Searching for a lost cat.
This is one of the BEST articles I have come across with information on finding a lost cat. Cats act differently then dogs when they are lost and this is great information. We thank MISSING PET PARTNERSHIP for allowing us to reprint their article on how to find a lost cat. Please visit them at www.lostapet.org
LOST CAT BEHAVIOR
Lost "Indoor-Only" Cats":
If your indoor-only cat has escaped outside there is good news--your
cat is probably not lost at all! That is because it is likely that your
cat is hiding and, depending upon the terrain, may be closer than you
think! When an indoor-only cat escapes outside, it is a case of where is
the cat is likely hiding (usually near the escape point) in fear. That
is because cats are territorial and your cat's territory was inside of
your home. Once a cat is transplanted into unfamiliar territory, it
seeks shelter because it is afraid. A cat that is afraid (and cats that
are injured) will seek areas of concealment such as under a deck, under
a house, under a porch, in heavy brush and they will not meow! Meowing would give up their location to a predator. It has nothing to do
with whether the cat loves you, whether it recognizes your voice, or
whether it can smell you--it has everything to do with the fact that a
frightened cat will hide and be silent!
Kat Albrecht was interviewed about Lost Cat Behavior in this article
Pauline Phung’s site is the best resource for how and why you should humanely trap a lost cat.
Lost Outdoor-Access Cats:
TRAPPED – Your cat could be up a tree, on a roof, under a house,
inside a neighbor’s basement or shed. This would mean that your cat
would likely be within its normal territory, usually a 5-house radius of
your home. It is imperative that you obtain permission from your
neighbor to enter their yard so that you can look for your cat yourself.
DO NOT rely on asking your neighbor to “LOOK” for your cat—their idea of
looking will be to call if they see your cat sitting on their patio!
INJURED – The behavior of an injured or sick (or displaced, panicked) cat is that they will hide in silence. We have called this “The Silence Factor” and this behavior KILLS CATS EVERY DAY! Hiding in silence is a protective mechanism that cats use to protect themselves from predators. What this means is that before you print up lost cat posters or drive down to your shelter to look for your lost cat, SEARCH under and in every conceivable hiding place on your own property and on your neighbor’s property! It is quite possible that your cat is injured and in need of medical attention and you will need to use a flashlight and crawl under your house in order to save his life!
DISPLACED – Cats that are chased from their territory either by dogs, people, or other cats who beat them up and cats that are panicked by fireworks will often become “displaced” into unfamiliar territory. Many of these cats, once their adrenaline levels have subsided, will work their way back home, often showing up the next day or a few days later. But many of these cats, especially those with skittish temperaments, will be so panicked by the experience that they will hide in fear and will be too afraid to return home. We’ve seen many cases where a cat was “lost” but was actually just three houses away, crouching and hiding in fear inside a neighbor’s yard! These cats could have jumped a few fences or crossed one street and yet they behaved like they were feral cats, afraid of humans. Some meowed and let their owners pick them up—others darted and ran from their owners and had to be humanely trapped. Understand the critical importance of conducting an aggressive, physical search for your cat within your cat’s immediate territory (neighbor’s yards) in order to determine if your cat is still within the area. The failure to conduct this type of search is why so many cats are never found by their owners and end up being absorbed into the feral cat population. For more information on this behavior, read Kat Albrecht’s book The Lost Pet Chronicles.