Clear and Comprehensive Guide

How to Find Your Lost Cat and Never Lose It Again



Photo by Emre on Unsplash


If you are reading this article, your cat may be lost. We want to say we’re sorry about that and we also want to give you hope. This guide has been written with care, based on the experiences of our users and team members who have been through the same situation. It also has data from expert studies and research, which makes it more useful and easier to understand. Follow the advice we’re going to give you, and chances are you’ll be able to find your cat.

How to find a lost cat

1. Search your home first.

If your cat is gone and you don’t know where it is, the first thing to do is to search your home carefully. Check every nook and cranny, upstairs and downstairs, as cats are experts at hiding. Look everywhere, high and low. Sometimes, cats that feel lost can be in surprising places, such as inside furniture or drawers. Be sure to look all over the house before you think your cat has gone outside.

One of our team members, John, experienced this situation. Be sure to check all possible places, even those that seem obvious.

2. Notify Neighbours, Veterinarians, Police and Shelters.

2.1 Talk to your neighbors:

Talk to your neighbors and ask them to be more attentive to their garages, gardens, and even their cars. They can bang on the bonnets of their vehicles to make the cat get out if it is inside the engine before starting it.

2.2 Veterinarian

If you are looking for your cat, use your mobile phone to call your vet. Make sure you inform them if your cat has a microchip and is lost. In the microchip registration database, it should be recorded that the cat has been lost. This is important so that if someone takes it to another veterinary clinic, they know the cat is lost and can report it.

2.3 Police and Animal Shelters

It is important to go to the police and file a report that your cat is missing. This is relevant as you are responsible for what happens to the cat. Also, if there is a traffic accident or other situations, it is crucial that there is proof that the cat was lost and not simply abandoned. You can also ask at the animal shelters in your town, as someone may have found your cat and taken it to a shelter.

3. Look for him in the street:

3.1 Where to look for him?

3.1.1 Search radius:

75% of lost domestic cats do not travel more than 500 meters from home. Focus on a radius close to your home and avoid searching in scattered locations.

Although cats can travel considerable distances, tests have shown that they tend to move in an area close to home. Research with GPS devices in cat collars shows that they generally roam around their home, moving in circular patterns rather than straight lines. This highlights the importance of thoroughly checking the areas near your home during a search.

3.1.2 In similar areas:

When a cat gets lost, it is important to understand that they tend to look for places similar to their own. For example, if they live in a flat, they may look for another flat or a similar house. It is common for them to look for familiar havens, such as in the same building or housing estate.

3.1.3 In their common shelters:

Cats tend to seek shelter when they are frightened or in shock. They may hide in places such as car parks, basements, or even under vehicles. It is important to alert the people around you if your cat gets lost, especially if you live in a flat. This will prevent accidents, as cats can hide in dangerous places, such as between car tires.

3.1.4 In your neighbourhood:

Watch what is happening in your neighborhood. There may be situations that cause your cat to hide near your home. Check under cars and in bushy areas. Young cats tend to climb trees, so this is also a place to consider in your search.

3.1.5 In places where food is available:

Lost cats may go to familiar places in search of food. Check near rubbish bins, stray cat colonies, and public buildings such as schools, restaurants, or sports centers, where they can find food.

3.1.6 In shelters:

Make a register of all the cat shelters in your area the best thing that could happen to a lost cat, apart from going home, is to end up in a shelter where they will be able to look after it, feed it, and give it medical attention if your cat gets lost keep in touch with the cat shelters in your area to warn them in case they find it.

3.2 When to look for him?

We recommend that you start as early as possible. However, to increase your chances of success, you must consider the following:

The most effective times to search are at night, rather than during the day. In this regard, we suggest that you start your search from 10 p.m. until around 3 or 4 a.m. During this time, several advantages can make it easier to search for your cat.

Nighttime offers a quieter environment, with less activity on the streets and less noise. This quieter, calmer environment gives your cat a sense of security, making him more likely to come out of hiding and expose himself.

In this sense, the stillness of the night also helps your cat feel more confident and willing to move around. In addition, the fact that there is less noise in the street makes it much easier for your cat to hear your call and respond to it.

Another aspect to consider is that cats are naturally nocturnal animals. Because of their nocturnal hunting instinct, they are more likely to come out of hiding during these hours, which increases your chances of finding them.

To make it easier to search in the dark, it is advisable to carry a torch. This tool will allow you to identify the glow of your cat’s eyes in the dark, which can help you locate them more easily.

In contrast, searching during the day can be counterproductive because of the many stimuli, noises, and distractions that may scare your cat away from its hiding place.

