All is not lost when your cat goes missing
Cats love to roam and go on adventures; maybe just to the garden next door, or farther afield perhaps to the waste land just along a bit from their home. But when they’ve been gone too long, we worry they’re lost. And when we find a cat, we may worry about them too and want to help. So, when is a stray, not a stray, but a much-loved cat who simply likes to wander? Or maybe a feral cat, who is essentially a wild animal getting on with its life? This month we’d like to talk about what to do if you’ve lost your cat, whilst next month we will explore what to do if you find a cat. A two-part special!
Lost! Have you seen my cat?
Cats are sensitive creatures and react to even the slightest changes in household routine. A new addition to the family (human, feline or canine) or the loss of a family member may trigger unrest in a cat. Whilst we can’t eliminate all the effects of change on our cats, we can take positive steps to ease their unsettled state. For example, if you move-house, remember to keep cats in for at least 2 weeks before gradually introducing them to their new outdoor environment, initially in your company … remembering not to feed them before you let them out! Food plays a significant part in a cat’s life (sorry to state the obvious) so remember to use this knowledge if your cat is lost. What cat owner hasn’t roamed the streets, or stood at their door shaking a box of cat biscuits? Smell is also key to how a cat navigates life – a cat knows where home is, and the pathways which lead to it through their amazing sense of smell. Helpful advice is to put their (used!) litter tray outside in the garden or sprinkle it around to help puss find the way home. Peg their blanket or toys to the fence or washing line, or drape on bushes … anything with a strong scent of themselves or of home will help them navigate their way back to you.
Home sweet home
Calling out a cat’s name may be embarrassing (why did we name him Fluffy-wuffy?) but it can be effective in helping a ‘lost’ cat locate home or you. A recent study by researchers at a Japanese university found that cats can recognise their name (even if it is Fluffy-wuffy!), but whether they choose to respond is another matter of course. Or if lost, it could be that your cat can hear its name being called (or just the familiar sound of your voice) but, is unable to come back to you as he or she is maybe locked in a shed or garage. So, listening for that vital meow is also crucial in finding a lost cat. One of our volunteers, Francis, lost her cat and through calling, then listening, she located her cat locked in a neighbours shed.
Other helpful advice of course is putting up clear, simple posters with a photo of the lost cat, being mindful of rain protection. Very recently one of our adopted cats, Toby (who you may know from his regular appearances on our Facebook page – he was found in a very poor state, but was helped back to health and re-homed to Margaret and Craig who are utterly besotted with him, lucky boy!) went missing, and through the process of searching for him, neighbours got to know each other better and two young friends showed everyone the value of community.
Lost Cat Checklist
- Search first. Check small spaces in your home – everywhere from cosy cupboards to garden sheds, garages and outbuildings
- Ask your neighbours. They’ll need to check their property, sheds and garages too
- Is your cat microchipped? Talk to your microchip provider to register your cat missing
- Contact your local Cats Protection branch
- Get in touch with animal shelters in your area. Visit www.catchat.org to find those local to you
- Contact all local vet practices in the area, not just your own
- Make and put up flyers with your cat’s photo and description to place around the local area – here is a link to a poster template you can download to use www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/cat-care-downloads
- Post a description on your Facebook page, as well as any local community Facebook groups and your local Cats Protection Facebook page
- Keep hopeful, we know of many happy reunions after weeks, months and even years of searching
The Importance of Microchipping
Whether you’ve a new kitten or adopted cat (all cats and kittens adopted from Swansea Cats Protection are microchipped before they are homed) it is particularly important to microchip your pet. Unlike collars, microchips don’t come off, or put cats at risk from collar-related injuries. It’s a simple and straightforward procedure and is no more painful than an injection. Your cat won’t even be aware of it once it is inserted. Don’t forget to keep your contact details up to date.
Just two of the wonderful cats in our care, waiting for a new home…
Hello I’m Bella. Black is the new black apparently, so I’m hoping someone will notice just how lovely and friendly I am. And my fur has this funny habit of going all sticky-out and fuzzy when I’m happy! My owner sadly had to give me up through no fault of my own, so please give me a second chance… my black fur is beautiful!
Hi I’m Chin Chin, so good they named me twice! My owner had to give me up – we were both sad about it actually, we liked each other, but it wasn’t possible for him to keep me. I’m quite young so I like fun and enjoy being playful, but I’m still a little bit shy and getting used to new things … it won’t take me long I’m sure!
Honey has been homed!
Last month we introduced you to lovely mature puss Honey and we are absolutely delighted to tell you that she is now happily settled into her new home with Ian and his family. Thank you Ian for seeing beyond her age and recognising all that she has to give for years to come.
If you are interested in adopting or fostering one of our lovely cats or kittens, please get in touch and arrange to come and meet the cats waiting patiently for a loving home.
We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 260 2101 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note our Helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can, but please be patient and remember that we are all UNPAID VOLUNTEERS trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea.