HELP! The Cat Got Out! – What To Do In The Event Kitty Gets Outside
Every feline pet parent’s biggest fear is that their little sofa lion will somehow end up in that massive jungle of dangers outside. Having cats myself, it hits close to home when I get calls asking for help because a kitty got out. Even the most cautious pet parents can have this happen, be it a storm knocks a hole in the wall, company or repairmen accidentally let the cat out, or a thousand other reasons.
The most important thing is to keep calm and do whatever you can to help aid kitty in finding their way back. For this reason, Little Shelter has compiled a checklist of things that can be done to help increase your chances of getting your cat back.
- 1. Call the shelter/rescue you adopted from. – A rescue’s job doesn’t end at the time of adoption. We truly care about the cats who are adopted from Little Shelter and we want to be the first to know if a cat goes missing. Most rescues have some public outreach (such as facebook) where they can help give exposure to your search. In addition many rescues microchip and will be notified if the cat turns up in the local shelter or at a veterinarian’s office. Plus many rescues have additional services (such as rentable traps, TNR specialist) and may be able to help you get your cat back.*If your cat is not already microchipped we highly recommend doing so, collars can come off but a microchip is under the skin and every shelter/rescue/vet check for them.
- 2. Check, check, and check again! - Just because you think the cat got out, still continue to check. (Unless you have visual confirmation) Cats have a knack for getting into places that would seem impossible for them to fit! They can also become very creative when hiding from a scary situation or looking for a new napping spot. So you should still check around the house even when you can’t find the cat in any usual hiding spots. (Try shaking a treat can, a favorite toy, or whatever tricks make your cat respond)
- 3. Print out COLOR flyers of the cat with a recent GOOD photo, specifically point out any unique markings. With smart phones and other technology that’s so common today, it’s pretty easy to get a clear photo of your feline friend. Make sure to get a photo from a well lit location, where details and colors are very clear. If there is a unique marking, make sure to photograph that. (ex: one of my cats who’s coloring is white and tabby has white legs, but his left back leg has a large black spot on it.)
- 4. Place flyers of your cat in EVERY mailbox in a 2-3 block radius. You’d be surprised how often kitty gets out and bolts into the neighbor’s cellar/shed/etc… especially during times of the year where people are cleaning and moving things in and out of storage. Even if they can’t see a cat, they might here mewing and notify you.
- 5. Put his litter box (dirty) outside near a door/window or other house access point - the cat can be attracted to his own scent and find his way back.
- 6. Leave out his favorite canned food or put out warmed wet food or warmed canned tuna (the stinker the better), the smell will attract him.
- 7. Humane traps can be rented from Little Shelter, or purchased at places like Home Depot/Lowes. Put the trap near a door or side of the house, cover the inside with a light blanket or thin cardboard (some cats are deterred by the feel of the wire) and place high value stinky food in the back of the trap (such as tuna) you can place a small amount of tuna to make a trail going from front to back to "lead" the cat into the trap. Cover the trap with cardboard or a blanket so it becomes a closed cave. (effective hiding place for a scared kitty)
- 8. The first 24-48 hours are the most crucial, do not wait to see if the cat will come back on their own. The quicker you put the previous steps into action, the higher your chances of getting your cat back safely. If the cat does not return within 48 hours, do not lose hope. Contact the rescue again and ask for further advice.
We hope this checklist will be helpful in the case you should ever need it. However the best thing is to try and prevent this situation from occurring all together. Here are a few things you can do to help proof your house: