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Missing Pet Partnership - Recovery Tips

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Lost Cat Search Tips

First, search your property thoroughly. Bring a powerful flashlight, (even during daylight hours) for checking dark spaces. Indoor-only cats may be hiding nearby, but will remain silent if frightened. Look thoroughly nearby, under the bushes in your yard, in garage corners - everywhere a timid cat could hide. For that matter, some have been known to hide inside for days.

Walk the neighborhood, talk to everybody and leave your phone number. Indoor/outdoor cats will have a typical range of 4 city blocks as the crow flies with their house in the center.

Make some noise while you walk around the neighborhood- use the call your cat is used to responding to for treats.

Place strong smelling articles outside your home to attract your pet. Place a cat’s litterbox, bedding and favorite toys outside. Place some unwashed laundry of the family in a box outside. If it’s warm weather, crate other family pets and place them outside in a safe and secure area.

Put catnip outside your home.

Post A Lost Cat Report here and Search Found Reports for a match.

Contact Kitsap Humane Society

Post Lost Pet Flyers - use the Best Friends Flyer Maker

Use a live trap. Include a food which can be smelled from a distance (canned tuna or rotisserie chicken, et c.) along with dry food if that's what the cat is used to. Warn your neighbors to keep their cats away, and deal with other trapped animals responsibly.

Pick a place outside your home that has one bright outdoor light and a door nearby. Place the cat's litter box out there. Make sure all the other lights in the house are turned off except this one. Go outside, and as loudly as you can, open the stinkiest, most cat-enticingest can of cat food you can find. Leave the food out there, near the litter box, and leave the door ajar. Monitor to see if the cat comes around. If she does, make no sudden movements but call her quietly back to the house.

Empty the bag/container of your vacuum cleaner outside your front and back door (it doesn't have to be right in front of the doors), top up the vacuumings about every ten days. Your cat's scent, (if she was an indoor/outdoor cat) will be firmly ingrained in the dust you vacuum up (you won't be able to detect it, but your cat will). The wind will distribute her scent and if she's within a pretty wide area, it may just be enough to entice her home.

Additional Behaviors (from Missing Pet Partnership)

The Silence Factor: This is a term that Missing Pet Partnership coined to describe the behavior when a sick, injured, or panicked cat will hide in silence. It is a natural form of protection for a cat to find a place to hide under a house, a deck, a porch, bushes, or any place they can crawl. The Silence Factor kills many cats because while the cat is sick or injured and hiding under a neighbor's deck, cat owners are typically busy "looking" for their cat down at the local shelter or they are busy posting flyers on telephone poles. Instead, the proper search for most cats in most situations is to conduct an aggressive, physical search of the immediate area while understanding that the cat might be close by but hiding in silence.


The Threshold Factor: This is an interesting behavioral pattern that Missing Pet Partnership has observed with displaced cats. Many of these cats initially hide in silence, but eventually break cover and meow, return to their home or the escape point (window or door), or finally enter a humane trap. While some cats take only hours or a few days to reach their threshold, many others take several days (typically ten to twelve days) before they break cover. We suspect the threshold is reached due to their thirst, although more research needs to be conducted into this behavior.


Never give up. Cats have been found after months and even years.