3.3 How to call it?

Use a way to call your cat, such as name-calling, clicking, or hissing. However, the most effective is to use food. Shaking the bowl or making sounds associated with food will attract his attention.

3.4 Looking for him alone or accompanied?

If your cat is lost, it’s a good idea to ask trusted friends to help you find it. But it is best not to have other pets with you while you search, as this can make things more difficult.

When searching for your cat, it’s best to have someone familiar to your cat, such as the owner, guardian, or someone close to your cat. Call him by his usual name, as you normally would. But not too many people must search at the same time, as this can confuse and frighten the cat. Cats, being cautious, may not respond if they hear too many voices calling their name. Therefore, I suggest that only one person searches, preferably someone the cat trusts and feels safe with. This person should familiarly use the cat’s name so that the cat feels more comfortable and is more likely to find it.

3.5 What to do if you find it?

Avoid running or shouting at it, as this may frighten it even more and cause it to run away. If the cat has seen you, kneel at a distance from it, avoiding looking directly into its eyes or holding out your hands. Start calling to it in a soft, calm voice. If there are no distractions around, the cat may feel more confident to approach of its own accord. However, if that doesn’t happen, remember that even if your cat is happy to see you, he may be too frightened to approach at that moment. If he stays in an unreachable corner, place food and water nearby, back off a little, and wait for him to decide to approach on his own.

Patience is essential in this situation. Wait until the cat feels comfortable enough to approach you. Chances are he will be as relieved to see you as you are to find him.

4. Attract him back

Understanding his behavior is key. When calling him, don’t expect him to come immediately. He is more likely to respond with meows, cautiously signaling his presence.

Focus on hearing rather than just sight, as cats are more sensitive to sound.

Start the search from your front door, where the cat feels safe. Call him from there so he can associate the location with your call.

If he is nearby, use stimuli such as food or biscuits to attract him, creating a positive connection between the sound and a reward.

Gradually explore the immediate environment, paying attention to familiar areas. This increases the chances that your cat will listen to you and come to you.

If you live in a ground-floor house or one that is accessible from the street, consider these measures:

4.1 Ajar windows or doors: Leave a window or door ajar so that your cat can return if it decides to do so on its own.

4.2 Secure his space at home: Make sure his area at home is comfortable and ready for his return. Clean her litter box and make fresh food available.

4.3 Consider overnight return: Cats are most active at night. Keep their space cozy even then, as they may return.

If your cat is nearby, luring her with a food box and sheets with her scent may help. Also, you can wear clothes with your scent on them and leave them outside. Sprinkling litter from his litter box can help, but beware of attracting territorial cats.

5. Look on the Internet

It is important that you spread the word on the internet, as you can reach a lot of people quickly. And these people can let you know if they have seen your lost cat.

5.1 Create the Online Poster

The first thing you will need to do is to create a lost cat poster online. You can use this simple tool to create it online in just a few minutes. https://es.postermywall.com/index.php/art/template/4445acd52a52ab70548e649ebae6b9de/lost-cat-design-template

5.2 Share it with your family and friends

Now that you have the poster, we recommend you share it with all your contacts. Either by WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or whatever social network you use. Ask them to share it to generate more diffusion.

5.3 Post it on Facebook groups in your city

There are lost and found groups in almost every city. To find them just Google the following:

»Lost Cats in (your city) Facebook».

Here you post the lost cat poster and ask to share it.

5.4 On lost and found websites

Here you should put both the details and the photo of your pet. You can use several websites for this, just google the following:

»Lost and found cats in (Your City)».

5.5 Consider hiring a professional

Some websites are dedicated to digital outreach to find lost cats. If you can afford it, go to https://rescota.com/ and create an outreach campaign, our search options start at £45.

6. Put up posters on the street

Put up large, eye-catching posters with photos and information about your cat. This is essential for getting calls if someone in the area has seen your cat.

You can use the same one you created to search for your cat online (https://es.postermywall.com/index.php/art/template/4445acd52a52ab70548e649ebae6b9de/lost-cat-design-template), just print it out.

Be sure to place them in highly visible places and even in the mailboxes of your nearby neighbors. If someone spots it, they will contact you.

Remember that they must let you know if they have seen it, but you should initiate the moment of capture. Otherwise, your cat may run away from the stranger.

7. Use a Cat Trap

Cat traps are also useful. Although the term «trap» may sound a little harsh, these cages are designed to lure cats with toys and food. Of course, this can have the disadvantage of attracting other unwanted cats, which can cause them stress. However, in cases of nervous, restless, or surly cats who find it difficult to return on their own, these cages can also be an effective recovery method.

You can buy these traps from Amazon or any other specialist retailer.

8. Consider a professional Detective

However, this is not a service that is easy to find. Some professional detectives specialize in finding lost animals. If you can afford it, we recommend you Google to see if one is available in your city.

9. Consider the Japanese Technique

A peculiar method for dealing with this situation, based on an ancient Japanese legend, has gone viral on social media.

The technique consists of communicating with stray cats in your neighborhood as if you were talking to people. You tell them about your cat, describe it physically and even mention its name. You ask them to help you find it, expressing how much you love it and want it to come home. The belief is that stray cats will communicate with each other to assist in the return of your cat.

Although it may seem strange, many claim that this technique has worked for them. Japanese users have shared similar stories in response to the original post. While we can’t confirm its effectiveness, if you’re in this situation, why not try it? Cats are intelligent beings with unique abilities. If this method helps get your feline companion back, it doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

How long does it take to appear?

Normally, they do not appear on the first night or the first search, because when cats get lost, they usually feel very vulnerable and are very afraid.

So they tend to hide. There are cases where cats are found after weeks or even months, because they learn to survive by consuming what they find, such as rodents or other food, and drinking water.

It happens that after a few weeks, they appear. So don’t give up and keep looking for your cat.

Reasons for escape and how to avoid it?

It is important to understand that when a cat runs away from home, it is not because it has stopped loving you. The outdoors offers them a stimulating and adventurous experience, whether they are used to going out or it is their first time. If your cat doesn’t return after a while, it’s possible that it’s trapped somewhere or has suffered an injury that prevents it from returning.

Cats are intelligent, curious, and independent animals with a strong hunting instinct. The outdoors provides them with a world full of stimulation. These are reasons for them to want to venture out:

1. Curiosity and Exploration:

Cats are naturally curious, and getting out of the house allows them to explore exciting places and meet other cats. This curiosity may lead them to prefer outdoor adventure.

2. Oestrus:

During heat, cats search for mates to breed, sometimes traveling dangerous distances. Neutering is key to preventing escapades in search of mates.

3. Territory Attachment:

When moving or if a loved one leaves, the cat may try to return to its previous territory or seek out that person. Creating a calm environment is important to prevent them from feeling left out.

4. Hunting instinct:

Hunter cats may go out to look for real prey outside the home. Hunting stimulates them more than home-cooked food, leading them to venture far away.

5. Risk of Predation:

Outdoors, your cat may face other predatory animals. Cats, dogs, or birds of prey may attack, preventing them from returning.

6. Incorrect Identification:

If your cat is not wearing a collar with identification, it could be mistaken for a stray. A tag or microchip is essential for identification.

7. Lack of Basic Needs:

Cats need food, play, and care. If they don’t find all of these at home, they may seek them elsewhere and not return.

8. Lack of Attention or Mistreatment:

In addition to needs, cats require attention and affection. If they don’t feel part of the family or are mistreated, they will seek love elsewhere.

9. Anxiety or Stress:

Changes at home, such as new pets or moving house, can cause anxiety. To escape the stress, the cat may seek other surroundings.

10. Panic or Fear:

A frightened cat may run away and hide. Disoriented, it may not return due to fear.

11. Accidentally Carried:

Cats may hide in vehicles without the driver noticing, leading them away from home.

12. Illness or Old Age:

Elderly or sick cats may become disoriented and get lost outdoors. Their condition may prevent them from returning.

13. Injury or Danger:

Cats can be injured by cars, face predators, or suffer poisoning. These risks keep them away from home.

14. Adoption by Another Family:

Fed by others, cats may prefer to stay in a new, caring home.

15. Death Away from Home:

Cats hide diseases and may escape to die peacefully, out of your sight.

What to do when you have already recovered it

If your cat returns home after running away for one or more days, it is important to take it to the vet for a full check-up. He may have had a run-in with another stray cat and may have injuries, or may have been infected with a venereal disease. Also, when he comes home, offer him food and water, as he may not have eaten for days and may be feeling stressed.

Give him lots of affection, as he may be traumatized by his experience. Don’t let him out for a few days to make sure he is OK.

It is also important to take him to the vet as he may have picked up a disease, ticks, or fleas. He may even have a broken rib, which is not always easy to spot.

If your cat doesn’t come home, it can be a very distressing situation for your family. In most cases, a lost cat will return home, but if it doesn’t, apply the tips on how to contact it and try to find it as soon as possible. You can also consider the reasons for their escape and try to limit their behavior if you don’t want your cat to be exposed to dangers such as being run over or catching diseases.