. I hurt my shoulder trying to knock in the front door.
My plan would be to break in, and then call an emergency locksmith to fix the door and tell the agent about it the next day. Failing that, I would have to sleep in the abandoned house overnight, to make it secure… squatters are a problem here.
In the event, DH finds a cat flap in the back door of the flat. It’s a battery operated one, but rather than setting it to “all cats can leave, but none can enter” it is set to “all cats can enter, but none can leave”. We smash it through, but the cat is still too afriad to leave. I have to pull her out through the flap by her front paws. Cat is fine. We then block the flap.
Post # 8
Next stage is to get back the flyers and report her OK. We also have to call all of the local agencies involved. The final stage is to keep her inside for now.
I know that there are cultural differences in different parts of the world when it comes to indoor vs indoor/outdoor cats. The UK norm is indoor/outdoor, which is on vet’s advice.
Anyway, I now have a set of trackers on order, similar to the ones you use to find lost keys. They are designed to go in the cat’s collar, to make sure I don’t have the same issue again. The cats are staying in until the tracking devices arrive.
Finally, I have to print out a flyer to go in our window and on our door, reporting what has happened to her.
Cat is none the worse for her experience. What a little ****….
Post # 9
Always microchip your pets.
We had some very severe tornadoes here recently. A lot of animals were lost and displaced. Microchipping was the best way to ensure people got their pets back.
ETA: When you microchip, always keep a photo of your pet on the website if appliable. I get a lot of e-mails from Homeagain that pets are lost and people either do not have any information on the pet other than “Last seen at” or have no photo at all.
Post # 10
@BrandNewBride: For my boy cat, I would have believed it, but my missing baby is very people shy and nervous. Boy cat breaks into people’s houses though… cheeky ***!
@lolot: The peer reviewed stuff was SUPER helpful. It allowed me to run a few statistical analyses and create my annotated map. Knowing that she was more likely to be closer rather than further away also helped… it’s like you can “feel” her nearby, almost, and it encourages you to keep calling her name, no matter how much of a tit you feel!
@pixiecat: Yeah… statistically, they are likely to be super close, even if they are lost. They normally don’t wander, unlike dogs. Knowing the research was really helpful!
Post # 11
@Hyperventilate: Oh, yes! Mine are all chipped, of course.
The problem is that, if people see a cat in good condition, they don’t necessarily assume that it is missing. Sure, they see that it has a collar and a tag, but they won’t necessarily assume that it needs help unless it is in an awful state.
This is why I really recommend some sort of tracker or GPS in their collar as well. Never occurred to me before now, but apparently you can track them to within 3m.
Post # 12
@Rachel631: I love the tracker idea, too bad my moms cat removes his collar! I once had a cat go missing and saw him a year later ( he had a very distinct tail ) when I knocked on the ladies door she asked how she Luke help me hen I told her she had my missing orange kitty she said no! And slammed the door in my face, I guess she grew attached to the cat. I was 13 at the time, what kind of woman keeps a child’s pet fom her? Hmm oh well at least he looked well cared for.
Post # 13
@MrsRichard: Sorry to hear it! At least the cat looked happy
I did consider the “what if the cat slips the collar” thing, because trackers are REALLY expensive. However, I thought… if the cat slips the collar, you can find the collar by using the tracker and put the collar back on the cat afterwards!
So it’s really more of a win win situation.
Post # 14
@Rachel631: Ya! That’s true! I clocked everywhere for his collar and just have up so he’s walking around naked.. Oh well!