Generally, when cats run away they don’t go far at first. It’s important to start searching immediately & to try to keep your cat ‘engaged’ and in the neighbourhood. Call your cat on a regular basis Go around your area when it’s quiet, calling – rattle a food tin. Your cat is possibly hiding somewhere quite close, afraid to come out or to make a sound. Physically search neighbouring gardens, etc. The following website gives excellent advice; have a look at it – www.missingpetpartnership.org
Drop flyers into your neighbours’ letter boxes asking them to check sheds & bunkers & to leave those doors open for a while in case your cat is locked in & afraid to come out while there are people around. (Leaving the doors open is important, as cats can be spooked and afraid to come out. They may be hiding & may not be seen if somebody just looks in.)
Put flyers (ideally backed by brightly coloured card to attract attention) on trees, entrances, in local shops, vets, etc. Use a few words in large type to summarise your message. Don’t identify yourself & withhold one identifying mark or characteristic of your cat, so that you can verify that someone who contacts you saying they have found your cat is genuine. Beware possible frauds, especially if you have offered a reward.
If you can, borrow a trap & set it in your back garden &/or put your cat carrier in the garden with something with a familiar smell inside; your cat may come back to that.
Leave food outside your house, front and back.
Some people have claimed that leaving the cat’s litter tray outside the back door encourages them to return so it may be worth trying this trick.
If you are aware of stray cats in your neighbourhood check that area. Cats that stray often join colonies.
Ask neighbourhood children to look out for your cat – children often see more around the area than adults do.
Contact local vets & put flyers in their surgeries. Contact other welfare organisations & advertise in newspapers.
The following are websites on which you should advertise: – petsireland.com, ispca.ie, Gumtree.ie, ie.Adpost, www.findmypet.ie, lostandfound.ie, (this site has a link to Facebook & other social networking sites), caravetgroup.com & ncdspca@eircom (for north Dublin.) Also contact other local rescue groups around your area. You should also post on any online social networking sites to which you belong.
If your cat is still missing after a few weeks it’s worth putting up new flyers & checking those that you put up earlier as they can be moved or covered with other more recent flyers; also remind people that your cat is still missing.
Ask your Postman & Refuse Collectors if they have seen your cat & to watch out for him/her & talk to delivery people etc. Some of the Local Authorities keep records of any animals found dead on the road – not a nice thought, but at least you would know what happened.
Above all, don’t give up hope. Keep looking – persistence often pays off. Your biggest enemies are discouragement & lack of hope. Cats often return safely after quite long absences and they are good survivors. Cats have been known to be found months later by diligent owners who refused to give up. The cat may be scared & may not recognize you, so be prepared with gloves, food & a cat carrier. Soon you’ll be back to your familiar routine, but with a newfound sense of safety & prevention. Please let us know if you hear news & if the cat is found, don’t forget to remove flyers & to let people know.