Contact neighbours to check sheds and garages
Before you go for a full search party, try contacting your neighbours and ask them to check their garages and sheds to see if your cat has accidentally got locked in. As you’re walking around the neighbourhood, call the cat’s name and listen out if you can hear a cry from any garages.
Make sure someone is home
If you don’t have a cat flap, make sure someone is at home while you’re out searching just in case your cat decides to come back. Some cats do just like to go for a walkabout for a few days. If the weather takes a turn and it starts to rain, it can be heartbreaking to think of your pet out in the cold weather, but actually bad weather can help as it will drive your cat home as it seeks shelter.
Go out searching
If you know your cat, you will know where their favourite hang out is. Make sure you head along to their most frequented spots and take a box of treats with you to loudly shake and call their name.
Put up posters
Make sure you put up posters locally, including lampposts, notice boards in shops and post through peoples doors to spread the word and make them more aware.
Make sure they are collared and chipped
If your cat is chipped, then if they’re taken to a vets the vet can call you and reunite you asap. If they are not, make sure you call all of the local vets and check your cat hasn’t been brought in.
Put up a post on your social media similar to your physical poster and ask friends and family to share it. Also message your local community Facebook groups to get them to post about the missing cat.
Let your other cat help
If you have another cat, it can be tempting to keep them locked in whilst the other one is missing due to your worry. Don’t do this! Make sure your other cat is allowed out exploring as they normally do, more often than not they will lead you to your other cat who might potentially be trapped or injured. Also if you follow your other cat it will give you an idea where they normally spend their days.
Use smart front door cameras
Front door cameras such as Nest and Ring will often pick up any movement going past their house including animals. Check with your neighbours if anyone has one and ask them to look at motion alerts from the time you last saw your cat.
If you move house
To avoid your cat getting lost when you move house, keep them indoors for at least 3 weeks to avoid them getting disoriented or trying to head back to their previous territory. This time indoors allows them to settle and regard the new house as ‘home’ marking their scent.
You can also rub butter on your cats paws on the first day you arrive, instead of stressing and trying to dart out the door your cat will enjoy sitting down and licking the butter off its paws thereby slowly becoming familiar with their surroundings.
Whilst they’re kept indoors, keep sprinkling some of their used cat litter around the garden so that it warns off other cats and also is a familiar scent for them when you do let them outdoors. Once you do let them out, do it just before a usual mealtime, if they’re hungry they will more likely come back to the sound of dinner rattling in the box or packet.
The need and want to return to their old home can be very strong for a cat, particularly if the house isn’t very far away. Make sure the new owners have your contact details in case your cat returns.