My cat has gone missing several times. Luckily, we've always gotten him back. Here are my best tips on what to do if your cat goes missing.
Have You Ever Lost Your Cat?
It's a desperate time when your cat goes missing. My cat Freddie has gone missing 3 times—first for 5 days, then for 14 days and the last time for 10 days. He is normally a cat that will come back home every one to two hours and never wanders far, so I was extremely worried each time he went missing. However, those experiences taught me a lot about how to get a cat back.
If your cat is missing at the moment, please take advantage of what I have learned and try my tips to get him back.
10 Tips to Help Find a Lost Cat
- Start Looking Early
- Start Looking Close by
- Talk to Your Neighbours
- Think Like Your Cat
- Put up Posters
- Look When It's Dark and Quiet
- Set up a Baby Monitor
- Use Facebook and Other Social Media
- Think Positively
- Don't Give up
1. Start Looking Early
Start your search as soon as you realise your cat has gone missing. If your cat has gotten lost, the quicker you get started, the less time he has to wander. However, if you haven't done this, don't despair—there's plenty more you can learn and do that will help you get your cat returned to you. Keep reading for more advice.
2. Start Looking Close by
Cats are territorial, and many will rarely leave their territory unless something has scared them. Therefore most cats that go missing are found within a five-house radius of where they live. Make sure you check your back garden and those of your neighbours thoroughly. Is there anywhere your cat could be trapped or hiding? As you know, cats can be curious and get trapped in all kinds of places they venture into.
Your Cat May Be "Lost" Close to Home
The first time Freddie went missing, he was gone for five days. We searched everywhere, near and far, but it wasn't until our neighbour told us he had seen Freddie in our garden on day four that we concentrated our search nearby.
We put out some salmon for him in the garden at 11pm at night on day five and spent about an hour calling for him. When we went back inside our house, he creeped out to eat the fish about five minutes later. I couldn't believe it. He had been hiding just by our house.
When we took him to our vet, he noticed Freddie had a bite mark on his leg and said he had probably been in a fight with another cat. My theory is the fight scared him so much he went into survival mode and hid where he felt safe. He only ventured out when it was dark and he was hungry enough.
You Can Try Luring Your Cat Home
If you think your cat is hiding nearby, you can try putting out some strong-smelling fish when it gets dark. Do it at the same time every night, then try to keep watch from a distance to see if your cat will venture out to eat it. When he is hungry enough, he will venture out when he feels safe, which is normally under the cover of night.
3. Talk to Your Neighbours
Talk to your neighbours and ask them if they've seen your cat. Since most lost cats stay within a close radius of their home, your neighbours may have seen him recently and be able to help with your search.
4. Think Like Your Cat
Each cat is different, and the scenario that has happened to them may depend on several factors such as their personality, whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat or whether something has scared them.
Is Your Cat an Indoor Cat?
For example, research has shown that indoor cats that have escaped are very likely to be hiding near your house. They have panicked and gone into survival mode, so are probably hiding within a three house radius. They are too scared to move and will probably not respond to your calls. They are hiding in silence so as not to attract any predators, they are following their survival instinct.
In fact, when any cat is hurt or scared, they are very likely to go into hiding and not respond to your calls. You have to remember that cats don't think like humans. Even though they may recognise your voice, they may not respond to it because their ancestor instincts tell them its safer to remain quiet so as not to attract any attention.
There are lots of other factors that may influence what has happened to your cat.
Reasons Your Cat May Be Missing
- Does your cat have a habit of wandering? Some cats wander a lot further than others and may simply get lost from time to time.
- Could something have scared him/her?
- Could they have been feeling sick?
- Are they a curious cat?
- Could they have ventured into next door's shed and gotten trapped?
- Would they have jumped into a car/van?
- Have you recently moved? Could they have gone back to your old property?
- Is your cat neutered? Cats which aren't neutered will often wander a lot further in search of a mate.
Answers to these and other questions could help give clues about what may have happened to your cat and help you with your search.
The second time Freddie went missing, he was found a few streets away, but the next time he was further away. Some cats seem to have a natural instinct to return to their homes—I don't think Freddie was one of them. He just got hopelessly lost.
What We Learned
We have learned that Freddie only goes missing if he is let out after dark. I think this is because it is darker and quieter and he feels safer exploring at this time. We have a cat flap, and both times he went missing, he went out at about 11pm at night and never came back. Now, we close the cat flap when it gets dark and he is no longer let out a night. He hasn't been missing since. He never wanders far in the day.
Did your cat go missing at night? Could he have gotten lost? Or his personality may be totally different, which suggests a different scenario. In any case, trying to get into your cat's mindset may give you a clue as to where he's lost or hiding.
5. Put up Posters
If you have covered the ground near your own house and had no luck, start putting up posters. Leafleting the houses nearby can also be productive. We posted missing leaflets to about 100 houses near where we live when Freddie was missing. When Freddie came back, a lot of people noticed him and phoned us to let us know they had seen him. People will respond to leaflets and posters, so it is definitely worth doing.
This missing-pet poster creator can help you make a poster quickly and easily, containing all the information you should include.
6. Look When It's Dark and Quiet
If your cat is lost or hiding, it may be waiting until it's dark to come out and search for food. It is, therefore, best to try and wait until late at night when the roads are quiet to look for your cat. At this time, your cat is more likely to hear your calls and to respond. Remember to stop from time to time and listen for your cat.
Note: If you do go out at night, make sure you take somebody with you—don't put your own safety at risk.
Try Calling Your Cat
Our cat has gone wandering on a couple of occasions and we have walked the streets calling his name when he hasn't come back as expected. We found him and got a response. Our cat doesn't have much sense of direction, and I have no doubt that if we hadn't gone out on these occasions, called his name and found him, we would have lost him again. You do feel a bit of an idiot calling out for a cat, but it's definitely worth it, especially if you find them.
Having said this, calling for your cat may not work if your cat has gone into hiding and is scared. Even if they hear their name, if they're scared for any reason, they won't come out as they don't want to attract any attention from predators. Freddie didn't respond to our calls the first time he was missing even though he was nearby, as I think he was too scared.
