Mr Pet Parent and I, you could probably say, are pretty laissez-faire about most things cat. However, one thing we are vigilant about is keeping Pussa and Soph from inadvertently escaping outside and going missing. Fortunately we haven’t ever come close to this happening despite Pussa positioning herself in prime position for an attempt at the perfect escape every time anyone opens the front door. Well, there was also the time when a tradesman left the door wide open and I came home to find both Pussa and Soph sitting on the sofa together slightly perplexed at the situation….not sure I ever told Mr Pet Parent about that one so best not to dwell on that particular episode. Still, what should you do if your cat goes missing?
Your Action Plan If Your Cat Goes Missing
- Easy to say but hard to do – stay calm. We’ve all had that awful feeling of your stomach falling through the floor when you think something terrible has happened. Get control and swing into action because you’re not improving the situation by collapsing into a heap;
- I’m guessing by this stage you’ve looked in all their usual hiding spots, so the next step is to look in the less obvious places of your home first, including the outside area if you have one. Look behind furniture, in cupboards that you never open, and anywhere that’s dark and small. Most often a cat will take themselves off to places like these when they’ve become scared. If it’s an indoor cat have you had strange people in your home and Favourite Feline has taken flight? If it’s an outdoor cat maybe they’ve been in a fight and retreated somewhere to be safe? Either way, start with your own place first before going further afield;
- Here’s the time when it’s rather handy if you know your neighbours. Even if your neighbourly relationship isn’t anything more than smiling and waving at each other you can at least ask them to keep an eye out for puss cat. If you’re on good terms they might let you search their place or offer to do it for you. Remember that the vast majority of cats are found within very close proximity to their home;
- If this hasn’t turned up puss, ring around your local vets, notify your local council (assuming they are microchipped, in NSW they will note on your cat’s Companion Animals Register file that they are missing) and then do up some posters. If you can, try and print the posters in colour with a clear photo of the MIA cat. Distribute your posters around the immediate area (say within 500m of your home) with information about when and where they went missing, what name they respond to, a physical description, any medical conditions they might have and how to contact you;
- Over the coming days continue to search, even places you’ve already looked in, and especially at night. By using a torch you might be able to catch a glimpse of them because of the reflection of their eyes that you mightn’t be able to get during the day.
The RSPCA in various states has lost and found services to help people with locating their missing pets:
RSPCA QLD: They advertise a paid search service at https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/what-we-do/lost-animals/lost-found-services . While they have a link to register a lost pet, it doesn’t work….https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/What-we-do/Find%20lost%20animals/Register%20Your%20Lost%20Pet. Hmmm, possibly good idea to get this fixed hey RSPCA QLD?
RSPCA WA: They don’t operate a lost and found service but recommend you contact your local shire. https://www.rspcawa.asn.au/animal-information/pound-lost-found.php
RSPCA ACT: Search their database for found animals or report a missing animal to them via email http://www.rspca-act.org.au/services/lost-found
There are also a number of private pet search services that may be available in your area.
How To Reduce The Chance That Your Cat Goes Missing
The best way to stop puss going missing is to try to prevent it in the first place. Here’s what you can do to protect them, and you from worrying yourself into the ground:
- Keep your cat as an indoor-only cat. Not only will this give them less opportunity to get lost but has many other benefits too;
- If they are allowed outside, supervise them all the time and make sure they spend the nights locked inside;
- If you are having work done at home or getting stuff delivered, keep puss in a room with the door shut until the coast is clear again;
- New Year’s Eve is a peak time for pets to go missing because they get scared from the noise from fireworks. Keep puss (and fido for that matter) inside so if they need to go and hide the area is confined;
- Make sure your cat is microchipped and that the database details are kept up to date.
When Favourite Feline and Frightened-to-Death Pet Parent are finally reunited, give them a big cuddle and tuck them up tight in one of our Cat Beds so they’ve got no reason to run away from home again. Then go and take down all those posters you put up please!