How to Find a Missing Cat

Important steps to prevent and reunite missing cats

First of all, make sure your cat has some kind of identification such as a microchip or collar with tag.

A collar is a visible way of showing that a cat belongs to someone, but will not enable people to contact you unless it has an identification tag. Be sure to get a breakaway collar that will release if it gets stuck to something so your cat does not become trapped.

Microchips are a form of permanent identification. They are not visible but can be found by scanning the animal at a shelter or veterinary clinic. If you find a cat, be sure to have them scanned for a microchip.  A Microchip requires you to update the microchip registry any time you move your home or change telephone number.

Make sure you have a photo of your cat that shows clearly what she looks like. If you ever need to make flyers, you’ll have a photo to use.

Tips to find a missing cat

If your cat has literally just run out of the door, don’t chase her. Keep her in sight and try to persuade her to come to you.  This may involve getting low down, calling her, not looking directly at her and reaching your hand or a finger out to see if she will come up to you. Shaking the treat packet may also help. An indoors-only cat will want to get home again, so make sure she has a clear path back indoors.

If you are not sure where your cat is, search carefully inside the house in case she is under furniture, in a closet, or some other hiding place. Cats can get into some surprising places, especially if they are fearful and new to your home. I once had a cat hide inside a box-spring mattress, and similarly they may be able to get inside your settee, open cupboard doors or drawers, hide in small gaps behind furniture, get in behind the washing machine or fridge, hide behind books on shelves, or curl up underneath your clean linen.

Since most cats are found close to home, search very carefully in the immediate area. Look in places where a scared cat might hide such as in bushes, in sheds, under decks. Remember to look up too, since cats like high places and might be hiding in the branches of a tree or on the roof of a shed.

It’s a good idea to search at a quiet time of day. After dark, you can search with a flashlight. You might see the light reflect back from their eyes.

When searching, take a treat packet with you and shake it from time to time, but remember a scared cat may not dare to come out to you.

If your cat is an indoors-only cat, you could put her litter box outside close to the point where she left. The idea is that cats have great noses and will be able to smell it. She may find it reassuring, come back to use it, or wait nearby.

Make a hiding place right by the door. A cardboard box turned upside down and with a hole cut out to make an entrance will do. Put some of your cat’s bedding inside it. You’re providing somewhere for your cat to hide in case they come back when you aren’t there to let them in. You can put food and water nearby as well.

Speak to neighbors and ask if they have seen your cat. Ask them to carefully check hiding places on their property, or if they will let you search their yard for your cat.

If you find your cat in a tree and believe her to be stuck, call local arborists to find one who will go up to get your cat. Sometimes shelters will keep a list of arborists who are willing to rescue cats from trees.

Make ‘lost cat’ flyers with your cat’s photo on them and put them up in the neighborhood where people will see them, such as on utility poles. Include your phone number so that people can contact you if they see your cat, but don’t put your name and address for security reasons.

Post your ‘lost cat’ flyer to social media too. Make the post public so that it is shareable, and share it to any missing pets and neighborhood groups in your area. Again, don’t post your address.

Call your vet and tell them your cat is missing. You might be able to put up a flyer at their office too.

Visit your local animal shelter and animal control in case someone has taken your cat there. Some will take details of missing cats to keep on file.  

If you have recently moved, you should also search back at your old address, as there have been cases of cats going back to where they used to live.

If you want to put out a trap for your cat, your local shelter, community cat rescue, or animal control may be able to assist.  They will charge a small fee for trap rental. Also, many areas have a pet finder business that will try to locate your missing pet.

Above all, keep searching close to home. This is the most important thing to do.

When you find your cat, remember to update social media postings and take down the flyers you put up in the neighborhood.

Good luck finding your cat!

“Like” and follow us on Facebook at




Speak Your Mind