General Question

Supergirl's avatar

Best way to find a lost pet?

Asked by Supergirl (1696points) February 29th, 2008

Our indoor cat went through an open door two days ago. We haven’t been able to find her. We have walked our neighborhood and made posters to put up, how else can we look for her? She is microchipped.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

12 Answers

mtcnajjar's avatar

use the software the chip comes with, ask around the neighborhood cats also have a great sense of direction so it might find its way back on its own

Randy's avatar

yeah, check the software, ask your neighbors and check local animal shelters frequently untill your cat is recovered.

fortris's avatar

I would keep looking around the neighborhood, and put some food and water out.

jamms's avatar

My cat leaves all the time. If you want it to come back put some of its food outside your door. If its close it will smell the food and come back when they are ready

warrior36's avatar

put up signs in all of the surrounding areas. it works.

hearkat's avatar

Also send posters to all the shelters, animal control offices, pet stores and veterinarians in the area.

sccrowell's avatar

Hello Supergirl!
First, I want to say how very sorry I am to hear that your cat is missing… I truly know how you feel, as I recently experienced the same ordeal. It was my daughters cat “Valentine” and although he wasn’t mine, Valentine was still in my care and I was still responsible for his safety & well being. Since, I don’t know how old you are, I will speak to you as an adult. I’m going to give you alot of VERY GOOD information. It’s what you do with it that can and will make all the difference. I will cut & paste this information and add links when it is possible.
Here goes. An indoor-only cat that escapes outdoors is a very different situation than an outdoor-access cat that suddenly vanishes. There are three basic categories of missing cats: displaced indoor-only cats, displaced outdoor-access cats, and lost outdoor access cats.

In general, any cat that is transplanted into an unfamiliar territory is a DISPLACED CAT. The majority of these cases involve indoor-only cats that accidentally escape outdoors. However, outdoor-access cats become displaced when they escape from their carrier while at the vet’s office, escape from an RV while traveling on vacation, or escape from a vehicle during a car accident. We’ve even discovered that some outdoor-access cats can become displaced when they are chased from their territory, ending up hiding ten houses down in a neighbor’s yard, yet too disoriented and afraid to come home! In these circumstances, even though the cat is technically an “outdoor-access cat,” it is a DISPLACED CAT and you should use the advice found on this page.

Indoor-Only Cats (i.e. Cats Who’ve Escaped Outdoors)
If your cat has escaped and is displaced outside or into unfamiliar territory 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, he/she is probably closer than you think! The investigative question and mystery to solve when an indoor-only cat escapes outdoors is: WHERE IS THE CAT HIDING?
If your “indoor-only cat” has escaped outdoors or has escaped into an unfamiliar area (escaped from vet’s office, escaped due to car accident, escaped while camping, escaped from kennel, etc.) You will have to think like a cat! Like your cat. You think that sounds funny? Just keep reading…

When an indoor-only cat escapes outside (or when any cat is displaced into an unfamiliar area), 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. Cats that are afraid (and cats that are injured) will seek areas of concealment such as under a deck, under a house, under a porch, or in heavy brush and they will not meow! Meowing would give up their location to a predator. Their behavior 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 in silence!

The method resulted in the recovery of thousands of “missing” indoor-only cats (and displaced outdoor-access cats) is the same method used to capture feral cats—the use of a humane trap. We call this “trap-and-reunite” or “TAR.” These wire cages are available for rental from your local shelter or veterinarian or for sale at hardware stores, pet stores, or online at Humane traps have a trip mechanism that when triggered by a cat (or other small animal), will shut the door and contain a cat inside.

Sadly, cat owners are told to post flyers and to drive twenty miles to check the animal shelter cages but they are not instructed to set humane traps in their yard or in their neighbor’s yard where their indoor-only cat is likely hiding in fear. Animal shelters are not providing this information because they are not trained in this new information! Missing Pet Partnership hopes to provide training in lost pet behavior to animal shelter staff and volunteers so that more cat owners are given information that will help them know how and where to search for their missing cat. You can help us by telling the volunteers or staff at your local shelter about our organization and website!

Recovery Tips – Posters 5+5+55
creative and highly effective tool for recovering lost pets with a method that we call the “FIVE + FIVE + FIFTY-FIVE RULE.” Here’s how it works. At any typical intersection, you only have five seconds and five words to get your message across to drivers who are passing through the area where your pet is missing. We have had success in recovering lost pets several weeks after they disappeared by helping people create posters using the following rules: Link: Link:

Make them GIANT so that people driving by cannot miss them.
Make them FLUORESCENT so that the color attracts the attention of everyone.
Put them at major intersections near where you lost your pet (and in areas of sightings).
Keep them BRIEF and to the point.
Let them convey a VISUAL IMAGE of what you have lost.
Most pet owners post lost pet FLYERS that are 8 1/2” X 11” white pieces of paper and the only message conveyed is REWARD LOST DOG or REWARD LOST CAT. These are too small and very few people passing by even notice these. Even if drivers did manage to see the words “LOST DOG” very few will pull over to read the description of the lost pet.
If instead you create a highly visible poster that conveys the message “REWARD LOST DOG—YELLOW LAB” or “REWARD LOST CAT—SIAMESE” or “REWARD LOST DOG—TAN TERRIER RED COLLAR” that every person driving by could quickly read, you will increase your probability of developing leads that will help you find your pet!

Follow these steps for making effective Lost Pet Posters and Flyers
In addition to posting FLYERS (8 1/2” X 11” sheets of paper), you will also want to make highly visible giant, fluorescent POSTERS that have your lost pet FLYERS attached to them. Fluorescent posters are highly visible, effective, and harder for people to tear down. They have proven to be highly successful in the recovery of lost pets, especially lost dogs. Your goal with these poster boards is to make them very big, very noticeable, and very brief.

Items Needed: At least 10 giant (28” X 22”) fluorescent orange poster boards; 2 large black permanent markers (do not buy water soluble markers); 10 sheet protectors; duct tape; and 10 flyers with color photo of your lost pet.

Creating the Posters: Use giant (28” X 22”) fluorescent orange poster board available at most office supply stores. The size and fluorescent color will attract the eye of everyone who drives by. This is your goal! You will hang this vertically (not horizontally). At the very top, in 5-inch black letters, print the word REWARD. At the very bottom, in 5-inch black letters, print the words LOST DOG (or CAT or PARROT). In the center of the poster, use clear packing tape to secure a plastic sheet protector. This is where you will slip in your FLYER and then seal the top portion with more tape to protect it from weather.
Well, I’ve got to get to bed. Good luck! If you would like some more links, I’ve got many!
Let me know.

Supergirl's avatar

We put food outside our front door and we heard her meowing at 3 this morning! Thanks for all the great advice!

hearkat's avatar

YAY! I’m so glad she came home! :D

sccrowell's avatar

That is so awesome… I am very happy for you!

gooch's avatar

Hey my dog has a chip but the vet gave us no software. I was told that if he was brought to a vet or a pound they had a reader which they could get my info to let me know they had him. I am curious about this software you guys mentioned. Does it tell you where he is like a tracking device?

Supergirl's avatar

I think they meant the company who keeps track of all the information and can “flag” your pet if they get lost. The largest company is called Avid ( It’s not like a tracking device. One thing I was glad for——having my cat’s micrichip number when calling shelters.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther