How to Find a Lost Indoor Cat
For countless pet-owners, it's their worst nightmare come true—a beloved indoor cat got outside and is missing. Right now, it's important to keep your wits about you as you take the next steps to find your missing cat. You can boost the chances of reuniting with your missing indoor cat when you get help from DoNotPay.
Try our quick and stress-free Lost and Found Pets product.
Many families choose to keep their cats strictly indoors for their safety. Indoor cats are less exposed to parasites and infectious diseases, and on average live longer. As long as you are properly enriching the life of your indoor cat with interactive toys, scratching posts, and places to climb, you can expect them to live a happy and healthy life inside. That's why an unexpected escape can be so traumatizing.
The first thing to remember is to stay calm. Cats are highly territorial. There is a strong likelihood that your missing indoor cat is hiding somewhere close. Start your search and rescue as soon as possible, and make the process of reporting your indoor cat missing easier with DoNotPay.
Can My Indoor Cat Find Its Way Back Home?
Probably, yes. It is widely believed that cats possess a mysterious ability to find their way home if they are lost. Scientists have various theories for this, including a heightened perception for magnetic geolocation and olfactory territory marking.
Usually, an indoor cat who has found its way outside for the first time will be scared. The urge to hide will be strong, and it's unlikely that they will run more than a 3-4 house radius from where they first escaped.
Factors that Affect Your Cat’s Ability to Find Their Way Home
|Demeanor||Friendly and outgoing cats are much more likely to venture further off than skittish ones when they escape the confines of the home.
Females are also more prone to hunker down in a safe spot, whereas males might wander look for food or new friends.
|Location||The area surrounding your home may or may not be full of places to hide, trees to climb, or neighbors to encounter.
Indoor cats may have a diminished homing ability when lost and can easily become disoriented by new environments.
|Weather||Cold weather, precipitation, and wind will absolutely drive a lost indoor cat to find shelter in a dry, safe place.|
How to Find a Lost Indoor Cat by Yourself
According to a survey from the ASPCA, 59% of cat guardians found their cat because it returned home to its owner, while 30% found their cat by searching the neighborhood. Armed with this information, and a bit of optimism, you too can find your missing indoor cat if you're willing to put in the work.
Follow the steps below to find your lost indoor cat on your own.
Make Sure the House is Empty
The moment you notice your indoor cat seems to be missing, search your home thoroughly. Indoor cats have a tendency to find their ways into strange places, so before you assume the worst make sure your cat isn't hiding or sleeping somewhere you didn't expect, like:
- Under Beds/Furniture
- Inside Coat/Utility Closets
- Above Cupboards
- Behind Large Appliances
Search the Immediate Area
Begin your search close to the house, as it's very likely your indoor cat hasn't wandered far. A Missing Animal Response study found that the majority of lost indoor cats were found within a median distance of only 128 feet away from home. Check likely hiding spots, such as:
- Trash/Compost Bins
- Gutters/Drainage Ditches
- Wood/Junk Piles
- Neighbors' Properties
Spread the Word
Talk to your closest neighbors to ask whether anyone has seen a cat on the loose and let them know how to contact you. Post paper fliers inappropriate nearby areas to let people know that your indoor cat got outside and is missing. Include recent photos, if available. Basically, spread the word in as many directions as possible to get the attention of anyone who may have seen your missing indoor cat.
Online resources are also a great way to help reunite pet owners with their missing fur babies. Increase the scope of your search by posting about your missing indoor cat on websites like PawBoost or Craigslist, and on social media pages for your local Facebook or Nextdoor pet communities.
Step 4: Report Your Lost Cat
Next, call local shelters, veterinary hospitals, and local animal control agencies to officially report your lost cat. Be prepared to include the following information in your report:
- Address of cat's last known location
- Time the cat is believed to have escaped
- Owner's name and contact number
- Cat's name, sex, age, breed, color, and demeanor.
- Description of pet's collar and tags, if applicable.
- Whether your cat is microchipped or registered.
- The name of your vet and any needed medications.
When you create an official lost pet report, your information is submitted to a huge database. When a pet is found, the database is checked by shelters and animal control.
How to Find a Lost Indoor Cat With DoNotPay
The experience of losing your sheltered indoor cat can be extremely traumatic, and the search requires a lot of legwork. Between the mental and physical stress, you will already be juggling too much. You need some assistance. Let DoNotPay handle all the details.
Here's how you can use DoNotPay to report Lost and Found pets:
- Search "lost and found pets" on DoNotPay, and select whether you're reporting a lost pet or a pet you've found.
- Enter the date and location you lost or found the pet and tell us more about them, including the breed, gender, whether they are wearing a collar, approximate size, and more.
- Upload evidence a photo of the pet, so they can be identified, and enter your current contact information where you can be reached with updates.
And that's it! DoNotPay will file the report on your behalf, and make sure your lost cat or dog gets recorded in the government directory, and they know who to contact if they find a match.
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