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How to Find a Lost Cat
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM
How To's
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Take these simple steps

One of our employees lived on the second floor of an old apartment building where the windows had to be propped open to prevent them from slamming shut. One day she came home from work late and could not find her cat, Ming. She searched and called. It was over an hour before she noticed that her bedroom window had slammed shut and there was a big hole in the screen.

Apparently, Ming had gotten stuck in between the window and screen, tore her way out and jumped from the second floor! She quickly looked out the window to the cement below, which, thank goodness, was empty. She went outside, called and called, walked around the neighborhood, and sat down on the building's stoop for a long time, hoping that she could transfer her scent to the stoop and Ming would smell it. To her surprise, she heard Ming meowing at 3 a.m. the next morning. Ming is now a healthy 17 years old and has long forgotten the stress she caused her owner.

All pet owners fear the possibility of a lost pet. Pets may be lost for a variety of reasons including running away from home, running in a strange place if frightened, theft, or even the scenario above. Some steps you can take to increase the likelihood of getting your pet back include:

Cat wearing a nametag

  1. Get an identification tag for your pet. This can be the single-most important item that will help you and your pet get reunited.

  2. If your pet becomes lost or runs away from your residence, do a thorough search of your house or apartment, including accessible ventilation areas and behind or inside of large appliances like dryers or refrigerators.

  3. Next, check out the neighborhood where your pet was lost, talking to residents and leaving your phone number and description of your pet with them. If you have a computer or know someone who does, make up a quick flyer with a recent picture of your pet, if possible, and place them in a wide radius around the neighborhood.

  4. Call out to your pet (everyone the pet is familiar with should do this) and shake a box of food or bag of favorite biscuits. Stop, look, and listen for sounds of your pet.

  5. Do what Ming's owner did and sit or place a piece of clothing right outside your home so your pet can 'smell home.'

  6. Don't delay calling the veterinary clinics in the area, then the animal shelters, Animal Control, police, and finally, check out "found pet" ads in the newspaper. Consider placing a "lost pet" ad and offering a reward.

  7. Because of possible scams, you should keep some of your pet's identifying characteristics from the public. Have the finder tell the characteristics to you.

We sincerely hope that no pet owners have to experience losing a pet, but please be prepared, just in case.

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