Facebook Group Assists In Efforts To Find Veteran’s Missing Cat

A Facebook group in Ohio is stepping up after a veteran posted an emotional plea to the public to aid him in finding his cat. The veteran has a cat named Pumpkin that doubles as his emotional support and pet. According to WBNS 10 TV, Pumpkin got lost in a parking lot in Pickerington. The veteran identified as Erin Anderson said that Pumpkin was unlike any other cat for he was Anderson’s lifeline. He stated that Pumpkin was his way to cope with everything. Anderson who is now a truck driver explained that Pumpkin went missing during a stop the two made in Pickerington on Memorial Day weekend in 2019. Since then the search for the cat has been underway.

Anderson who battles Post-Traumatic Disorder or PTSD stated that Pumpkin’s disappearance was a big blow to him. He hoped that Pumpkin was alive out there and stated that he was eager to be reunited with his favorite animal. A group of Ohioans heard the veteran’s story and decided to help him with his search. They formed a group on Facebook and named it “Peeps 4 Pumpkin”. The community stepped up and more than 60 people volunteered to go on searches. The volunteers handed out flyers and put up posters to help bring Pumpkin the cat home. The organizers of the search party stated that they wouldn’t rest until Pumpkin was reunited with his owner Anderson.

Statistics For Lost Pets

The American Humane Society estimates that roughly 1 out of 3 pets get lost at some point in their lives. Additionally close to 10 million pets mostly cats and dogs are reported missing every single year. Out of these numbers, only 23% are reported to be reunited with their owners. This means that close to 80% of dogs and cats are never found and between 9.4 and 9.7 million animals end up in shelters. There are discrepancies to these values however as there is no national reporting structure that exists to keep track of exact figures. With that being noted there are over 3500 animal shelters in the US. According to Peeva, approximately 7.6 million pets wind up in shelters. Of those, about 4 million are dogs and roughly 3.4, million are cats.

What Are The Chances Of Finding Your Pet If They Get Lost?

Studies estimate that only 1 to 5% of lost cats are found. This number varies however and can be disputed as it’s a clear misinterpretation of the Return-To-Owner (RTO) rates. RTO rates refer s to the number of animals returned to their owners after they are brought to a shelter. Very few cats are sadly returned to their owners once they wind up in a shelter. Other studies suggest that RTO rates range from 1.5 to 5% for lost cats. There are varying reasons for the low RTO rates such as the fact that there are very few cats with microchips or ID tags.

Other reasons include:

  • Unregistered or outdated microchips
  • Owners don’t check shelters for cats as often as they do for lost dogs
  • Minimum or non-existent stray holds for cats in many cities.
  • Most people tend to assume that a stray cat is from nearby so the case ends up unreported unless the cat is injured or sick

There is a varying difference in recovery rates for outdoor-access cats and indoor-only cats. According to Lost Pet Research, about 75% of lost indoor-only cats are usually found while only 33 % of lost outdoor -access cats are found and returned to their owners. In most cases when an indoor-only cat goes missing there is a likelihood that it is simply hiding in fear and is closer to its home. On the other hand, when an outdoor-access cat goes missing, it means that something has probably prevented the cat from getting home. Most times the cat is either trapped hiding, is injured or is dead nearby. Other times, the outdoor-access cat is displaced and lost its way far from home which makes the cat difficult to find.

Recovery Rates For Cats And Dogs

Studies suggest that most of the cats found usually return home on their own. A study by Weiss et al. conducted in 2012 found that 30% of lost cats were found in the nearby area. A similar study by Lord et al. conducted in 2007 found that 11% of lost cats were found due to the posters and fliers in the neighborhood. It is of the essence to note that the best search method is to solicit help from a professional to help in locating your pet. The studies above had low animal recovery rates and they tend to suggest that most pet owners are unfamiliar with the most effective ways to find a missing cat. Lost dogs, on the other hand, have a significant recovery rate as compared to cats. Studies found that over 70% of lost dogs were recovered. Dogs also have high Return-To-Owner rates of up to 30% if brought to a shelter.

Reasons for this include:

  • Dog owners frequently check shelters for dogs
  • Most dogs have a microchip or ID tags compared to cats
  • Most cities have an Animal Control Officer who picks up stray dogs
  • People tend to report a stray dog

40-60% of dogs were recovered by searching the neighborhood. 13-30% of lost dogs returned home n their own while 10-23% of lost dogs were found due to a microchip or ID tag. However, 5-15% were found by calling or visiting a shelter Shelters and veterinarians encourage pet owners to microchip their pets and provide their address details and cellphone numbers on the pet’s ID tag or collar to increase their chances of being reunited with their pets. Pet experts also encourage pet parents to visit shelters on the first day that their pets go missing. Additionally, the owner is encouraged to bring along a clear photo of the pet to help in identifying the pet in question and possibly hasten the search.



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