Cats, like humans, usually have a daily routine that they follow. Sometimes this routine is broken for some reason and a cat may ‘disappear’. Often the cat will return to its home after a short period of time and re-establish its daily routine, but occasionally it does not.
Some cats seek an alternative environment if things aren’t to their liking in their own home. Bringing a new pet into your home such as a kitten, dog or another cat can cause stress to your cat. Even the introduction of a baby to the household or building work can unsettle your cat.
Cats are also far more likely to roam if they haven’t been spayed or castrated so it is wise to have them neutered by around 5 months of age.
What to do if you have lost a cat
Although it is a very worrying time try not to panic, as a rule the majority of cats will not wander very far (although there are obviously exceptions to the rule!). House cats especially will be very wary of the great outdoors so won’t usually go a long distance.
Make sure you have checked everywhere you can possibly think of inside your house as well as any outbuildings you may have. Also have a good look around the garden, under hedges and bushes especially. Put leaflets through doors in all the neighbouring houses including adjacent roads and ask people to check their gardens, garages and sheds. Ask your local postman to keep a look out for your cat. See if the local shops and veterinary clinics will let you put up a poster with your cat’s details.
Walk the streets calling for your cat; maybe take a box of their favourite biscuits to rattle if that’s what they are used to (it may be quieter early evening so you can also listen out for him/her).
Check vacant houses or houses where building work has been going on, it has been known for many a cat to venture in unnoticed and be locked in!
Your cat may have become disorientated for a number of reasons so putting out familiar smells and objects may help it to find its way back home. You could try putting out familiar food, a familiar toy, and an item of unwashed clothing with a home smell such as perfume on it. Scents can be picked up over a fair distance – emptying the contents of your vacuum cleaner onto the garden could also prove effective, as well as leaving your cat’s litter tray outside – all are worth a try!
Contact all the local veterinary practices and animal rescue centres to see if they have a reported ‘found’ cat fitting the description of your cat. Organisations that may be able to help reunite you with your cat are detailed below. Leave details of your cat including your contact details with them in case someone reports your cat as a stray. Don’t be afraid to call on a daily basis, you may speak to different members of staff who aren’t aware of your original reporting.
If your cat has a microchip, then you should also inform Petlog by telephone on 0844 4633999 or via the Internet at www.petlog.org.uk
You could also contact the local radio station & local newspapers.
As a last resort you may want to contact environmental health to see if they have had to collect any cats on their rounds. Unfortunately they don’t have the facility to scan pets for a microchip but should have information if they have found an injured pet.
What to do if you have found a cat
Firstly, try not to assume that a cat is a stray just because it is not wearing a collar – it could just be exploring new territory or be new to the area.
Try to find out whom the cat belongs to – ask around the neighbours, the local shop and your postman to see if they have seen it around before.
Contact all the local veterinary practices, animal shelters and re-homing centres to see if they have a reported lost cat fitting the same description. Organisations that may be able to help to reunite the cat with its owner are detailed below.
If the cat is friendly & approachable put a paper collar on it (assuming it will let you!) with your contact details on so the owner can contact you if it does find its way home.
Contact your local veterinary clinic to arrange to take the cat in to be examined and scanned to see if it has a microchip implanted. If the cat is microchipped then the clinic should be able to trace the cat’s owner.
Organisations that may be able to help you
The following animal shelters are local to the Southport area and may be able to help you: