General Question

girlofscience's avatar

How can I successfully locate the parents of this babygirl?

Asked by girlofscience (7550points) February 16th, 2009

A beautiful babygirl showed up on my doorstep on Friday night. We have been caring for her since, but she is clearly someone’s pet. As an active volunteer in animal rescue, I work with tons of feral, stray, and domesticated cats, and I know the difference when I see it. There is no way that this girl was living outside for more than a few days. She is completely loving and unbelievably affectionate. (She appears to have been trained to give full hugs and kisses!) She is about five years old and spayed.

I put up tons of signs (with a picture) in my apartment complex and brought her to the vet to see if she was microchipped (she’s not). I’m not sure what else to do. This girl has to be someone’s pet, and I’m sure someone is looking for her. Strays and ferals simply are not ever this calm and affectionate. (Also, she’s spayed and her ear is not cropped, which indicates that her owner spayed her rather than having been spayed as part of a TNR program.)

Have you ever lost your pet? If so, how was he/she successfully returned to you? Have you ever found a pet and successfully returned him/her to his/her owners? If so, how? Any other suggestions?

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37 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I would report her found to the SPCA and the local animal control with her description, because people call there for lost pets.

Good luck. Poor kitty.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, we lost a pet. The same one, three times over a period of 16 years. The first time, some kind person took him in and kept him locked up for four days before seeing our signs all over the neighborhood and bringing him home for a reward. If they’d left him alone, he probably would have come home on his own. It was only in the next block.

The second time, he was trapped for three days in a dugout mechanic’s trench in the garage of an unoccupied house. We found him only by searching the neighborhood. When I spotted the cutout pet door in the garage door, we ran up the driveway calling for him, and we heard him crying weakly inside. My son got the garage door open and jumped down into the trench, which had sheer sides. Later we went back with a sheet of plywood and covered the hole, leaving a note on top explaiing the reason.

The third time, our aged, emaciated kitty was picked up as a stray. Only his meds, carefully administered with every meal, were keeping him going (but he still had a powerful purr and loved to sleep with us). The well-meaning citizen who called animal rescue actually signed his death warrant because no one at the shelter knew about his meds. By the time we tracked him down three days later (after many fruitless calls, visits to the shelter, and notices all over the neighborhood), he was too far gone to save. Again, if the people had let him be instead of trapping him and calling rescue, he’d have come home that night as usual, and we’d probably still have him.

Allie's avatar

You could alert local shelters. Let them know that you found a pet, what she looks like, etc. If anyone comes in asking about her maybe they can have you on a call list or something.

elijah's avatar

Alert the SPCA. I know if one of my pets went missing they would be the first people I called. I’m sure you could just leave your number with them if you don’t want to take the cat to them. It’s very nice of you to take the time to put up signs. Most people don’t care enough or want to take time out of their day to help animals.

Darwin's avatar

All of the above are good suggestions. In our area we also have a Lost Pet Hotline where you can call and leave a description of your find, the general area, and a contact number. In addition, our newspaper offers a free three-day lost-and-found ad. You can also put together a flyer and drop a copy off at each near-by vet office as well as at various places where people buy pet supplies and at all the local shelters. You might also put up signs a bit beyond your apartment complex, in case she wandered in from a house.

Good luck!

cak's avatar

What about Petfinder or local things like Craig’s List. Local vets, shelters and even free ads through newspapers, online. Some offer free “found” listings. Charlotte Observer, at one point, offered free “found” listings, not sure if they still do.

Are you sure she wasn’t dumped on your doorstep – maybe someone knew you would do the right things and care for the her. People are, at alarmingly high rates, dumping animals, due to the economy. We have two fosters, right now, due to that very reason.

In my neighborhood, people know I am the animal lady – I won’t turn one away. I will do the right thing and work to place it in a good home. I often have “help me” animals, on my steps. It’s heartbreaking, I wish they would ring the doorbell and just let me know. I’ve found too many empty boxes. :(

eponymoushipster's avatar

I know one guy who’d take her in.

girlofscience's avatar

@everyone else, great suggestions so far! I’m on it! I’m going to do everything suggested by all of you because this girl is missing her mommy and daddy.

poofandmook's avatar

remember when I said the negative lurve button would be bad? I really wish I had one right now. GRRRR

Jeruba's avatar

@cak, I am shocked at your comment, although as I think about it, I’m not doubting it. Have you seen reports or figures to that effect?

II guess I would never think of such a thing. Even when we were on such hard times that we literally didn’t know how we’d scrape up another meal, we never let our cats go hungry (and we never got into their dinner either). The idea that people would ditch their faithful pets when things got tight is very distressing.

cak's avatar

@Jeruba – there have been many comments and reports about abandoned animals, especially in cases of foreclosures. When it becomes a choice between food for children and food for dogs(or any animal) the choice is pretty clear. It’s very sad.

cak's avatar

abandon pet

If you google, several articles will come up and I see blog reports from April, on. It’s pretty bad.

Jeruba's avatar

@cak, oh, how sad. I understand the choice and how painful it must be. It is just a heartbreaker.

I used to think we must have an invisible sign on our house that said “Pushovers Here” in secret cat language. Most of our pets found us.

greylady's avatar

If you live in a small town, your local radio station may have a free “lost and found” time you can use- write a description that the announcers read once a day for a week, or until someone calls to say the animal has been found.

asmonet's avatar

You should put up signs outside of your complex, in grocery stores, pet stores, gas stations and pharmacies. You should also alert local shelters and vets. And you might want to post on sites like:

Quick google search brought those up, I’m sure you could find more.

And our cat is indoor/outdoor, most cats come home on their own, dogs are a different story. Cats for the most part should just be let go, IMO.

I totally thought you found a baby human at first.

Jeruba's avatar

Including a picture would probably help a lot.

Darwin's avatar

@Jeruba – I had a supervisor who, when he moved from Florida, had his two cats euthanized because it was too difficult to bring them. Fortunately I just had to work for the man. I didn’t have to like or respect him.

susanc's avatar

I think the pet abandonment/foreclosure connection is partly that people lose their homes
and move into rentals where pets are unwelcome.
Very bad.

Chip is good.

asmonet's avatar

@Darwin: What a fuckwitdickassbitchdouchebag.

Just sayin’.

cak's avatar

@asmonet – Sometimes I worry that you don’t express yourself enough! Please, let it all out!! ;) (I agree!!!)

asmonet's avatar

I have that same worry, I will try harder in the future. Thank you for your support and kind words. ;)

cak's avatar

@asmonet – you’re welcome!

Darwin's avatar

@asmonet – how did you know? Add in secret drinker and you got him.

antimatter's avatar

Place a message on your local radio or tv station

asmonet's avatar

If you’re looking for a really sick response, enjoy this.

eponymous was joking, no big. There are worse things in life.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@asmonet you are the best. EVAH

asmonet's avatar

Thank you, darling. I aim to please. ;)

girlofscience's avatar

Phew. That was exhausting.

I have posted flyers with her picture and description everywhere.

I have called every vet and shelter in the city to see if they had anyone report her missing, and I left my information with them in case someone does.

I have posted her online.

No luck, yet. :(

This girl is the most adorable sweetheart ever… I can’t imagine that someone wouldn’t miss her. I just don’t get it. How could someone lose this beautiful girl and not care?

If no one contacts me by the end of the week, I am going to be her foster mother, and she has already been accepted into my animal rescue group’s adoption program. I will be bringing her adoption events weekly so she can meet potential parents, and I will be caring for her until I find the right forever home for her.

It is appalling and disgusting that people can just abandon their babies. I’m so glad this girl found me so I could give her another shot in life…

Thanks for all of your advice, guys. I just want her to find her real parents (if they care enough to miss her) because I’m sure she misses them.

Darwin's avatar

We found a cat like that once. He was a beautiful and sweet Maine Coon cat. At first we kept hoping to find his people so we fed him and let him sleep on the porch, and hence his name is Outdoor Kitty or OK. He gradually worked his way into the house and happily joined the rest of our cats.

Eventually we found out what had happened. It turned out that his elderly people had died within a few days of each other and the family didn’t realize they had a cat. In any case, he settled in with us and is sitting at my feet right now.

asmonet's avatar

So, what happened?

girlofscience's avatar

@asmonet: No one ever replied. :( I did everything that was possible, so if her parents were really looking for her, they would have found her. It’s very sad that someone would just abandon her like this.

Thankfully, since I am a volunteer with my local animal-rescue group, I was able to get her into our foster program. I have been fostering her, and she is still living with me. My animal-rescue group paid for all of her shots and medical treatment, and she is now featured on our website as an adoptable cat: Valerie. I cannot keep her permanently because I have three other cats with alpha personalities, and Valerie is very timid. She has to be kept separate from the other three cats at all times because she becomes so scared of them.

I have been taking her to the weekly adoption events, and she has been meeting potential parents. Hopefully she will find a loving home soon.

asmonet's avatar

Aw, too bad. But looks like you’re doing all you can. Good luck finding her a permanent home!

I checked out your website. I wish I could grab all of them but about eight of those babies in particular, soooo cute. :)

girlofscience's avatar

@asmonet: If you are located within 50 miles of Durham, NC, please feel free to adopt from us!!! ;)

We are about to be hit with kitten season, so the more cats we can get adopted out before that (to open up more room in our foster homes), the better.

asmonet's avatar

Sadly, I live in Northern Virginia.
I just had to give up my dog and cat because of financial issues causing us to move into a tiny apartment that hates animals. :’(

Luckily, I get her back as soon as I can find my own place. :D

But if I move in the future, I’ll look you guys up.
I know a friend in Durham, might be looking for a pet soon for his kid. I’llnudge him your way. :)

Jewel's avatar

I found a very old dog once. Her mistress had gone on a trip, leaving the old girl with her master, and she had gone looking for her mama. I found her mistress by the name and address tag on her collar. The woman and her husband cried and cried when they realized that they had nearly lost their dear friend.
Last year, I lost my deaf 19 year old terrier. He had slipped out the gate to mark the garbage can and the neighbor boys frightened him. He ran down the road and then didn’t know where he was. I was miserable and frantically doing everything I could to find him.
24 hours later I got a call from a man who had found my dear friend, footsore and confused, walking down the center line of the coastal highway in the dark – 20 miles away from home and headed in the worng direction. I had hooked a tag to his collar a few months earlier that had his name and phone number on it!
I will never have an animal again without that information on a collar. It works.

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