Your cat has probably been spooked by something in the environment, OR your inside cat has gotten out, become overwhelmed, and found themselves a nice & dark hiding spot where they feel safe.
The mistake that 98% of people make when they lose their cat is that they wait to see if their cat will come back.
Please do not delay, do not waste time, and DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR CAT. She/ he is waiting for you to come and find him or her.
There are the usual things that you can do to find kitty, like call all the shelters, use social media, look around your yard, etc.
- The moment your kitty is out, the MOMENT you realize, you must get out there and start looking for your cat. Look around the immediate surroundings. Look inside your house and under houses. Look in your yard, in your neighbour's yard. Your cat is probably either in your yard somewhere, or your neighbours. It is unlikely that he or she will wander far in those first critical moments. Get a torch and look at night. Ask your neighbours to keep an eye out, show them the picture of your cat.
-If you have a dog then take your dog on a harness or lead with you to try and see if your dog can sniff the cats trail and get your dog to bark.
-Put the dirty cat litter or litter tray outside - so many people have had their cats turn up shortly after doing that.
- Walk around in the quiet of the morning or evening and take a warm BBQ chicken (or sardines or tuna etc) with you or whatever your cat loves that has a good scent trail ability. Shake a cat biscuit packet or tap on a cat food tin with a spoon....any noise they relate to food time . GO NEAR DRAINS AND CALL OUT. So many cats are hiding or trapped there.
Look up at trees and roofs as cats get trapped.
Search in deserted places like cemeteries and building sites or parks etc .
- Leave food out for your cat at the exit point. Do this every night, no matter where you think your kitty is.
- Walk near bushland in the quiet of the morning or night time if safe to do so with a warm BBQ chicken and call out to your pet (have someone with you for safety). I have seen cats roaming around near bushland near me only at 9pm onwards and up to 5am when dark.
- Print fliers of your cat. Do this immediately. Find a clear picture of your cat, with a large font saying LOST CAT with a detailed description plus time & day they went missing. Mention that your cat might be trapped in a garage, shed, under a house or other hiding spot (asking people to check their sheds/yards). Drop them in your neighbours letter boxes. Especially the others over your back fence.
- Put the posters up on posts where someone that is walking past or in a passing car, can notice. State description of cat and last sighting, and your details. Put it on every pole within a 200 meter radius of your house. The posters need to be up straight away, ie, the day that you lose your cat. Put them at the local supermarket, vets, bus stops, major intersections, schools, crossings, train stations
- Get a humane cat trap. These can be bought for $30-$40 online, or you can hire one from Kennards. Watch some youtube clips on how to set it, practice setting it, then set it in your yard. Do this every night, and keep an eye on it. Apologise to any other cats you accidently trap.
- Do the usual stuff as well, calling shelters, vets. Call them every few days to see if they have picked up your cat. Do not just call once. Keep calling them.
These things are essential for you to know:
- Your kitty might be able to hear you, but probably will not respond if it is scared. They are surprisingly silent when out in the unknown.
- Most cats break cover at the two week mark because of hunger and thirst, and will start to become more visible. This is when most sightings happen, and when you will start to get calls. You will not get calls if you have not put posters up in your neighbourhood.
- If you are not looking for your cat, and not leaving food out for it, it will start to wander further and further away from the exit point to look for a food source. This is why it is so important to start this process immediately.
- IF the reason for escape is a new pet, like a dog, you must contain that pet, or keep it under close supervision until your old cat is back.
- If you have moved house, or if your inside cat has escaped, it is probably still very close to the exit point. Do not be fooled by its silence and reluctance to respond to you.
- Do not give up on your cat. I have found cats 2 months after they have gone missing. It takes an average of 2-4 weeks to find them, and it all depends on your persistence. If you do nothing, the chances of you finding your cat are about 5%. They usually do not just walk back in the door themselves. Your cat is waiting for you to find it.
- People will tear down your posters. Cat haters, council workers, other posters, etc. Go for walks every few days, and replace your posters. Do this over and over.
You will get news from someone, somewhere.
- Keep going, keep calling, keep putting those posters up, sometimes it takes months. Hopefully it will not, for you.