Best Friendsâ€™ Animal Radio recently interviewed Kat Albrecht, author of The Lost Pet Chronicles, and she gave some very good advice on finding a lost cat:
Most people donâ€™t differentiate between searching for a dog and searching for a cat, which is a huge mistake, because they are like apples and oranges. Cats are territorial, so when an indoor cat escapes outside, they feel displaced into unfamiliar territory. A displaced cat (and also an injured or sick cat) will hide and they will be silent. So walking around and calling the catâ€™s name doesnâ€™t work.
What that cat does is to look for the first place where she can hide, and she will stay there. Weâ€™ve had people who have recovered their cats six weeks later, and the cat was two houses down, living under the neighborâ€™s house or under their deck.
Weâ€™ve actually recovered lots of cats by treating them like ferals and setting a humane trap. These cats will sit there and watch and even listen to their person calling, but they will usually not respond.
Eventually, some of them will reach a threshold point between the seventh and tenth day where they finally do meow or they go into the humane trap, but many of them, especially the ones with skittish temperaments, just continue to hide.
As for a cat who is used to going outside, we really do advocate making your cats indoor-only. However, if an indoor/outdoor cat does go missing, it may be that theyâ€™ve been chased by a dog or beat up by another cat. They may run into an unfamiliar area, and they may hide in fear as well, or than can be transported out of the area by crawling into a car or the back of a truck.
Outdoor cats are still territorial. They donâ€™t generally travel great distances by themselves, so theyâ€™re going to be found within their territory or just beyond it. Youâ€™ll want to get into your neighborâ€™s yard to search under their porch, under their house, and in potential areas where the cat is trapped, because, again, the behavior of an injured or sick cat is that they will crawl in or under something thatâ€™s familiar to them and they will hide. And again, they wonâ€™t answer your call.
Community Programs Special Project Coordinator
Best Friends Animal Societyjoy@bestfriends.org