Most cat owners will have experienced times when their cat didn’t appear for their evening meal but turned up next morning when they had spent all night awake worrying about them. However, for an outdoor cat, if a few hours turns into half a day, then a day, going out to start physically searching for them is really the best thing to do.
So where do they get to?
According to research carried out by Kat Albrecht, a US police officer turned pet detective, if an indoor cat gets outside it tends to remain within a 3-house radius of their home and for cats used to going out, this is widened to a 17-house radius. As cats are territorial creatures, they hide in silence to protect themselves often for weeks before venturing out. They don’t normally meow because they want to avoid attracting the attention of cats whose territory they may have strayed into.
If your cat goes missing don’t give up searching too soon as they are known to stay hidden for weeks on unfamiliar territory. Contact neighbours to physically search their gardens and outhouses calling out their name, paying attention to any small safe areas a cat may take refuge in, such as under garden furniture, decking, behind log piles, bins and in dense shrubs and bushes and even at a height as they could be stuck up a tree and afraid to come down.
At the same time, post on pets lost and found websites such as:
petsreunited.com and on the Nextdoor App and put up posters in your area.
We asked Mark Turner, a local vet, for his own views which reiterates the advise given by the pet detective.
‘As an owner it is always stressful when your cat goes missing. Fear is a natural emotion in these circumstances. A good place to start is to put up posters in the neighbourhood and when they were last seen. Knocking on doors can spread the word. If you are a new cat owner a microchip is a good idea as are the wearable pet-tracking devices.’
As microchipping for cats is set to become mandatory in 2022 from 20 weeks of age, it’s a good time now to arrange an appointment with your vet if you have been thinking about getting your cat cat microchipped but have not get got round to it.