Here is more information on lost-cat behaviour to help you better understand how cats respond to being lost and why they might remain in hiding in spite of your best efforts to lure them out and make them feel safe.
Take a Flashlight
If your cat is hiding and you go out and look for him after dark, take a flashlight. You can then use it to look in bushes, under cars and other places where he or she may be hiding. This is useful if your cat is not responding to your voice.
7. Set up a Baby Monitor
Since writing this article, I have received more tips on finding lost cats from readers and people who've lost their cats. One interesting tip which helped an owner get their cat back was using a baby monitor. They put a baby monitor outside (next to some food they had also put there) so if their cat came back in the night, they would be able to hear him. In the words of Wesley, who put forward this tip:
I set a monitor out on the porch with a bowl of his food and a bowl of tuna and sure enough within a couple of days I heard a faint mewing when he came back in the middle of the night. (3am) He was smelly, hungry and had lost a bit of weight, but he's home now and is really, really happy.
8. Use Facebook and Other Social Media
In this day and age, you may only be a few clicks away from finding your feline friend. While posting on Facebook and other social media isn't a guarantee you'll find your cat, it will quickly broaden the network of people who are looking.
Post About Your Cat
If you're on Facebook and are in contact with friends and family who live very close to you, consider posting on Facebook to see if anybody has seen your cat. You may even get offers of help to look for your cat, spread the word, put up posters, etc. At the very least, you should get some much-needed emotional and moral support.
Set up a Facebook Page for Your Missing Cat
Another thing you can do is set up a Facebook page for your missing cat. This can contain detailed information including photos, more information about their personality, the noises they make and their habits. You could advertise the page on your missing cat posters so people can comment on your page and add any information they may have. They can also like your page and put a link to it in their status so friends and family who live nearby may hear the news too. Making this kind of Facebook page is as easy as making a Facebook profile page for a person.
Join a Missing-Pet Group
Some people have even set up missing pet pages for the area that they live in, which is another good resource. This can be really helpful, as these pages are essentially a big network of people who know what it's like to lose a pet and want to help others recover theirs. For an idea of how social media can help reunite missing cats with their owners, check out "Find your lost pet with Facebook."
9. Think Positively
Don't torture yourself with all the horrible scenarios that could have happened to your cat. Remember—most people are generally nice and will not harm your cat. Cases of cats being stolen or displaced by other humans are rare. On the occasions that Freddie went missing for 10 and 14 days, two different people put Freddie in a cat carrier and took him to a cat rescue centre, as they had noticed he seemed lost.
Your Cat May Have Been Taken In by Another Family
Some people do feed cats they think may be stray or lost, and if this happens, your cat will probably hang around where he/she is getting fed instead of trying to get home. Families and children do adopt cats they think are stray. Although this may not be a favoured outcome for you, this kind of scenario is just as likely (probably more likely) as all the horrible things you imagine happening to your cat.
Of course, bad things do happen and it is possible your cat may have died or been taken, but it is most likely they are lost, hiding or trapped, so think as positively as possible, keep looking and try not to give up hope.
10. Don't Give up
The sooner you give up looking for your cat, the likelier your cat is to stay lost. Cats are driven by strong survival instincts and can survive a long time without access to food and water.
Cat owners often give up looking for their cats due to what is known as grief avoidance. They can't bear to think that their cat is out there hungry and on their own, so they conclude that he is dead and try to move on. Try not to think like this.
Cats Are Survivors
Remember—your cat doesn't think like a human; they aren't thinking "I miss home" and having emotional feelings. It is likely that they are just trying to survive and are probably doing a good job of it.
The second time Freddie disappeared, he was missing for 14 days. He was eventually handed in to a cat shelter, and when he came back home it was obvious that nobody had fed him. He just ate and ate. I'm sure he managed to find titbits to keep him going, but the point is that he got by.
Cats have been known to be returned to their owners after weeks, months and years, so don't give up looking. And remember that if your cat has wandered and gotten lost, he is more than likely doing a good job of getting by.
Thoughts to Help Keep Your Spirits up
- Cats who are in nearby surrounding territory will often come out of hiding and back home when they are hungry and thirsty enough and when they feel safer. This quite often happens 5–10 days after they have gone missing.
- Cats are blessed with incredible instincts to survive and have been known to return months, even years after they first went missing.
- Most people are generally nice, and there is quite often somebody who will look out for a cat who they think is a stray. Many people will also respond to posters and are often willing to help you in your search.
- Many cats do come back on their own too. My neighbour's cat just went missing for two weeks. They'd looked everywhere, with no luck. Then he just turned up one morning outside their house and was warm and well fed. Somebody close by must have been looking after him.
To keep your spirits up, it may help to read some stories about cats coming back home after being missing for a while.
- Have you ever lost a pet and found it?
Some stories about losing pets and finding them again.
- Bailey Comes Home After 18 Days
Bailey's owner asks for advice on a forum after Bailey goes missing. The owner comments 18 days later to say that Bailey has come home and tells her story.
More Useful Links
- Animal Search UK
If you live in the UK this is an excellent site which offers plenty of helpful free advice including videos offering help and guidance to reunite owners with their missing pets or stolen pets. They will also organise poster campaigns for a charge (wh
- The Missing Kitty Handbook
Another good article about how to find a missing cat. It has some similar advice to this article with a couple of extra tips including using familiar sounds to get your cat to come home.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Louise0711
Have you ever lost and found a cat?
Toni Palmes on February 21, 2020:
My Indoor/Outdoor cat Louis hasent
been seen since 01/31/2020. Orange&
White paws nose end of tail chin&belly
4yrs old neutered.Harbeson Delaware
19951.Have flyers out in Harbeson DE.
Not like Louis to be gone for so long.
My phone number 302-339-2134
Laureetta Williams on December 20, 2019:
its great helpful tips for who has lost a cat. There are many websites can help you find your missing cats as well.
Also When I tried to click on "missing-pet poster creator" Link inside the article, It seems like broken links. pawmaw also can help you create a missing pets poster.
Ridhiteeluck on November 06, 2019:
I'm very worried of my lost I am desperate of calling her by her name she left two small kittens of 1months and 5days behind they don't sto meowing out I'm really attached with her it's till 5 November 2019 Tuesday afternoon she is missing here is Mauritius and today is 6 November 2019 Wednesday. I really need help
Dennis on February 21, 2019:
Excellent article thank you.
Jsab on February 01, 2019:
Here’s a good tip. Don’t let your cat out. I grew up with cats and have three cats now. I don’t let any of my cats outside. It is difficult at first but they finally get used to not going out. They are perfectly happy with staying inside. Ther are too many predators out there and they can get hit by a car. There are lots of articles supporting my claims. Cats live longer when they are indoor only. There is less chance of them contracting diseases.
lesley on November 19, 2018:
we are looking for a lost cat in willingdon sussex ginger and black very friendly and eats a lot
SM on October 10, 2018:
Put the cat’s dirty litter box outside. Cats can smell themselves a mile away. This has worked for me several times.
Lollie on September 26, 2018:
My Cat has been missing Since Monday ( 3 days already ) I have been searching for her day and night but mostly at night when it is quiet . She just turned 6 months not Spayed yet , Her date was booked this week for the Vet , So I do believe she must be on Heat , Because she just vanished Sunday Night and Never came back . I am really Concerned as she always stays in the yard .Any Advise on Cat Behavior , Is this normal ?
Maya McClellan on September 14, 2018:
The only one of my life
Helen on August 08, 2018:
Fantastic advice. Just found Jem locked in next doors shed who are away. So happy.
Evan on July 25, 2018:
After 5 days, OLLIE CAME HOME LAST NIGHT!! 3:33am we had a baby monitor set up at the back door with some food on the steps and he woke us up scratching at the door!!! The baby monitor truly was the best tip we used. What a life saver
wendy on May 25, 2018:
Our cat went missing 3 months ago and we continue to search for him every day and night. At what point do I stop looking for him?
Newrehj on May 02, 2018:
We found our cat named ":CALI" . Thanks for the info and tips from this site. Almost a month of searching, posting posters at nearby houses, posting on facebook. Someone returned our cat after seeing our poster.
briony blankhorn on January 27, 2018:
I have found your cat
Deadoll on June 27, 2017:
I want to share my story because it didn't end well in my case, so if it can help someone with a lost cat, it would've serve a purpose. My cat, Mini, a female of almost 2 years old, was a very beautiful and smart cat, but she was also very curious and adventurous. And she was a diva, but she was MY diva.
One night in december, Mini didn't come back, but as it wasn't the first time she spent the night outside, so I didn't thought much of it. In the morning, still no sign of her, but she often didn't appear before noon came. On the evening of that day, when she still hadn't shown up, I started to fear the worst. I called for her, went outside with a flashlight, but nothing. Started looking on the web on what to do when one's cat is lost, and didn't found much but to ask the neighbors to check their backyards. So living in surburbia, I asked the two neighbors to the left and right of my house. Not those across the streets, nor behind the house since it's a park. No sign of her. So long story short, I did everything I could thought of : distributed flyers all over the neighborhood, plus the next two nearest ones, l paid a so-called pet psychic 90$ for nothing but crap, called an expert in animal rescue, spoke to a vetenarian technician, went to animal control to check their inventory, posted on facebook and in stores and finaly went 2 times a day, everyday, outside to look and call for her for 2 months. In march, our front neighbor across the street asked if we'd lost our cat (they were on holidays when I distributed my flyers). Mini had drowned in his pool. It was bitter sweet, because at least I could stop worrying what had happened, it's not knowing that was the worst. Today, she is burried in my backyard, where I can still talk to her everyday.
So based on my experience, and nothing scientific or proven, let me share with you what you can do when your cat is lost:
Knowing your cat's behavior, decide what is the best first step. And do it fast, don't wait.
A scardy-cat? He could be hidden. Check the perimeter with his favorite treats or toy in hand, several times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time.
An adventurer? For a female, ask the next two neighbors on every side to check their backyards. Check every nooks and crannies, and pool for that matter. Bring treats if used, or anything making noises she knows (dry food containers, bowls, food cans, etc.). For males, do the same but over six neighbors. And if you're shy, asks someone you know to accompany you. Think of your cat.
A people lover? Post on your town and the one nearest Spotted pages, distribute flyers in your neighborhood streets and nearest stores. Don't use scotch tape on your neighbors doors, some are mentally disturbed, I just folded it up and slipped it between the door and the door frame. Contact your animal control services in your area, along with vetenarian clinics, to let them know or check on new arrivals.
Keep on calling your cat from your house, to let them know where home is.
All of the steps above should be done, you just have to decide in which order.
Accidents happen. I received a call one night, a cat had been hit by a car, and the person thought it was my cat, from the flyer. Got in my car and sped to the location, only to find a guy with a dead cat in his arms, walking away from the scene. It was a only closeby neighbor taking the cat off the street so he wouldn't get roll over again or rot on the street. So a dead cat can disapear quickly.
One last advice, again based on my experience, but three cats died in my neighbor's pool (he has 2 house cats, so I'd like to believe it's not on purpose). If only there was a piece of styrofoam large enough to help the cats off the water, they might have find a different ending.
Don't give up just yet, be ready to invest a lot of time and energy, and your investment will eventually be rewarded. It's worth it all.
