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Lost Cat

Losing your cat is a gut-wrenching and painful experience. But it happens, and even to the most careful people.

So it's important to maintain focus and optimism, as hard as it can be, and to begin steps to find him IMMEDIATELY. The best chances to recover a cat are in the first few days after his disappearance:
  1. Put towels, litter boxes, toys outside your home - anything that would have your cat's scent or smells that are familiar to him. Cats can smell their litter box from far away.
  2. Make fliers. Use a large picture of your cat. It should be recent, full color, and in focus. Otherwise, keep it as uncluttered as possible, but include the date and location he was last seen, any distinguishing characteristics about him physically and/or personality-wise, and your contact info.
  3. Canvas the neighborhood. Put up the fliers, talk to people, and call out to your cat.
  4. Talk to your Mail Carrier and other delivery folks and give them a flier. They are a great resource - they're out there every day and know the neighborhood well.
  5. Provide controlled return access by leaving your garage door open slightly (enough where he can crawl under, but too small for raccons, etc.), with the litter box and food right next to the opening. If you can leave the inside door open slightly he can go into the house. Also, leave your side gate ajar so he can walk into the backyard.
  6. Visit the local shelter(s) vets, etc., and bring a copy of the flier with you.
  7. Go online - Use "Lost Pet" sites such as: The Center For Lost Pets, My Lost Pet Alert, Paw Boost, and Missing Pet Network, among others. Also post to Nextdoor, Craigslist, PetFinder, etc. Post electronic versions of your flier, and other pictures that you may have.
  8. Put out traps in case the cat comes back at night or other quiet periods. Traps must be checked frequently. For more info on how to trap and where to borrow the equipment, please click here for the Trapping Section in the Knowledge Base.
  9. Let the CRC know. If you're in the South San Francisco Bay area, submit a request (use the link at the top of the page). Then local colony managers can be on the lookout for him.
  10. Check out the links below for more detailed tips and other options.

And even if he doesn't run up right away, it doesn't mean that all hope is lost. We've had cats found and reunited with their families weeks or even months after they first went missing.
Finding a lost cat: Checklist (PAWS/SJACS)
MissionReunite.org: site/group dedicated to finding lost pets
What should I do?: In-depth Checklist w/local resources (Fat Cat Rescue)
Finding your lost cat: Discussion and strategies (Best Friends)