Is Your Cat Lost/Missing? Here’s What To Do…
The first things you need to do are:
- Check if your cat’s microchip details are up to date (I.e. address, phone number, email address, owners name, cats name). This means that if someone finds your kitty and scans the chip, they have the correct details to contact and reunite you! You should also contact the microchip company to let them know your cat is missing.
- If your cat has a litter tray in the home, you should place this outside in the garden, along with a cat bed or blanket hung on the washing line. Your cat should be able to detect its own scent and the scent of his house and in some cases, he can follow it home.
Once you have done these, you can do the following:
Create a poster
- Include: a clear picture of your cat, a description (including whether the cat is neutered and/or microchipped) and your contact details
- Note any distinguishing features e.g. One eye, white moustache, one white paw, pink collar etc.
- Give a poster/flyer to all your neighbours. Not in? Post one through their door and check back with them later.
- Email the poster to local vets and rescue centres too.
- Display the posters where you can in and around your area. Remember, cats can travel quite far, especially if lost and confused
Talk with your neighbours and local authorities
- Ask neighbours to look out for your cat and check in their sheds, garages and any other outhouses – cats can sneak into even the tiniest holes!
- Contact your local authority – unfortunately some cats are collected by the council after RTA’s, so while it is upsetting to discover bad news, at least you will know.
- If they do not respond to your email, contact local vets and rescue centers informing them that your cat is missing, so they know who to contact should it come to them.
Spread the word online and on social media
- Register your cat as missing on the RSPCA database at www.petslocated.com
- There are many local social media pages for missing cats, such as Lost and found pets all Sheffield areas and Sheffield Lost Found Cats – South Yorkshire UK which is a very active community whose members will share your post if they live in the local area.
- Don’t give up hope! Whether missing for a few days or a few weeks, there is every chance kitty will find their way home, or even be sat in someone else’s living room, so keep spreading the word! When kitty does come home, check them over thoroughly and seek veterinary advice if needed – you’ll find further advice on this below!
What To Do If You Find A Cat
Have you found a cat that you think could be lost, or has one started visiting your property? Here’s some advice on what to do next:
If possible, take the cat to your nearest veterinary practice and have them scanned for a microchip. Vets will do this free of charge and will be able to contact the owners should the cat have a registered microchip.
If they don’t have a chip, check the UK lost and found pets database, and add the cat to it if you don’t see a matching description.
You can also add a paper collar to the cat with your details written on. This way if the cat is owned, the owner will hopefully get in touch to let you know.
Keep your eye out for any posters of missing cats, it could be the one you found! It can also be helpful to add details of the cat, including photos if possible, to local pages and groups on social media sites such as Facebook. By following these steps you maximise the chance of the cat being reunited with its owner!
When Kitty Comes Home
Now your cat is home safe and sound, here’s what to do next….
- Keep kitty indoors for at least 7 days (longer if your cat has been missing for over a month or if you’ve moved home since the cat went missing).
- Keep stress to a minimum when settling kitty back in and give lots of fuss and attention (as much as kitty will allow).
- If you have other pets, it’s a good idea to separate them until your kitty is settled in again
- Have kitty checked out at the vets to ensure they are healthy. If cats have been missing for a while without access to adequate food and water, they could be dehydrated, or even emaciated which can lead to other serious issues. The vets will also be able to provide parasite treatment in case your cat is overdue or has a parasite burden on their return. You can also enquire about our next point…
- If they aren’t already, please get kitty microchipped and neutered (there is a lot of help and support for these, namely from Cats Protection (Tel 03000 121212, option 2, 9:30am – 1pm Monday to Friday), but other local charities may also be able to help). Neutering and microchipping have so many benefits, to you and your cat, it just makes sense!
Why neuter & microchip?
As a small independent charity who encounters this all year round, we cannot stress how important it is to have your cats neutered and microchipped.
- Spaying/Neutering prevents your cat from mating whilst outside and adding to the already surplus population of cats, and can even prevent roaming which helps reduce the chance of your cat going missing.
- Spaying and neutering can help reduce or prevent spraying and other behavioural issues
- Microchipping is so important, it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to identify a cat, allowing owners to be contacted and reunited. Though it only works if you remember to register the chip when you get your cat microchipped, and then keep your details up to date on the database.
- A new law means that all owners must have their cat microchipped by 10 June 2024 and owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted, or may face a fine of up to £500.
Need help with the cost of neutering and microchipping?
Cats Protection can help eligible cat owners with the cost of neutering and microchipping their cats, bringing the cost down to just £10!
For more information on eligibility criteria and participating vets, please visit the Cats Protection website
Once kitty is ready to start going outside again, you could give them a quick-release collar with a bell. This ensures that at a glance other people know the cat has a home and an owner. Also, if the cat decides to nip into a delivery van (trust us, it happens!), hopefully the loading person will be able to hear the bell jingling and ensure their stowaway has left the van before they set off. It is important that the collar is quick release so that it will pop open if the cat gets it caught on something so they don’t become trapped or injured by it.
We’re glad your furry companion is back home safe and hope you’ll spread the word about microchipping and neutering too! 🙂