maria on May 29, 2017:
I've had my two brother Kitties that were born across the street from 8 weeks old..so neighborhood is their birthplace. I taught them their names and a whistle from that time. Manny and Willy have two completely different personalities. Manny is a hunter and Willy likes to play with butterflies. They just turned 3 and have always used the dog door since I have dogs with fenced yard. They both have always come running, whether over the fence or under a bush when I whistle..which always comes with a treat. Suddenly Manny has disappeared off the face of the planet. I've done all the recommendations, and of course, noticed immediately in the morning something was wrong because he is a talker and always made his presence known every hour or so if I hadn't called him first. The yards are all connected and fenced so escaping a dog is easy..I started to worry it may have been a hawk or an owl but heard they don't carry a 10 to 15 lb animal far. if it was a car, I would have smelled death bcuz he wouldn't have gone far. I have posted pictures, FBooked, craigslist, article in paper, spoken to all neighbors..taken leads even tho they seemed outrageous..One night I walked the perimeter of my neighborhood 2miles square with a bullhorn giving him his whistle and calling his name and waiting for even one little meow... nothing. I've gone to the far off areas where people hav called and still nothing. I have started to feel terrible and regretful that I didn't put a gps on him. I didn't know that existed but now I wish i did. It's been 11 days without a whisper of a hint. I was told sometimes people take in cats thinking they are being helpful...If that is the case, they are torturing the family that is looking. His brother is beside himself. I pray he is OK and I hope if some do-gooder has him...will let him go. Some people think they are doing the right thing by keeping them. Well, if there are signs of abuse yes, but otherwise, NO..he is missed horribly. I can't think of anything but him and if I'm not working on getting him back I'm in a deep depression. Not all animals without a chip etc. are in need of possession. He has a whole family and a brother that miss him deeply. I just don't know what to do but as the old saying goes "If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it is for you"
Billie 49 on May 31, 2016:
One thing you might try is similar to hunting AND familiar to your cat : when you go out looking and call you may be moving too fadt. A lot of cats will sit in hiding (that survival mode ) but if you call him a few times the sit down on the curb or edge of the yard and just be quiet. Wait at least 15 minutes before moving......if your cat is nearby, and you are sitting quiet he might use that time to shift out of his hiding place and use you to protect him. It's worked enough times for me.....remember though, if you're quiet enough a different lost cat may move up to you! (Happened once to me and I remembered the. Lost cat poster...called them and enjoyed watching them reunited. He was 6 streets over, lost for 3 weeks! The quiet concept decided I might be friendly) but back to my idea...since I use f the quiet posture I started going out at night , sitting still and my cats will come over for a scratching and some share time...... and get acclimated to coming to me in the process. As with anything on the web your milage may vary
Caroline on October 17, 2015:
our cat has been missing for 7 days we're really worried. I'm going to try the cat food idea it sounds good. But not holding out too much hope, there are so many cats and foxes in our area that I'm sure one of them will get to it before he does I really hope he turns up, thx for the advice
Kitty on September 07, 2015:
I lost my cat (he's an indoor cat) a few days ago. He is an indoor cat and has bladder problems. I was worried sick. My stepdaughter send me a pin linking to this blog. Your post give me a lot of hope and last night I put out his little bowl with his food. This morning it was gone and when I called for him, he was calling back. 10 minutes later, he was back. He was hiding in our neighbour's garden and we haven't heard from or seen him for days until now. I am so happy and so grateful for this post! Thank you so much!
Amanda on February 17, 2015:
I lost my cat 5 days ago. He is 7 months old and he is not neutered. I don't even know how he escaped, I suspect he jumped from our balcony that is at the first floor. I have been searching for him, calling his name, putting up posters in the neighbour and nothing yet. What worries me is that when i got him home he was 2 months old, a stray little kitten that was meowing for days outside my house for me to pet him, he even found a way to climb outside my window at 4am and meow like crazy so that i would go out! He has never left the house since and has only been to the front yard. I can't understand how a cat that meows all the time and wants hugs all the time escapes and stays away for almost a week :S I am so worried that something has happened to him but he is a very smart cat and i try not to lose hope..I hope he just wants to mate but I don't know if it's mating season as I haven't heard any other cats :S
ctyson27 on August 07, 2014:
Thank you for giving me hope. I was almost at the point of giving up like why bother searching anymore. Our family indoor cat got out 2 weeks ago . We grieved. We searched. We put up flyers and posted on Facebook and several animal rescue sites . This weekend we are getting a group together ad going searching asking door to door farther then we ever. Have .
williamslaw on May 14, 2014:
Thanks for sharing all the information. I needed this.
Fay Favored from USA on May 01, 2014:
Have found several throughout the years. It's great when you can hook them up with their families again, but that doesn't always happen. Thanks to ColonelAntilles for the info below. BTW found this on Pinterest :)
Wedge Antilles from Mount Vernon, WA on April 24, 2014:
Here in the US, there is an organization called HomeAgain - www,homeagain.com, 888.HOMEAGAIN (Always looking for your pet). When my roommate and I adopted our cats from the MSPCA, we received a complimentary one year subscription and it costs $17-19 USD/year. The subscription includes keeping your current address and phone number on file as well as each individual cat's microchip number thereby making it much easier for you cat to be returned home if he/she is found and turned into Animal Control, the SPCA, Human Society or a vet as all of these resources are required to scan every lost animal that they find or is brought into them for a microchip. The microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice and it is injected/placed just under the skin between the cat's shoulder blades.You also receive a tag with with your animal's name, whether they are spayed, neutered or intact, sex and your home address and contact number so that anyone who finds your missing pet can contact you. YOu also receive a card that you can keep in your wallet that contains the above information as well as their birthdate - if known or a rough approximation - breed and color(s)/coloring, their microchip number and their vet's info - name of the vet's practice, the vet's name, the address and phone number of the vet. Even if your pet is a strictly indoor animal, having them microchipped (chipped) is always a good idea because you never know if your cat might be separated from you in an accident, emergency or disaster. Also make sure that your cat has their most current vaccine tags on their collar as well as this will also help in getting you and your 'baby' reunited.
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
maryprettygirl on April 23, 2014:
If you have lost your cat then every ten or even five minutes open the door and call for his or her name as soon as possible or else he will get lost and more far away and will not hear you. Yell loud and hard so your cat can hear you even if you or your cat is far away. When you are done yelling or shouting your cat's name go back to whatever you're doing and as I said come back at least ten or five minutes later. Comment me if this strategy works and you find your cat or kitten.-By Mary Shadbegian. email@example.com
mcargv956 on March 25, 2014:
My cat has been missing for two days. We live on a ranch and there arent any houses near by. Today I went out hiking in the woods to search for him as he tends to follow me sometimes, but always follows back. Hoping to see him tomorrow morning :)
Charl1102 on March 25, 2014:
My cat has been missing since Saturday 15th March. Every evening im out looking for him. Our neighbor hood is covered in posters and iv hand delivered about 200 flyers. Facebook has been a great tool as i have a group and there and many people in my area who I have never met have joined and are spreading the work. After reading this i feel alot more positive we may see him again. He is very loved and i know everyone thinks it but he is the best cat ever. Thanks for this article as I was starting to give up hope but im going to remain positive.
