How to search for your cat​!

If you see your indoor cat get out

Calmly follow your cat, but don't run. Try to keep the cat in sight, but normally when an indoor cat gets outside, the smells and the sounds tend to be overwhelming and the first thing they want to do is hide close to home.

Any loud noises like shouting their name or clapping your hands will tend to further startle them. If they stop and look at you, drop immediately to a kneeling position, don't look them in the eyes or stretch your hand out. Using your calmest voice, call the cat. If there are no distractions around you, they will sometimes come right to you.

But what if you don't?

The cat has now disappeared under your porch. You can see him in the farthest corner. So how do you get his attention? Set out some yummy cat food and water for him nearby. Then you retreat, and you wait. You want the food as near to your front door as possible. If you are lucky, the cat will come out when he is calmer and eat and come in the house.

You have returned home and your cat is missing. Here are some tips to help you find a missing cat:

Do not put a litter box out

Putting out the litter box can do more harm than good. The smell can attract other cats or animals that can intimidate your cat. This can cause them to retreat farther or could cause a fight with other visiting felines.

Post, post, post

It’s time to post on social media. Include a picture if you have one and don’t forget your contact information.

Take a large cardboard box and flip it over

Cut a cat sized hole in the side and place it outdoors with some soft bedding inside. Weight the bottom down and make this a safe place your cat can return to. Place food and water nearby.

Go looking when it is quiet

The best time to search for a lost cat is when the world is asleep. Go out with a flashlight and food. You can take a few cans of cat food with you, stand out in the open and pop the cans, or shake a treat jar. The sound can travel in the quiet.

Flyers and posters everywhere!

Include a picture of your cat if possible (see example below). Place your flyers in grocery stores, at vet offices, feed stores, anywhere you can. Post them at eye level. Don't stuff them in mailboxes. Walk your neighborhood with these fliers, put them on telephone poles, and talk to anyone who walks your neighborhood. Try to use bright coloured construction paper as a frame to attract attention.

To create a free poster online visit:

Check the trees on your property!

Make the calls

If you cannot find your cat it is time to make the calls! Contact the Chatham animal shelter (Pet And Wildlife Rescue 226-996-9969). Call you vet and report your cat missing. If you have recently moved and brought the cat with you, check out your old address as well.

Keep checking your posts

Check local resources and social media for the lost and found ads daily. Make a map of where you place your posters and flyers. Check every 3 days to be sure they are still there. Keep tape, pushpins or thumbtacks, black felt markers and white poster board in your car, so you can make up any that might go missing.

Go door-to-door with a photo of your cat

Talk to all the inhabitants of the house, kids especially. Past experience has shown that little girls make the best finders of lost cats.

Keep the hope alive

There are countless stories of people who have lost cats for long periods of time, only to have the animal show up at their door one day.

Keep a current photograph of your cat handy.

Don't just make it a cute face shot, make it a full body shot so the cat can be identified with the help of this photo if the need arises.

Microchip your cat.

Don’t hesitate! Call you vet or check when a microchip clinic is taking place at the local shelter and get your cat microchipped. It is a safe, inexpensive way to safeguard your cat.