Friday, October 26, 2007

Cat - What To Do When Your Indoor Cat is Lost

OUR CAT GOT OUT

One night our "indoor only" cat, Julian, got out through an open second-story window and wandered off. We quickly learned the next morning how little we really knew about what he would do and how to get him back. Julian is the sweetest, most adorable cat, but he's dumb as a box of rocks, and we knew he would have no idea how to get home. We hadn't thought he needed a collar, being an indoor cat, nor did he have a microchip implant with our information should he be found and taken to the local humane association or vet's office.

For two days my husband and I walked our neighborhood for five blocks in each direction, asking everyone on the street if they had seen him. We put up fliers with his picture and enlisted the eager help of young neighbor children. We called his name over and over as we walked with a bag of food that we would shake. One of our friends brought a dog to sniff him out. Julian never answered and was nowhere to be found. It was like he has simply vanished.

Finally we found him about fifty feet from his point of escape, hiding in a neighbor's garage. The garage door had been open most of the time he was missing and we had walked right by him numerous times, calling his name. In spite of that he didn't meow and he didn't come home. We figured it was because the home had two large dogs and he was frozen with fear. Don't overlook a home or yard just because it has dogs that live there! Our cat was right under the nose of two so-called retrievers who never noticed him. We went back around the neighborhood and told everyone that we had found him. By that point they cared too!

DON'T FREEZE UP

Don't fall into the trap of GRIEF AVOIDANCE where you tell yourself the cat is already gone for good; you won't be able to avoid the pain of loss by saying it's just a cat. Your cat is probably within a five block radius and can most likely be found!

We learned from the shelters and vets that any cat can become "displaced" when moved, chased or otherwise dislocated from its territory, like jumping out a window. For indoor cats, the inside of its home is its territory, so it will quickly feel displaced once outside.

WHAT DO CATS DO?

Disoriented and afraid, most "indoor only" cats will NOT come to you even if they know your voice, recognize you or your scent, or hear the sound of food being shaken. Their instinct is to hunker down in a concealed place, USUALLY NEAR THE POINT OF ESCAPE. They will NOT MEOW because that would tell predators where they are. This is not because the cat does not love you; rather, silence is a scared cat's survival instinct.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Your best technique for finding the cat is to GO HOUSE TO HOUSE in your neighborhood, checking every area in which a cat could conceal itself, such as under porches, in bushes, under decks, up trees, anywhere small enough for a cat to fit. Ask your neighbors if you can search their property. All of ours said yes and most got out and helped. Call a few friends to help you. More people can cover a wider area and the moral support will help you. If it is nighttime, use flashlights as they will reflect the cat's eyes. Remember: cats do not run away; they are waiting to be found.

You can also rent a HUMANE TRAP from most humane associations for about ten dollars. These are also sold at home stores like Fleet Farm or Home Depot. The traps look like long cages. Set one up near your home by a door and put kitty's food inside. Once the cat gets inside to chow down, the back of the trap drops and he's safely inside.

You should also contact the police and let them know your cat is missing. They are the ones who pick up injured and dead animals from roadways and can let you know if a cat matching yours has been found. Also contact the local humane association and give them a description of your cat so they can identify him if someone brings him in. Call them daily and make friends with the people who answer the phone. Write their numbers down in one place so if you need to call the next day you won't have to look it up each time.

Of course, putting up fliers and placing an ad in the newspaper might help as well, but these methods are far less immediate than GOING THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH A FIND TOOTH COMB, ESPECIALLY NEAR THE POINT OF ESCAPE, AS SOON AS YOU FIND THE CAT IS MISSING.

Finally, don't lose heart! While it's hard to stay focused when you are emotionally distraught, remember that most cats get lost during their lives and most are found and return home. Unfortunately, lost cats need YOU to find THEM, not the reverse. You have to be persistent and determined. A methodical strategy is your best chance of getting him back. Our vet heard of a cat that was missing for 54 days, and due to the owner's persistence returned home safely. Don't give up!

Diana Rivers lives in Appleton, Wisconsin with her husband Michael and three cats: Marcus, Julian, and Ella. As soon as GPS locators get small enough, each family member will have one.

Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Diana_Rivers

Cat - What To Do When Your Indoor Cat is Lost

OUR CAT GOT OUT

One night our "indoor only" cat, Julian, got out through an open second-story window and wandered off. We quickly learned the next morning how little we really knew about what he would do and how to get him back. Julian is the sweetest, most adorable cat, but he's dumb as a box of rocks, and we knew he would have no idea how to get home. We hadn't thought he needed a collar, being an indoor cat, nor did he have a microchip implant with our information should he be found and taken to the local humane association or vet's office.

For two days my husband and I walked our neighborhood for five blocks in each direction, asking everyone on the street if they had seen him. We put up fliers with his picture and enlisted the eager help of young neighbor children. We called his name over and over as we walked with a bag of food that we would shake. One of our friends brought a dog to sniff him out. Julian never answered and was nowhere to be found. It was like he has simply vanished.

Finally we found him about fifty feet from his point of escape, hiding in a neighbor's garage. The garage door had been open most of the time he was missing and we had walked right by him numerous times, calling his name. In spite of that he didn't meow and he didn't come home. We figured it was because the home had two large dogs and he was frozen with fear. Don't overlook a home or yard just because it has dogs that live there! Our cat was right under the nose of two so-called retrievers who never noticed him. We went back around the neighborhood and told everyone that we had found him. By that point they cared too!

DON'T FREEZE UP

Don't fall into the trap of GRIEF AVOIDANCE where you tell yourself the cat is already gone for good; you won't be able to avoid the pain of loss by saying it's just a cat. Your cat is probably within a five block radius and can most likely be found!

We learned from the shelters and vets that any cat can become "displaced" when moved, chased or otherwise dislocated from its territory, like jumping out a window. For indoor cats, the inside of its home is its territory, so it will quickly feel displaced once outside.

WHAT DO CATS DO?

Disoriented and afraid, most "indoor only" cats will NOT come to you even if they know your voice, recognize you or your scent, or hear the sound of food being shaken. Their instinct is to hunker down in a concealed place, USUALLY NEAR THE POINT OF ESCAPE. They will NOT MEOW because that would tell predators where they are. This is not because the cat does not love you; rather, silence is a scared cat's survival instinct.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Your best technique for finding the cat is to GO HOUSE TO HOUSE in your neighborhood, checking every area in which a cat could conceal itself, such as under porches, in bushes, under decks, up trees, anywhere small enough for a cat to fit. Ask your neighbors if you can search their property. All of ours said yes and most got out and helped. Call a few friends to help you. More people can cover a wider area and the moral support will help you. If it is nighttime, use flashlights as they will reflect the cat's eyes. Remember: cats do not run away; they are waiting to be found.

You can also rent a HUMANE TRAP from most humane associations for about ten dollars. These are also sold at home stores like Fleet Farm or Home Depot. The traps look like long cages. Set one up near your home by a door and put kitty's food inside. Once the cat gets inside to chow down, the back of the trap drops and he's safely inside.

You should also contact the police and let them know your cat is missing. They are the ones who pick up injured and dead animals from roadways and can let you know if a cat matching yours has been found. Also contact the local humane association and give them a description of your cat so they can identify him if someone brings him in. Call them daily and make friends with the people who answer the phone. Write their numbers down in one place so if you need to call the next day you won't have to look it up each time.

Of course, putting up fliers and placing an ad in the newspaper might help as well, but these methods are far less immediate than GOING THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH A FIND TOOTH COMB, ESPECIALLY NEAR THE POINT OF ESCAPE, AS SOON AS YOU FIND THE CAT IS MISSING.

Finally, don't lose heart! While it's hard to stay focused when you are emotionally distraught, remember that most cats get lost during their lives and most are found and return home. Unfortunately, lost cats need YOU to find THEM, not the reverse. You have to be persistent and determined. A methodical strategy is your best chance of getting him back. Our vet heard of a cat that was missing for 54 days, and due to the owner's persistence returned home safely. Don't give up!

2 comments:

Robyn Hickson said...

Honestly, thank you for your article, it made me get out the flashlight and have one more look, and sure enough, I found her, at the back of my yard hiding behind some old boards. I feel so much better, thank you thank you!!

Raj said...

Hi me and my wife are in the same predicament as yourself. Our indoor kitty slipped out our 1st floor apartment window two days ago and hasn't been spotted since.

Unfortunately for us we have a woods at the back of our house making it harder for us to find him.

Your story has given us motivation to not lose hope. Any tips would be welcome