Stephanie from Canada on March 24, 2014:
Thankfully we've never lost a cat for more than a half hour or so. Our cats are indoor cats but are aloud out in the backyard when we're home to keep an eye out. We've had a few who like to escape through cracks in the fence, though. We actually had a harder time with our dog (a little Yorkie) and had to search the neighborhood a few times for her! I feel for people who have had a missing cat. These are great tips! I'm not sure if you put this in here and I missed it, but it's also a good idea to call a local shelter in case your cat was turned in there. Most people probably do that, anyway. You can also call a shelter in nearby towns just in case they somehow wandered really far. We heard of a family who lived an hour away and somehow their dog made it to our local shelter. We're not sure if they were visiting town with their dog and he got lost or he just somehow got here...but you never know.
teryn0710 on March 11, 2014:
YEAH^^ I found my cat on the 20th day. She has been hiding and a neighbour spotted her hideout and notified us. I was too worried that she'll die of thirst or hunger, she was dehydrated and lost much weight when we found her. Super happy to find her back. Yup, putting up notices is still the best way I guess.
kimberley-freeman-9482 on March 09, 2014:
@carmensomersetbrock: Scattering litter is a myth and can actually invite other cats into your territory who will fight with your cat or chase her further away. Anyone with a lost cat should Please! read my instant search guide so you have a better chance of searching the right way and finding your cat!Lost Cat Rescuewww.LostCatFinder.com
kimberley-freeman-9482 on March 09, 2014:
@teryn0710: I hope you found her by now, but for others--please know--You should not put food out when you have a lost cat! I do Lost Cat Search & Rescue every day and this is the number one mistake people make!Kim FreemanLost Cat Recoverywww.LostCatFinder.com
teryn0710 on February 24, 2014:
I lost my cat for almost 20 days... HELP. I tried placing food outside my house, but nothing.... treats, cat food, catnips... no sight of her. I wanna be hopeful but the entire apartment is quiet and... have combed the block many times. She has always been a house cat will she still be able to find her way back? :(
RuthieDenise on February 06, 2014:
No, I haven't lost a cat. I have had a couple of them that liked to wander off but always come back. Very good lens.
horsemad544 on January 07, 2014:
My cat has gone missing for the second time now. She is a skittish cat which makes me worry because if somebody tries to pick her up she might run away. The first time it seemed as if she couldn't find her way back because I found her just outside the complex. She ran away because I had just gotten a new kitten. This time she just disappeared but I'm keeping my hopes up its been 4 days now but thanks so much for the tips.
ruoyun-zhang-3 on November 09, 2013:
Hope and pray my a year old kitty for a safe returnT_T Dont give up!!!
carmensomersetbrock on October 01, 2013:
My cat has been missing for 9 days now, I am not giving up. This website gives me hope.I have also heard about scattering their used little tray in various directions to try and give them a scent to follow, if they are lost and confused.
anwar-udzir on September 15, 2013:
My 10 year old indoor female cat has gone missing for ten days now. Last month she didn't come for two days. Your article gives me hopes. Thank you.
M E Derby on September 13, 2013:
So sweet. I was on vacation when my son emailed that the cat was missing. I was heartbroken, I tried to book a flight home, but fortunately my son found out he was at the animal shelter. Nice lens,
mathew31 on August 13, 2013:
Nice idea for a lens!
123enter on August 10, 2013:
My cat slipped out the door that my nephew left open while we were on a mini vacation at a resort yesterday morning. Unfortunately we had to come home and leave without her but we have a live trap set up and staff checking the area for her... We're also heading back tomorrow and Monday. Certainly not giving up hope but it's so hard to imagine a positive outcome from this. She's in an unfamiliar place, and she's probably terrified. My only hope is that she hasn't wandered and that she will stick close to the cabin we were in. I dumped out her kitty litter fairly close to it in the bushes and we have food and water set up for her so hopefully she'll follow that scent and stay close by... I'm absolutely beside myself with worry.
icansurpriseu lm on August 09, 2013:
Great advice! my cat had been missing for almost 12 hours... i was desperate for a solution, i knew cats wander only 5 house radius and i took a flashlight in the night to look for him even called for him but i did not find. i found this lens as i was looking for a solution..Luckily my cat showed up from the open window i left open.. I am happy that he is back and i know what to do in the future if he is missing again, thanks to you!
nikkie-coates on July 22, 2013:
My baby boy Benny has been missing since Thursday 13/6/13 from Harold Hill Essex.... He is a Micro chipped, neutered Bengal of 16 months. I have put up Posters, leafleted over 350 homes and got local Newsagents to put up posters....I have found parts of my area I didn't know existed while searching!! I last saw him at 6.30am that day - I have been told of a cat being hit by a car 2 hours later that same day, but the council assure me that wasn't him!! My 2 year old Burmese is missing him madly.... Please Help... Any info please call 07986861067.... Thanks!
cas-lynn on July 11, 2013:
My cat ran away on the Fourth of July. This really helps me understand more as to why he is not home yet. We put up fliers the next day and sure enough we finally got a phone call from someone 6 days after he went missing. He told us they have seen him around and that they're trying to get him for us. Sure enough he has been a few streets down from our house. And the next morning we went to try to get him. We had his food out and we sat in the car waiting for him to go for the food. Once we saw him we called for him and instead of coming right to me , he ran away. And I was confused and scared what was wrong. But reading this have me a better understanding of how cats are. And I am confident we can get him. We are trying again tonight and will do the salmon thing... My advice is that determining on how your cat got out and why will most likely determine how far he has gone.
nikki1979 on July 11, 2013:
We have only had are Cat for a few days.. We wanted to settle her in before we took her to Vets to have her checked out and Micro-chipped.. The previous owner was quick to get rid of her. So I can`t imagine the had her neutered.. She is a house cat, and we live on a busy road. I contacted our local council, and luckily she had not been picked up by the Highway control.. I have contacted my local newspaper, the Radio Station, all the vets in and out of my area, Cats protection, RSPCA. PDSA, and the Cats & Dogs homes near us.. If you live in Plymouth? and in the Devonport area and had see a petite long haired black cat with a green collar with a bell?? Could you contact Nikki on 07446498239.. I would be extremely grateful..
Shells12 on June 29, 2013:
We lost our 10 year old female indoor cat she has never been outside and never been away from her brother cat for more then an hour. We moved almost one month ago and went away last weekend to come home and find out she was gone. We think she got out when furniture was being delivered with my mom home. Please help looked every where the pound neighbors posted signs put out cat food. Could an indoor cat ever make it outside? Please any advice would help we miss her so much and her brother kitty cries for her every night!
star4soccer26 on June 27, 2013:
hello i have recently had 2 female cats go missing with 6 kittens the kitten were born april 12th of this year and the two cats are about one - two years old they have been missing for about 2 1/2 weeks now i have looked for them around the town i live and near by towns also but there has been no signs of them anywhere i think the cats were going into heat so could they be going to find them a mate and would they have taken the kittens with them? please help me!
pradip-chowdhury2 on May 13, 2013:
I live in Kolkata, India. I have a pet female kitten. She wandered off for three days some time ago. When she returned at midnight she was ravenously hungry. What I did not know was that she was pregnant. After some time she delivered a single dead kitten. I nursed her back to health and subsequently she did not veture out at all. There are a dozen cats at home. The other cats, whether male or female, can't tolerate her because she keeps aloof and beat her up if they get an opportunity. Therefore I was all the more careful. She became her normal playful self. But very recently she was again in heat and began calling out for mates which attracted the other male cats at home. But she would run away from them. Then she began wandering off at night and returning in the early morning. She has now been gone for seven days now and I'm extremely worried. She has not responded to my calls.
roseysheikh2 on May 04, 2013:
my cat is missing and she is so friendly and has 4 kittens of 8-9 days she is missing for 30 hours and when i call her she did not reply me i am worried about her 4 kittens
lingolux on April 26, 2013:
great advice on how to get your cat back if its lost!i lost mine once but we found it living with an old lady down the road! We visited regularly but she had decided the old lady's house was her new home!
kimberley-freeman-948 on April 25, 2013:
@Louise0711: I agree--cats are so much happier when they can go out--they get so BORED indoors--must feel like a prison to them after a week! How would we feel if we could never leave our house?
Lori Green from Las Vegas on April 25, 2013:
My cat is missing around 4 months now. We miss him so much. I never stop looking.
TanoCalvenoa on April 18, 2013:
I've lost cats a few times, once we never saw him again and concluded he was taken by a dog or a coyote. Your tips here are excellent, a few I never thought of before.
Vikk Simmons from Houston on March 24, 2013:
I had my Siamese cat for 21 years and I still remember when we couldn't find her for 3 days. I was sure I'd lost her but she was somewhere hiding i the house despite repeated efforts to find her. I finally found her in the closet. She must have been tucked in a jacket sleeve or something. :)_
Nandini23 on March 22, 2013:
Update, I found my baby. It was amazing a little stray cat that I had been feeding led me straight to him. She actually ran in front of me when I came out to look for him and kept running in-front to make sure that I was following and when she reached his hiding spot (he was hiding in the bushes) she stopped and meowed and then my cat meowed too. This little cat was simply amazing, I am going to try to adopt her. But the advice on here was awesome, I bought strong flashlights to look in the bushes and went out after 12am when everything was silent, kept calling out his name.
Nandini23 on March 21, 2013:
@Dom_0505: awesome, I hope my baby comes back too.
Nandini23 on March 21, 2013:
My cat went missing last night. I have put up posters and even "walked" with his brother cat to find him. Thank you for this post, it gives me hope and I have used all of your strategies. I hope he comes home soon, this is the fist time her has gone missing for the entire night.
CyberPappy on March 20, 2013:
One of our cats went missing for over a week. Turned out she'd wandered into a neighbor's garage before they left on vacation. Nice lens.
anonymous on March 20, 2013:
The cat is cute, l like it, i would look for it if i lost it.
AnimalHouse on March 18, 2013:
Yes, indeed! Thinking positively would really help! I like what you have done here. Great job.
alina nicoleta92 on March 17, 2013:
Fortunately not because I don't own a pet but I would like to have a cute kitty.
cherchar on March 12, 2013:
I lost a cat she never came home. It was the most devastating heartbreak I ever experienced.
laila71456 on February 28, 2013:
I got my daughter a cat..back in November 2011. He is an indoor-outdoor cat. We stay in a rural area and we are used to him coming in and out all day and even at night. He usually stays out all night and come home early in the morning like 5 or 6 am. Even when he stays in all night he wakes up someone with all the meowing. He isn't neutered and there are female cats around, so I know what he does. It is one girl cat that always hang around here and they kick it with one another. Maybe over a week and a half ago, he left and hasn't come back, no one has seen him at all. He has never stayed gone this long. Usually if I hadn't seen him in like 2 days or so, he WOULD come and get something to eat and leave again, but never this long. There are a lot of strays around here and he is the healthiest one with a home. Everyone knows my cat because he is the only "gray" cat around this area. I have asked some people and they tell me the same thing, that they haven't been seeing him either. I seen the little girl cat that he would be kicking it with, she was walking by my house and she meowed and ran up under my house and come out the other side and I went hurried up and went opened up the back door to see if my cat was around and she ran off from under my house fast and looked back. Like she was giving me a message or something. I have been thinking the worst...I really don't know what to do anymore.? Should I just give up?
Dom_0505 on February 26, 2013:
Good news, my little boy is back home now :) He was trapped in somebody's green house not far away from our house. I put up some posters this morning and put little photos of him through letter box in all houses in our area. I wrote under the photo to check garages and sheds as he might be locked in. I then got a phone call this evening from a lady, who saw this photo and went to check her green house and he was there :) He was a bit scared but is ok now. He was missing "only" 36 hours but it was the worst feeling I've ever had. Remember, don't give up!
