10 Steps to Find an Escaped Cat

10 Steps to Find an Escaped Cat - A Hassan.- find an escaped cat

A cat escaping is a devastating and dangerous event which requires some immediate action. Depending on the situation, it is best to inform local shelters, neighbours, and any affiliated organizations in case the cat is a foster pet. Furthermore, here are 10 steps to find an escaped cat.

1. Thoroughly Search Your Home

There are many instances of owners believing that their cat has escaped and launching a full scale search, only to find the cat once they return home. Cats are prone to finding small dark places to sleep or hide in and you should always conduct a deep search of your home before sounding the alarm.

This can extend out to balconies, rooftops, stairwells, alleys, and any other immediate area of your home. After you have confirmed that the cat is missing from the immediate premises, its time to begin a large scale search. This should begin with the immediate area outside of your home and you should include as many people as possible who the cat might recognize. 

2. Coax Them Back

If you venture out of your home and the cat is in your immediate sight, follow them but do not run or make any loud noises. They might be overwhelmed and want to hide or look to you for comfort. If this happens, immediately kneel down, stretch out your hand, and call to the cat.  In these cases, your cat might come back to you.

If the cat goes into hiding and is visible but out of reach, you can return home to grab some smelly food or toys and use them to coax the cat out. As much as possible try to lure your cat back to your or your home instead of trying to make a grab for them. If the cat is new to you and the environment, they can easily get spooked and take off.

10 Steps to Find an Escaped Cat - A Hassan.- find an escaped cat
10 Steps to Find an Escaped Cat - A Hassan.- find an escaped cat

3. Individual Searches

For any members involved in the search, wear an old shirt and an old pair of shoes, and walk around your immediate area while calling out. You can also try shaking a treat bag, playing cat sounds or anything else that might attract their attention. 

If the cat doesn’t show up, place the shoes near your home and hang up the shirt so that it can blow in the wind. The scent from these items can help guide your cat home. Putting their litter box or smelly cat food outside can be similarly helpful.

4. Group Search

Arrange a search party with neighbours and friends. The best time to search for your cat is in the evening and very late at night. During this time, the lack of activity and noise make it more likely for them to be out and about. Have searchers carry flashlights, carry smelly food, make noise with the cat’s food (ex. opening canned food, or shaking a treat bag) and using any other tactics that may draw the cats attention. 

At any point if the cat is spotted, begin Step 2 to coax them to you or back home.

5. Set Up Cat "Trap"

Cut a hole in the side of a cardboard box and place smelly cat food and water inside. You can also fill it with blankets or shirts that carry your scent. Place the box near your home in a partially secluded and sheltered area. 

An alternative to this is setting up a real cat trap with the same items if you have access to one. Sometimes local shelters or rescue groups may be willing to lend a trap so be sure to call and check for this.

6. Notify As Many People As Possible

Do door to door visits in your neighbourhood to inform people about the situation. You can hand out pictures and flyers to them as well. 

Contact shelters and animal services in the area so that they can know to look out for a cat matching your pet’s description. If your cat is chipped, make sure to inform them of this.

10 Steps to Find an Escaped Cat - A Hassan.- find an escaped cat
10 Steps to Find an Escaped Cat - A Hassan.- find an escaped cat

7. Night Duty

Prepare yourself for a few long nights. Cats are active at night and many cat owners report that cats tend to return in the hours between sunset and sunrise. Keep the front door open or sleep near it so that you can hear your cat if they return. 

These are also the best times to engage in continues searches since your cat might feel safer to walk around in the absence of daytime traffic. 

8. Fliers and Newspaper Ads

Post fliers throughout the neighbourhood, both outdoors (on trees, walls, bus stops etc) and indoors (libraries, grocery and convenience stores, vets etc). Included a full body shot of your cat, their name, general description, possibly a reward, and how to contact you if the cat is found. If possible, post a similar ad in the local newspaper. You can also post on social media if there is a page that may be of help. 

9. Don't Lose Hope

Stay calm and continue your efforts for as long as possible. Cats have been known to return after long periods of time so don’t lose hope.  

10. Prevention

The best solution for an escape, is prevention. After bringing a new cat home, if it hasn’t already been done, microchip your cat as soon as possible. This is a service offered by many vets and shelters and it is a safe way to recover your cat. It is best to get the cat microchipped locally because the scanning devices used in your neighbourhood are more likely to be compatible with the chip. Since not not all shelters and vets have the universal chip scanner, this will improve the chances of the chip being detected when scanned.

Furthermore, always take steps to cat proof and escape proof your home before take in a new animal. For some tips on how to do this, please read this post.

Lastly, a good rule of thumb is to always visually confirm where your cat is before leaving and after returning to your home.


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