Usually, a cat that strays from home is likely to come back on his own. In the vast majority of cases, when a cat strays from home, he will come back by himself after 24 to 48 hours, which represents the time he needs to stop being afraid and come out of hiding. But it is not uncommon to find a lost cat three weeks after he went missing, because after this period, the cat will need to hunt and thus come out of hiding more often. That is why posters are very important. You’d be surprised at how many people will call to help. The objective is to identify the place where to search. Very often, the cat will be found within one kilometer of the house.
Here is a list of things to do:
- Search first and foremost very close to your house. Usually, cats that are not used to go outside will hide somewhere behind the deck or a staircase and will not come out for the next 24 hours, because they are extremely afraid. Do not forget that streets and fences do not restrain cats. Search in ALL directions.
- Call the local SPCA and Le Berger Blanc (or other shelters if you are not in the Montreal area) to learn what organization is in charge of your neighborhood, and open a “Lost animal” file.
- Alert the veterinary clinics and pet shops around you and any local businesses where everyone from the neighborhood is bound to come by.
- Put up posters with a COLOR picture of your WHOLE cat, not just his face. Write down his distinctive signs such as coat color and length, collar, size… and the neighborhood where he disappeared and your phone numbers. Write down 2 numbers, in case one of them isn’t working well, it happens sometimes. ADD THE FOLLOWING MENTION: “NEEDS TO TAKE HIS MEDICATION SHORTLY”. Not only it brings forth more compassion to motivate people to help you, but it also ensures that nobody takes in your cat and keeps him. Nobody wants a sick cat.
- Once you printed and covered your posters with plastic sheet protectors, put them up on ALL posts on every street around your house.
- Create an ad on Petluck, Kijiji (Quebec) or in the Muzzo application.
- When evening comes, make a round of every house, garden, yard, place under the car and speak to every neighbor you encounter and every dog walker, because they are out twice a day. Do it with good flashlights and food (tuna + treats) to entice your cat out of hiding, and call his name while waiting patiently watching for movement. You must not go too fast to allow for your cat to muster his courage and come out.
- Call your cat by his name in a playful tone, not in a panic. That will help reassure your cat and get him out of his emotions of fear to come and meet you.
- On the first week, be up a 4:00AM every day to make a round and call out your cat while there is no interference noise.
- Call out again at 6:30AM, then 7:30 before going to work.
- At nighttime before sunset, ask for permission to make a round in the backyards and then do a second round around 10:00PM when it’s quieter. Beware of skunks!
- Ask your neighbors (you will be amazed at people’s generosity) to help you identify “cat ladies” who feed the cats of the neighborhood and describe your cat to them. While it’s unlikely that a fearful cat joins an existing group, those ladies are liable to see many cats. Besides, their houses often stand for resources, and after a while, if your cat is hungry enough, he could risk going.
- Make rounds on a regular basis.
- You can also share the info on social media.
- When you finally find the cat, he might not want to come to you immediately and might even be afraid of you. Do not make the mistake of chasing after him or trying to take him, if you feel that he is fearful. It is best to take your time, treat him with food, pet him and stay with him for a while to give him time to get used to you, before attempting to take him. It is usually advisable to bring a carrier and convince the cat to get into the carrier BY HIMSELF with a feast of canned food or tuna. The mistake most people make is that they want to catch him quickly so they do not lose him again and miss that opportunity, causing the animal to be more fearful, making it more difficult for you to catch him. If you know he is at a specific place every day, you are better off taking two or three days to appease him, luring him into the carrier little by little, rather than trying to catch him which could very well turn into a disaster.
- Do not lose hope.