WordChipper on February 26, 2013:
Losing a family member is always very sad. Great lens - thanks for sharing
Dom_0505 on February 26, 2013:
My cat went out yesterday morning and hasn't come back yet. He normally goes out for a couple of hours and comes back straight away. I didn't sleep all night trying to find him but no luck. I put up some posters and knock neraly every house in the nieghbourhood. I'm really scarred that something bad happened to him. He's never stayd out overnight :( I will try to put some food out for him tonight, maybe he'll come back. How do you cope with the stress? He's my little boy and I can't even imagine that he wouldn't come back.
agagata lm on February 25, 2013:
These are very useful tips. My cat slipped out not long ago during one of the coldest days this winter. I realised she was missing in the evening (my cats are hardly visible when the kids are up ;) I've printed out little posters and put them through the letterboxes in all the neighbouring houses (over a 100!) and then I walked around calling her name... and then... as it was freezing... I drove around the neighbourhood for an hour. I almost lost hope and thought she wouldn't survive (she's a tiny Burmese) but then, I decided to go through the back lanes one last time and I noticed her glaring eyes under one of the cars. I had to crawl underneath it to get her out she was so scared.. Fortunately, she has lost interest in the outside world now ;)
suepogson on February 16, 2013:
Thank you - these are really useful tips. If ever my Billy gets up the energy to leave the area I'll follow your advice- especially regarding the probably radius. Glad gerisly's cat came home!
suepogson on February 16, 2013:
@gerisly: Hurrah! You must be so relieved!
GeekGirl1 on February 16, 2013:
Very practical steps for finding a lost cat. Thank you.
mlammy on February 14, 2013:
@gerisly: Great News !!!
gerisly on February 13, 2013:
@gerisly: Hi my cat came home om 2/2/13,shes ok thank god.thanks to all for ur support.
mlammy on February 06, 2013:
@paul-clark-9678: there are so many tips out there, please read them and follow them. Don't worry about your cat, he will come home. Most likely hiding somewhere. go out at night and shake some treats or hit a can of food with a spoon. print flyers and post them on telephone poles. call vets in area and animal shelters. Hope you find your little boy !!
paul-clark-9678 on February 06, 2013:
Our cat is mainly an indoor cat, but will spend maybe an hour or two outside each day.. on Sunday (3rd Feb) he went out at about 7.00pm and when we went to let him back in as normal he wasn't there! Its now Wednesday 7th and still no sign of him. He never goes far normally, never more than 30 meters of our house.He is wearing his collar with out telephone number on, but nobody has called. Ive checked the roads around us and thankfully no roadkill! Ive put flyers through the doors of every house in our street. So far we had one text from someone who thought they saw him but when we visited the area they said we couldnt see him. Im hoping he is just lost and will eventually turn up. Hopefully nobody has taken him in as their own as he was wearing his collar! Im also hoping he hasnt ran away as we have just had a baby and I think he was feeling a bit put out as he hasnt had much attention the past couple of weeks (its our first child - its taken time to adjust!)Anyone got any tips?
gerisly on February 03, 2013:
Hi all my cat came home at the early hrs of Sat morn on 2/2/13.She`s ok lost a bit of weight due to stress,I know someone was gonna keep her but then had second thoughts cos her coat was so clean and i got a txt on sat eve saying where she was but who sent the txt dint know she`d come home...what ever shes home now and is grounded til shes 100,thanks to all who helped look for her xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
wyzeguru on February 03, 2013:
We lost our cat but it had climbed in the back of our car and got locked in. Poor little thing was really cold but we found the little guy in the end!
RuthieDenise on February 02, 2013:
I haven't lost a cat thank goodness. But this is very good information.
gerisly on January 30, 2013:
@oxxiiikry: aww lv i know exactlly how you feel,im in the same position.iv had my cat for all the 13yrs she`s been alive.i too cant stop crying and ur right a lot of ppl dont understand..i wish with all my heart that he`s back with you soon...lv and warm fluffy cuddles to you xxxx
gerisly on January 30, 2013:
My cat went missing on tues 22/1/13 there was snow on the ground.I let all the 3 of my cats out on mon 21/1/13 and they all shot back in after 5mins.They`d been cooped up in the house cos of bad weather,so i did the same the next night but only 2 came in.They never go far.My cat is still missing shes a ginger and white tort,iv had her since she was a little kitten..shes 13yrs now.She never goes far so i thought it would be ok.Iv done every thing to find her but theres no news yet.She was seen 5mins away but when i got there she was no where to be seen.I know at the time the snow will have made it hard for her to smell her scent to come home.Iv done the same thing time and time again over the yrs...and i feel so guilty,i should have let her out...im heart broke xx
missBorokwa on January 28, 2013:
very good lens,cats often go missing for long periods of time (days,weeks) and its a terrible time for the owner. my cats often went missing but came back. neutering and spaying help to stop straying a bit. Thanks for sharing!:)
kimberley-freeman-948 on January 23, 2013:
@LisaNowatzki: Please share how you found him and where!
kimberley-freeman-948 on January 23, 2013:
@ChuckDickens: How did you find Bob and where was he? Please share to help others in their search!
ChuckDickens on January 22, 2013:
My cat Bob escaped out the front door last night without me knowing... he's black and it was dark out. I found him some hours later shivering and mewing. It's a horrid feeling when you tear the house apart and can't find them anywhere.Thanks for sharing these useful ways to try and get a cat friend back home safe :)
LisaNowatzki on January 14, 2013:
I have, but I have a happy ending. We found him quickly. What a horrible experience.
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on January 14, 2013:
Losing your cat is indeed heart wrenching. We moved and my old cat disappeared. I was terrified that she had got away while we were bringing in the furniture. I walked the streets calling her for two days without a response. Then while doing laundry in the basement I heard a meow in the wall. She had found a hole and crawled into one of the basement walls. I almost cried with relief.
safa-saghir on January 12, 2013:
SIR my cat is lost from two days I am finding him from and following your tips please tell me more how can i find him
oxxiiikry on January 09, 2013:
My cat went missing on Monday the 31st of December. Yesterday I noticed that I haven't seen him in a couple days but I thought it was because I was on a trip away for new years for a few days and after that, maybe my mom and dad have been letting him in and out of the house... He is an indoor/outdoor cat, every time he would go outside he would always come home at least the next day... My dad doesn't like him inside the house so when my dad is home (which is not a lot because hes a truck driver) he only lets him inside to eat and then takes him out to the patio... well yesterday my dad left on his trip and today I woke up at 4 am and couldn't fall back asleep and randomly thought of the cat and got excited that he can be in the house as much as he wants again, so I went outside and called and called and called for him but he never came. An hour later I woke my little brother up and asked him if he has seen him lately and he said last time he seen him was NYE, I called my dad and he said he had seen him 5 days ago which is still a very long time and unlike him to be gone that long. I can't stop crying over him. He's the only pet I've ever had and I've had him since he was a few weeks old almost 5 years ago... (found him alone and helpless in our backyard) Its almost 2 am right now as I'm writing this and I have to be up for work in 4 hours... I don't know what to do.. my whole family is taking it to lightly too, its like no one wants to help...my friends don't get it either, i try to vent and they just tell me to calm down because hes "just a cat"... I just want my baby back. : ' ((( I posted ads online... does it matter how long the cat may be gone for if he is an indoor/outdoor cat? hes outside a lot so he wandered all over the place already... and is there any other way besides leaving food outside to try to get him back? (i find my neighbors cats in my patio all the time... so leaving food might be pointless because they are just going to eat it all)
aboutkitchenrev on January 08, 2013:
Hi I have 2 indoor cats and a couple of times, Ginger just likes to do her own thing and can't find her for an hour plus. When all else fails, I grab the treat bag, shake it around and the next thing I know - she's right beside me. Our feline pets are special.
SharingGreatStuff on January 08, 2013:
Yes, I've lost one of cat some years back and it was really devastating. I've tried almost all the tips you have given above but I still could not find him in the end. It still hurt whenever I think of him and somehow could not imagine what could possibly have happen to him.
tylor-makizuru on January 02, 2013:
Me and my girl friend lost our cat 2 days ago right before New Years. He must have slipped out while we weren't looking. We didn't realize he was missing till the next day I'm assuming he was gone for at least 12hrs since any one last saw him. We checked our whole apt looking through our closet drawers behind our washing machine everywhere inside any were a cat might hide. He was no were to be found from there on we started looking around our complex up and down under dumpsters,cars,bushes.tress, we must have made at least 5 full rounds around our complex that day. We hoped to have found him by nightfall for fear of the fireworks that were going to be set off from New Years fire works. We were afraid he might go further away from the loud noises. After the fire works noise stopped I personally looked around to listen if I could hear him meowing. I had no luck but I didn't give up hope I went online that night looking for tips if there was anything I could do that I wasn't doing to help find him find his way home. There were a lot of inspirational stories out there and people who felt as hopeless as I did but never gave up. It helped a lot. My advice "The way you lose hope is when you decide to give up." i then proceeded to use some of the tips I learned an put treats out at the door,patio,and by our window,an a couple of used shirts for scent jus in case he was close enough and couldn't find his home. We didn't have much luck. My girlfriend and I shredded a couple of tears together and brain stormed what we could. We drove a 1 mile radius around our neighborhood very slowly stopping at areas we thought he might be. My girlfriend was embarrassed she didn't want people thinking we were criminals walking around looking under cars an such. I told her as long as keep calling him an I have these bag of treat in hand"shaking it" we should be fine I didn't want to leave any stone unturned and thinking later if we never found him maybe I should have called louder or looked under that car for fear what other people might think. I say do it. at least you know you did the best of your abilities to find him. We then walked around our complex at least 5 times searching the same spots same bushes same cars over an over again.that we looked before with no sign of him. We then called it a night an my girl friend went inside I on the other hand took my dog out to use the bathroom an decide to walk jus down the street jus hoping to gets glimpse of something anything. I must have been 4 apartment buildings down from the corner of my eye I saw something bolt it looked like a hare we have a lot of them here. But decided to check it out any way. As I got. Closer i realized it was our cat he was frightened out of his mind an didn't respond to his name in fear of him running I didn't move fast to him even though my heart was racing an wanting me to run to him an grab him. I slowly reached my hand out so he could sniff me an once I was able to get a good grip on him I did. Took him home my girlfriend was ecstatic. My advice never give up hope even when all hope seems lost Look.Look,Look around even if its the same spots. Cats move around and are great hiders you might not have seen him the first time or the second or third time but he's out there some were. You jus need to find him. I hope this helps people out there who have lost there cats an are still looking. Don't give up we found our cat he is now sound asleep in his bed. It been 2hrs since we found him. Thank you all for posting your experiences an things you faced when looking for your cat. It gave me HOPE..
Sandragoras on December 29, 2012:
Hello. I am writing from Mexico City.Yesterday morning, my cat Benito (a 5 year old neutered large size tomcat) went for a walk and he didn't comeback but 24 hours later. I stayed up all night, crying and looking in internet for some advices to get him back. Benito haven't done this before and I was very scared. Luckily i found this page and followed almost all the tips. My beloved Benito is back, ditry and hungry but well. Please, keep hope. Keep looking for your kitty! It's very likely that he'll return in a while. Thanks for all the good info, i know that it helped Benito to find his way back home.
bushra-imtiaz-33 on December 24, 2012:
My cat climbed up to our roof yesterday night and now there is no sign of her anywhere. she's about two years. I m extremely worried. last time she climbed to different house's roofs and loudly meowed and was trying to jump to our house and I went to our neighbors at 3 am and saved her. This time it's totally different, I don't see her any where and people here will leave no such chance and take her with them. Local children have no idea where she is. I don't know what to do!!! I m very worried and I have also cried for my little baby. What do i do??? She's not on the roof or any where in the streets!
mlammy on December 18, 2012:
for anyone with a smartphone i.e Android, IPhone, Friskies makes an app that calls your cat based on different sounds. canned food opening, dry food bag shaking, treats bag shaking, cat meows, bird tweets, bell. walking the neighborhood late at night playing this app on your phone may get your kitty home. carrying a bag of food or tapping a can with a spoon may also work. Its better at night so there's not a lot of background noise. Hope this helps.