- Do not delay in taking action or wait for your cat to return to you – the first 48 hours are crucial.
- Inform your neighbours; show them a picture of your cat and ask them to check their gardens, sheds, garages and outhouses for him or her, and contact you immediately with any sightings.
- Search thoroughly. Pay particular attention to places where your cat may have sought shelter or have become trapped (garages, sheds, empty houses).
- When searching, keep your phone on you at all times, call your cat’s name and carry an item that carries his or her scent, such as a blanket or toy.
- Search at different times; for example, try the early hours of the morning, when the streets are quiet.
- Leave your cat’s used litter tray, bedding or toy in your garden as the scent may help to lead them home. You can also empty a vacuum cleaner bag in your garden, as it will contain various scents from your home
- If your pet is microchipped, contact the database that holds his/her microchip details and flag your pet as missing:
Petlog – 01296 336 579
PetTrac – 0800 652 9 977
Identibase – 01904 487600.
- Create a missing poster for your pet and distribute this as far as you are able, ensuring that the roads surrounding your home (or where the pet was lost) are covered. Do this as soon as possible, and remember that in addition to sticking the poster to lamp-posts and trees, you can also post it through letterboxes and ask local businesses to display it in their shop windows. Animal Search UK offer a professional leafletting service; http://www.animalsearchuk.co.uk/lost-pet-posters.php.
- Make your poster as detailed as possible – include the date in which your cat was last seen, the name of the road he or she is missing from and a postcode, and be sure to mention whether your cat is microchipped, wears a collar, or has any distinguishing features. Include at least two contact numbers and a clear, recent picture.
- Email the poster to all veterinary surgeries within a ten to twenty mile radius of your home, asking them to display the poster somewhere in their establishment that it is view-able to the public, and to contact you immediately if they encounter your pet. This website will provide you with the contact details of all vets within 50 miles, ordered by distance: http://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/find-a-vet/.
- Do the same with cat charities; you can find a list of charities by area here: https://www.catchat.org/index.php/cat-rescue-centres-uk-ireland.
- Share the poster on your own Facebook and encourage friends and family to do so. Post it on local and relevant Facebook groups.
- Don’t just share the poster on Facebook – tweet it, even if this means creating a Twitter account for this purpose alone. Include relevant and local hashtags in your tweet as this will widen your audience – for example #Greenwich or #SELondon. You can also tweet the poster to relevant organisations and groups on Twitter, asking them to share it.
- If you have recently moved home, check your old address regularly.
- If you have a cat-flap that is activated by a chip or magnet attached to your cat’s collar, then prop your cat-flap open. If your cat looses the collar, she may not be able to access your home.
- Contact your local council and ask them to inform you of any road accident involving animals in your area. You can find a list of local councils and their contact details here.
- You can also register your pet as missing with the following websites:
- If someone claims to have found your cat, ask them to send photos of him or her, and never meet the individual alone or in a secluded place. If you have offered a monetary reward for the safe return of your cat, then do not transfer or send this – hand it over face-to-face, once your pet is safely back in your custody.
- More great advice is available on the following web pages;
- Animals Lost and Found in Kent