Keep in mind that most cats, especially inside cats, do not go very far. They probably stay within a five house radius for the first few days and weeks. They lay low and hide and wait. Our Facebook Ohio Administrator has been counseling and consoling people with lost cats for at least five years. Here are her recommendations, based on all those years of experience. It is important to act right away! These are tips that work!
I mention to folks that it’s pretty rare that a cat will come when called or by shaking treats which is why we need to appeal to their sense of smell to attract them home. I suggest putting the litter box or scoop of used litter outside along with articles of their own worn clothing, a slept on pillowcase, a used bath mat or towel, a vacuum bag or canister and kitty’s favorite bed or blankie. These will be familiar scents that will appeal to kitty.
Regular food won’t do the trick. The food put outside needs to be sardines, tuna or some other type of stinky food and it must be heated to create a fragrant and enticing aroma. Reheat every so often to keep the aroma fragrant.
It would be helpful if a family member could sleep on the ground floor to listen for any scratches or meows during the night. Especially the folks with a garage door cracked open. A baby monitor is also a good way to keep an ear open. It’s usually the people that put in the effort on that first and second night that can wrap up their ordeal quickly. I feel like it’s the people that choose to go to bed instead of staying up are the ones that prolong their ordeal.
Another thing that cats seem to respond to is their human’s normal speaking voice. Not the sad or frantic voice calling their name and pleading with them to return while shaking a bag of treats. Just your normal voice like sitting outside chit-chatting or talking on the phone. I have been on the phone twice with people, suggested this and they stepped outside to continue our conversation unbeknownst to me. Within a short time they start crying because their cat returns. A recent story a kitty was missing for 2 weeks around Mother’s Day. Dad got Mom the fire pit she always wanted. They were sitting around it talking at 10pm when here comes their cat trotting home like no big deal to join the conversation. Another time…it was definitely a Divine Intervention story…but one of our FB friends found herself visiting in an apartment complex and she encountered a gal who was missing her cat. Our friend started communicating with me and passing along the tips. The cat owner had walked around her apartment unit for 8 hours calling for her kitty. I suggested they just sit outside and shoot the breeze. They sat on their front porch talking and here comes her cat walking home like la de da.
My hope is that we can encourage cat owners to immediately get busy trying to attract their kitty home so that their cat does not need to be found by someone else. Folks seems to immediately think to contact shelters and stuff without realizing their kitty is very likely right under their nose, but its behavior likely changes once it is displaced outdoors.”
If these suggestions fail it may be that someone has already taken your cat in – probably someone right in the neighborhood. Maybe kitty is stuck in a tree; don’t forget to look at places where a frightened cat might climb. Sometimes cats get trapped in a neighbor’s shed or garage or in a nearby construction site. Occasionally cats get carried off in a vehicle they were exploring. Outside cats are more likely to be found farther away. Please read our Lost Cat: What To Do page for more advice.