I Lost My Cat! What Should I Do?

By Fitri Hidayat

Thousands of pets get lost every day. This is why 49% of all cats are kept indoors. You can triple their life span and have a better bond with them by keeping them indoors. I know they are natural hunters, but that was in the beginning when we did not live in cities where danger triples at every turn. This is why I advocate that you keep your cats indoors.

Make sure your pet has a collar and tag. Put the words Reward, I’m lost, Indoor only, call my human on the tag along with the phone number. This way if anyone finds him they will know how to contact you.


Calm down! Stop assigning blame and take a deep breath. You are going to need all your wits about you to follow the steps to be reunited with your companion.


Check your house from top to bottom. Attics, crawl spaces, cupboards, closets, garages, drawers and basements. I have had hundreds of calls from panicked humans who can’t find their beloved Fluffy only to discover that he struts out of the back of the kitchen cupboard the next day. Be methodical and calm.

Remember, animals can pick up on your energy. If you are frantic he will be frightened to come out because of all the commotion. If he is the only pet put down bowls of food in the middle of each room and sees if they get eaten. This is a definite sign that your fur angel is still somewhere inside your house.


If your baby is outside it’s time to start the search. Sweat as much as possible and grab a blanket or towel that has your smell on it. When you walk around the neighborhood with an open can of tuna you should be an olfactory beacon for your cat. The sweat on your clothing, the blanket or towel and the tuna is an irresistible combination.

When you walk around make sure to call the kitty in a soft, loving, normal tone. Use a nickname if he has one. If you see him and he does not come to you, sit on the ground and put the tuna in front of you to coax him.

Keep calling him, be patient. After a cat has been out of his environment for a while he can go feral (survival mode) and may have trouble recognizing his human. Once he gets close enough, reach out slowly and wrap him in the blanket and towel and take him home. Remember, the tone of your voice should be sweet and enticing.


Call the Humane Society and inform them about your lost pet. Rent a humane trap and place it by the door where your pet got out. Cover the trap with clothing that has a familiar scent and put his favorite food in it. You might catch some other babies, so know how to release them from the trap.


Getting the word out is very important! This is why I encourage everyone to keep current pictures of their pets. Descriptions can be vague, but a picture speaks a thousand words.


The reward poster is an essential tool in pet recovery. Unfortunately humans are motivated by money and if they see an amount they will take extra steps to look for your missing pet. The reward poster should have the amount on the very top in BIG BOLD LETTERS that can be seen from a distance. The next thing should be a picture of your pet. The next section should read: Lost in the vicinity of (give the name of the street only) last seen on (state the date).

Give any special characteristics such as extra toes, scar, crooked tail, very shy and a clear description of the coat and breed of your companion animal. Do not put down your address, just your phone number. If the pet has a specific medical problem, list it on the flyer. If not put down “has special needs.” This is a great motivation if someone is keeping your pet. They will think to themselves that there will be vet expenses involved and will be driven to return the pet as soon as possible.

Always go to pick up the pet with someone else and do not carry cash with you. Add that the reward will be given upon the recovery of the pet.


Distribute the poster, or what I like to call “FLOODING.” It is a proven fact that the more posters you put out the better the results. People will always take some of them down, but if you have “flooded” the area some will always be left for people to see.

Copy your flyer and put it in the local paper. If you’re pet is on medication, is ill, and is a companion to an elderly person or a child the TV News and Radio will see this as a “Special Interest” human story. Explore this area. I have compiled a list of places to put up the posters. If you come across any other good ones please e-mail me so that we can share them with others.

  • Antique Stores
  • Apartment Complex (in the lobby by the mail boxes)
  • ATM
  • BANK
  • Beauty Supply
  • Bulletin Boards
  • BUS Stops
  • Cable Company (You can fax this~installers go out)
  • Car Lots
  • Car Rentals
  • Check Cashing Places
  • Churches
  • Cleaners
  • Clinics (emergency care and government clinics)
  • Clothing Stores
  • Coffee Houses
  • Computer Stores
  • Day Care
  • DMV
  • Doctors (you can fax these, look in your yellow pages)
  • Dentists (you can fax these, look in your yellow pages)
  • Donut Shops
  • Door to Door (in their mail boxes)
  • Electric Company (fax to main office, they go out for repairs)
  • Emergency Medical (both human and animal)
  • Feed Stores
  • Food Delivery (look in yellow pages for Pizza, Chinese, Chicken, etc.,
  • they go out to deliver all the time! In person delivery of the poster is better,
  • but you can fax them)
  • Gardeners
  • Garden Supplies
  • Gas Company (fax)
  • Gas Stations
  • General Supply
  • Government Offices
  • Grocery Stores (see if they let you put it in the pet food section
  • of the store)
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Hospitals (cafeteria and rec rooms for Drs and Nurses)
  • Human Society
  • Ice Cream Parlors
  • K Mart, WALMART, Sears
  • Laundromat
  • Library
  • Liquor Stores
  • Mail Carriers (give it to them)
  • UPS Delivery (if you see a truck put it on the windshield)
  • Fed Ex
  • Meeting Halls (Elks, Moose and other organizations)
  • Motels
  • Movie Rentals Places
  • Movie Theaters
  • New Construction Building
  • News Stands
  • Nursing Home
  • PO BOX Rentals
  • Phone Company (this one can be faxed too)!
  • Photo Copy Places
  • Photo Developing Places
  • Paper Boy
  • Parking Lots
  • Pharmacy
  • Post Office
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Shopping Centres
  • Street Corner (by traffic lights and stop signs)
  • Travel Agents
  • Truck Stops
  • Vets (within a 5 mile radius~you can fax these)!
  • Weight Watchers

Hope this help!

No heaven will not ever Heaven be. Unless my cats are there to welcome me.” – Anonymous

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Fitri_Hidayat/2419740



I just want to add a couple points to this article to reflect my own preferences and information I know. The info in this article is great to start. I would not have accepted it here if I did not feel it had virtue. Here are a few points added by me as The Cats of Life’s Crazy Cat Man.

Not all tags have enough space on them to put the notes shown above. The ones you get cheap such as at Walmart machines usually only have one side. Petsmart will have them with two sides. You can order them online as well, but you don’t want one that is too large. Cats are too active and might catch them on a fence or tree branch. This could especially be an issue if they are being chased.

I have actually had a tag be very effective in helping return a cat. I have info on that elsewhere on here or my YouTube Channel, so I don’t need to reprint it. You can find it on here or YouTube, though. I also have notes about how tight to have the collar and what type to use.

As noted, you should keep calm for your search. It is important for the cat and yourself. Just know that there is a greater chance of the cat being around your home than being somewhere else. She does have good tips here. Let me share that one of my cats is notorious for getting into cabinets. I have childproof locks on cabinets because of two of my cats.

I also have kept some doors closed to keep cats out because they are full of storage etc., and cats have a lot of places to hide. They don’t get in there often, but I am sure to look there as well. Look UP also. In closets, on the fridge, on cabinets and shelf units, they love to go up. Look DOWN under desks, behind and under couches, and under beds. They could just be asleep.

She also brings up the valid point that the cat will pick up on your anxiety. Before your cat gets lost, get them used to certain noises associated with food. Mine know the rattle of Temptation treat bags, the tuna electric can opener (I don’t dare use it for anything else or I have a mob of cats around me), and clicking cans and flicking the pull tabs on them. Those sounds carry well. Record them on your phone and use them when walking around.

Call calmly and lovingly. LISTEN CAREFULLY in case they are accidentally stuck in a neighbor’s shed, under a home in the crawl space, or maybe stuck in a car engine compartment or on top of an axle. Don’t expect them to run to you when calling. Expect them to call to you. Try this at night when it is quiet. I have had to rescue one of my cats from a shed, so know that it does happen.

She suggests reaching carefully to your cat when you find him or her. I say that is a good point, but I also say let the food bring them to you. Kneel or sit down with the treat bag or can of food, and entice them with it. Chances are that they will come to you right away, but just be careful to be sure they are good to go with you.

I cannot overemphasize my agreement with Step 5. I keep many current pictures of all my cats. She does not enumerate on this point, so let me expand on this topic. Take pictures you feel best represent your baby. Take pics straight on at their face, a side shot sitting, and one standing. Nobody needs to see them playing, because they will probably not see them chasing a feather toy on a stick. Think mug shots, and do it every 6 months or so to keep current. Most people just take cute pics, but think utility pics.


This is a good sample lost cat poster.

