Losing your cat can be one of the most traumatic experiences you’ll ever face as a cat owner. The moment you realize that they are gone is a scary moment. It’s important not to panic. In most cases you’ll be reunited with your cat in a few hours. Unfortunately however, we’ve seen too many cases where a few hours can become a few years. Should you lose your cat you can follow these six steps to ensure you’ll be reunited with your pet as soon and as safely as possible….
1. ID your Pet – we can’t tell you how many great stories there have been of pet reunions with owners because the pet was microchipped. The first thing you should do when you buy your pet is to ID it in some way. But remember microchipping is only as good as the information you provide. So make sure you have a name and current phone number with the company you use. Also, ALWAYS remember to keep it current in case you move or change numbers.
2. Begin a Search by last known appearances – if you’ve unfortunately lost your pet then it’s time to begin a search. The best way to start is to look in all of their hiding spots. Ask family or friends where they last saw your pet. Look in your home in dark places, quiet places, behind the couch, etc etc. If you don’t locate your cat in the confines of your home take a ride around the neighborhood and look in places you know your cat has been before.
3. Get on the Phone – if your efforts around the neighborhood and home don’t yield much it’s time to get on the phone and call the appropriate parties. Call animal control and local shelters first. You never know because your cat may very well be in their custody. They will eventually call other authorities on your behalf to help in finding your cat.
4. Start creating flyers – if your cat isn’t at a shelter or animal control can’t fully help yet it’s time to do your own work. That means creating flyers. According to the ASPCA this is how your flyer should go:
Stick with one design, as repeated viewings of a consistent message are more likely to stick in people’s minds. You’ll need to include a lot of info on your flyer, so use your limited space wisely:
– Start with a big, bold headline that people can read from a distance: “LOST DOG” or “MISSING CAT” is fine.
– Under the headline, a photo of your pet would be ideal. Make sure he’s still well-represented after the picture’s been photocopied or printed. List his breed, sex, color, age, weight, distinguishing features, and where and when he was last seen. It is very important that your pet is described accurately.
– Provide your name and two phone numbers; yours, of course, and a friend or family member’s in case you cannot be reached.
5. Hand out flyers all over the place – now it’s time to paste your neighborhood. Put the flyers on cars, in parks, at vet offices, pet supply stores, schools, laundromats, anywhere you can think of.
6. Social Media Time – Send descriptive emails about your lost pet to your local friends, colleagues and family members, and ask them to pass on the info to anyone they can. Post messages to animal forums and message boards run by groups based in your area—lots of parks and dog runs have online communities. Also, you can always set up a Facebook page for your lost pet. You’ll be amazed at the potential response you might get.