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Lost and Found Pets

Missing Cat Blakedwon November 2018 RSPCA Kidderminster


Lost & found pet advice

Losing a much-loved pet is heartbreaking especially when, as an owner, you never receive the 'closure' of knowing what actually happened to them. Every owner dreads losing their pet. Most of us have experienced the feeling of relief when our pet strolls in after being away for just that little bit longer than usual and tucks into their dinner as if nothing has happened!!

Cats in particular are natural wanderers, curious about the world and keen to explore, so it's not surprising that so many go missing. Most return to their own comfortable bed and familiar dinner-dish. However, it can be a traumatic for owners whose animals disappear for weeks and months. There's a special grief in losing an animal when you never do discover what became of them and are left imagining what might have happened.

Microchipping is a must!

When a stray cat comes into our care the RSPCA will check to see if the cat is micro chipped to see if we can trace the owner. We have reunited cats with their owners through this system and the majority of vets will micro chip at a cost of between £10 and £20.

How to keep your pet safe

You cannot stop a cat from exploring its world and it would be cruel to try. However, they are less likely to disappear if:-

  • They are happy and secure at home, with plenty of toys and stimulation. Some cats get lost after a house move, which can be stressful for them.
  • Have they been neutered? Unneutered tom cats tend to roam over a wide area looking for females and are more likely to get lost, as well as get into fights and be injured or even killed on the roads.
  • Are they micro chipped or at least wearing a quick-release safety collar with your phone number on?
  • Neighbours know the animal belongs to you.

What to do if your pet goes missing

  • Posters, Posters, Posters with picture and details with contact number...hand out to neighbours and anyone you see. Put up in local shops, pubs and supermarkets. Stick to all local lamp posts. (If it rains go and collect them and replace however it's best to put posters in plastic wallets so if it rains they don't go all soggy - the neighbours and council don't mind you putting them up so much that way). Also put one in your and friends cars - it amazing how many people see them this way. Make smaller flyers and push through every letterbox on your streets and the surrounding area. It is a good idea to offer a reward…of course this doesn't have to be money…a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers is just as good.
  • Knock on doors and ask neighbours to check their sheds and garages WHILE YOU WAIT…it's surprising how many people say they will check but as soon as the door is closed they forget. Knock on 10 doors either side of your house on both sides of the street.
  • Check to see if there are any empty buildings for sale in the area. If there are it is worth checking with the estate agent in case they have shown someone round and shut the cat in. Also it is worth checking places where there may be builders in refurbishing a property in case the cat has got under the floorboards or in a cavity wall etc.
  • Look our for any abandoned vehicles, empty or semi-empty skips in case the cat has got in and can't get out.
  • Contact / check any community buildings where functions are held such as church halls, community halls etc. - in case your cat could be shut in a cupboard or toilet.
  • Register him lost at all vets/catteries/rescue homes within a 20 mile radius. Follow the link and click on the map to find rescues in your area
  • Leave food out and a toy of his.
  • Leave out an unwashed item of your clothing.
  • Put the contents of your hoover bag on your garden - it's full of smells that they will recognise and if doesn't bring him directly to your door will at least hopefully keep him in the area. Alternatively if you have a litter tray that has used put some of the used litter on the garden as this will have familiar smells in it.
  • Contact the local fire brigade and see if they have had to rescue any stuck cats.
  • Ask the local children to look - they are great for knowing all the local hidey-holes and love helping. Also have a word with your local post-person and milk man if there is one that delivers in your area. Also try and enlist the help of people walking dogs as they tend to go "off road" in the fields and parks.
  • Ask the local radio station to announce he's missing and give out a contact number.
  • Put an advert in the local paper.
  • Contact your local environmental services dept (bin men) they keep a log of all animals picked on the roadside ... I know this is not a pleasant call to make and hopefully it will come back as negative.
  • Go out after dark when it is quieter with a friend/partner and walk round the local area gently calling every so often (give him a chance to answer you). Keep talking as you walk round that way if he is in the area he will hear you.
  • When you talk to vets and rescues, ask them about any known local feral colonies and where they are based. If Kitty has been missing for more than a few days s/he might have wandered further afield and might be "hanging round" near a colony for security (safety in numbers) and company. If vets/rescues know locations of colonies, these might be useful to get some ideas of where to start looking.
  • If you have Pet Insurance check your policy to see if they will assist with advertising costs or reward costs for a lost cat. Some policies cover as much as £1000 of local advertising and upto £500 reward.
  • Email the lost poster to all the people you know who live in the area and ask them to forward to others they know. This is a quick way to get your poster circulated.

Finally have a look at these sites - they are all EXCELLENT


Good luck and stay positive.

Hopefully your little one has just got itself shut in a shed somewhere.

And finally…IMPORTANT NOTE: When you get your animal back remember to remove ALL the posters and inform all vets / rescues / websites etc that they are home.

If your pet is not found don't give up hope

Pets can be re-united with their owners months after they disappear. Don't torment yourself with fears about might have happened, cats in particular are great survivors and most of us know people who have given homes to animals who have turned up on their doorstep.


What to do if you find a cat

Don't assume it's a stray! Many cats love to visit their neighbours and if the feline in your garden is friendly and seems well-groomed, well fed and cared for; the chances are that they have a home. Get to know local animals and their owners in the area so that you can recognise any strangers.

If they seem hungry, scruffy, un-cared for and keeps hanging around then ask your neighbours about any missing pets. You could put found leaflets through their doors, contact your local RSPCA, Cats Protection League, or ask your vet's advice.

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