Nature Wisdom

with Pat Tuholske, Naturalist

Finding Your Cat

When a beloved pet disappears, it is a heartbreak and a deep loss. If you are a cat lover, your furry four-legged is part of your family — sharing your home and your affection. If the unthinkable should happen and your beloved cat gets lost or goes missing, there are several proven methods you can apply to achieve a favorable outcome.

Immediately start to search your neighborhood or the area from which your cat disappeared. Cats are territorial and most are found within a five-block radius of home.
If your cat was somehow displaced from his territory, he is more than likely hiding in fear. Alert those in the area to your cat’s description and your contact information but DO NOT depend on them to find your cat. You need to do a physical search, finding all possible hiding places, crawling on your belly to check any crevice in which your cat could be stuck. Go around the same area at night with a spotlight to look for glowing eyes. Then check again the next day.

If your cat is an indoor-only cat that bolted outside, ask yourself where is he hiding? Escaped indoor-only cats are hiding in silence from predators and will not meow or move from their concealment. Usually at a threshold of 7-10 days he may move, meow or leave his hiding place. The best way to catch this type of cat is with a baited humane trap. Also, make a thorough search of your home. He could be hiding in a closet or cabinet.

If your cat is an outdoor-access cat, ask yourself what has happened that is preventing him from returning home? It could be he is trapped somewhere, was chased from his territory, was displaced or disposed of, was picked up by a rescuer. Start a detailed search of your property and neighborhood (do not assume he will come when you call), post flyers, check with veterinarians, local shelters and rescue groups. Search every area twice. His temperament will influence how he behaves… if he goes up to a person, if he travels, if he hides in fear, comes back home, or returns to escape point.

If you decide to hire a search dog, be sure you have an uncontaminated scent article. If you have multiple cats, make individual scent articles in advance. Take a 4”X4” sterile gauze pad and rub it all over your cat capturing some fur in the process. Place the gauze pad in a ziploc bag, label it, date it and store in the freezer. Redo every six months.

Next month: How to Find Your Lost Dog “Never give up. There is always hope.”

Pat Tuholske is available for lost pet consultations and searches. Contact her at K9Alliance.info. Check out Pat’s journal “Nature as Healer” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship. Go to elementalearthcamp.com.