She covers the topic of posters well, but I have different opinions on this subject. The idea of a reward is fine if you can afford it, or if it has been missing quite a while. Try posters without rewards first. Most people will be motivated by helping a pet owner. Most people do not ascribe an expectation of a reward to cats because they don’t usually think of them as being of any value to anyone. If anything, list negative traits. I have some funny examples here on my Pinterest account under Humorous Cats,. I also do mine in black and white, so be sure your pictures look good in black and white. I can print ten times more posters for cost and time by doing black and white.

Here is a Template I put together to make your own poster (just click here & download). You can choose to add the information in pen, then tape or glue pictures in place. If you have MS Word, Open Office, or other .doc word processor, you can use those to add the info before printing. Either way will work. It doesn’t have to be pretty.

For instance, if there are special diet issues, if they tear up furniture, bite, spray, or have any other issues, people will not want to keep your cat with problems like that. They want to think the cat they found is a wonderful ball of fluff. They don’t want to think of claws and teeth, or special food. I have had to post posters for a cat that had allergies to chicken and salmon, and another that tends to react when startled. I did not have to post rewards for them.

One step that should have been placed before posters is phone calls and the internet. Some shelters such as County Animal Control will have phone lines or sites where you can see animals that have been brought in or post info on animals that are lost. Put your baby here. Also call veterinarian offices. They don’t have to have posters because if someone calls them or brings in a cat that fits the description, they will contact you. You also don’t want a poster where someone might see it and decide not to bring the “stolen” or found cat for fear that it will go back home.

When formatting your poster, keep these things in mind. It used to be a good idea to have pull off tags on the bottom for people to take home and call. Now with phones in cameras and having phones to call immediately, they will either take a picture or call you from the poster. I suggest the following format for your posters.

Simply the word LOST or MISSING at the top, large enough to see from a distance. Of course, people will know your poster is for something that is lost, so don’t take up too much real estate with that. Put pictures just below that. Then add description including color of eyes and coat (not just tortoise shell or calico), and the other items she listed such as location. Follow her advice on other info to include.

I also do not put the cat’s name in the poster. If they intend to keep him or her, I want them to have a difficult time figuring out the name if I don’t have it on the tag. The reason I put it on the tag is so they can calm my cat to be able to get to the tag. IF you do offer a REWARD, replace the word LOST, but do NOT put the amount in large letters. Put the word REWARD in large letters and place the amount near your phone numbers. This makes an association and gets people to move closer to it.

As far as posting them, bring along PVC/duct tape (aka Duck tape), scotch tape, packaging tape clear, and thumb tacks. This will take care of any material you need to place your posters. Put them on electric poles in the neighborhood and bus stops. You don’t have to look for specific places. Just walk around with your stack of copies and materials to fasten them and keep going for about a 5 mile radius. Don’t post them on mail boxes. You might get in trouble. Also do not tape to painted surfaces. Removing it may cause damage, and your phone number is right there to call.

While distributing your posters, keep your eyes open and call your cat’s name all along the way. Look down side yards, long driveways, and alleys. It is good to bring snacks with you. If you can, also bring a small bottle of water, and a small cup or bowl. Your baby may be hungry and thirsty before you bring him or her home. You might bring someone along with you to go back and get your vehicle or a cat carrier to bring him or her home.

Those are just my added tips to an important topic you should keep in mind. Keep current pics, and be ready to search far and wide. Cats can wander up to 5 miles to explore territory. They love hiding places like shrubbery and trees. Look all over, including yards. If you see someone in their yard (except hildrren unless with a parent), feel free to ask them and let themm know you are putting up posters. You don’t have to leave one with them.

Good luck, and I hope you never have to go through this. I have learned a lot from missing cats, but have always found them. They get lost and scared, so don’t be mad at them. Be loving.

Those are just my added tips to an important topic you should keep in mind.

Good luck, and I hope you benefit from the information in this article. Leave me some feedback below to let me know what you think, ask questions about this, or leave information on your own experiences. You can also check my other social network pages for information that might be helpful or inspirational. Look below or in the column on the right for more info how to contact me or follow me.

Don’t forget to FOLLOW, SUBSCRIBE, and LIKE at those sites for more topics and to see what is next. You should especially check out our pictures and videos in our album https://photos.app.goo.gl/SAEboTrrLtyyQS2TA

— The Crazy Cat Man

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