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Just need some advice, lost cat

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, new member here, joined to tell my story and see what everyones opinion is.

We lost a cat last Sunday, he has been gone 7 days now. Late at night the cats pushed a screen out of our back porch door, and all three escaped. I realized immediately the next morning (My first clue was that I got a full night of uninterrupted sleep!) and went out to retrieve them. We have many doors and visitors at our house so it's not completely unheard of that our guys get out, they typically stay very close to the house and want to come back in by the time I discover they've slipped out.

Well, that morning I went searching and two of our cats returned immediately. There was no sign of the third one however. Since then I have put up posters about 3 blocks in most directions, searched on foot, on bike, shaken treat cans, searched at night with a flashlight, called the shelter regularly, etc. but there's been no sign of him. I occasionally get calls saying he's been seen, but when I go search I find a grey/white cat similar to him in the vicinity, so I believe most of the calls have been false positives.

Our lost cat is a goofball, he's very sweet but is all indoor cat, I'm not sure how well he can watch out for himself on the street. I'm not even sure if he's still wandering, or if he's been adopted by someone.

I have more posters that I intend to spread in a few new areas, just to get a nice round circle from our house. And I will continue to walk the area a few times a day with a treat can.

Is our cat, no matter how sweet and goofy still a cat at heart? Will he probably be able to rely on his instincts to make it for a while until he's adopted, rescued, or makes his way back home? I'm not really sure what else to do at this point except to wait for him to make his way home, if he is able to, I'm just concerned that he's such a wuss that he won't even know how to.
post #2 of 8
There's some great information on the following sites - there is a lot to read so please go through it all carefully:

If you haven't already, look through the other threads in this forum - unfortunately, there are others who are facing the same situation. Some good advice has been posted in those threads.

One of the first things you should do is be absolutely certain your cat isn't trapped somewhere in your house. As unlikely as it might seem, sometimes cats find crazy places to hide, and not all cats will meow to let you know where they are. I heard a terrible story about a cat who became trapped somehow in a dropped ceiling. He never made a peep, no one knew he was there and tragically, he died. Look in places in your house you think your cat would never go into.

The same holds true for the outdoors. Your cat may have become trapped in someone's basement, garage, shed, playhouse, etc. and could be too afraid to make any noise. Make up flyers and distribute them to each house within at least a two block radius of your house and ask them to search these places.

The good news is that most cats who are indoor only, or mostly indoor, will not wander far from home - maybe a block or two. Because they're very frightened, they tend to hide most of the time, and will not come out when they hear you call. It's possible you've walked right past your cat, but he's too terrified to come out. Don't be surprised that if you do actually see your cat, he runs from you.

I know of two situations where indoor-only cats slipped out of the house - one was gone over 5 weeks, the other 6 weeks. Both of those families found their cats had stayed in the immediate area and were able to trap the cats and return them safely home. Don't give up!!!
post #3 of 8
In a situation like this, you have to start to think like your cat. If he's been indoors his whole life and all of a sudden he's exposed to this wild unknown, he's more than likely going to hide. Check around your yard, in the bushes, in the neighbor's bushes. Don't just bank on him coming back as soon as he hears your voice; he could be absolutely terrified and needs to see you as well. Comb every inch of your property, then move onto the neighbors' (with their permission of course).

In the meantime, set out some bedding, clothes, toys; anything that has his scent, the other cats' scents and your scent outside in the front and back of the house. Cats have an amazing sense of smell and this could be just what he needs to lead him back home.

Good luck!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
This is pretty unbelievable, but I swear it's true.
I posted my story around 11:00AM, at 12:40PM just after lunch someone called saying a cat had wandered into there yard that matched a description a neighbor had given them. I ran home from work to check him out, and it was our missing cat!

His collar is firmly re-attached and he's back with his brothers now, I hope he enjoyed his week of free-roaming adventures because it's the last he'll ever take!

He was 2 blocks away from our house in a lightly wooded area, and he wandered up into the back yard of a cat lover who feeds and collects local strays. He was very stressed out, panting and losing hair, very hungry, and they knew because he was declawed and clean and well taken care of that he had escaped a home.

I had spread posters much further than he actually ended up, and in many of the wrong directions due to false positive calls about cats that looked like him. I would say based upon my experiences that the most valuable thing to do is the MOMENT you realize a cat is missing and possibly not coming back on his own, get his description or a poster/picture out to everyone within a block of you. Talk to as many people as you can so that they actually care about you or care about finding your cat rather than it just being a random poster. We have a very good neighborhood for cats and everyone is very friendly, I think this is a big part of him coming home safely because everyone knew to look out for him.

A color poster ended up being about $.39 each, whereas a black and white poster was $.08 each, for photocopies. If I had to do it over again I would get black and white only, the color were not that much more helpful for our cat (grey and white) though it might help for a cat with differing colors.

I had been in and around the area where he was lost/hiding several times with treats, flashlights, whistles, etc. and he never showed himself to me, so I can attest to the fact that a cat may be too scared to come to you even if you are making noise.
post #5 of 8
Thank God he made it home safe and sound!
post #6 of 8
You must be SO relieved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is terrific news.
post #7 of 8
Wonderful news!!! So happy that you and your little guy have been reunited!

Hopefully your kitty now realizes the great outdoors isn't all that great...
thank goodness he's home now, safe and sound.
post #8 of 8
I'm so happy your cat has been found! How far from home was he? My cat has been missing for 7 weeks now and I have no idea if he's alive or not, and if so, where he could be. I did all the same things as you, if not more, but I have yet to be reunited with my cat. :-(
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