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Will My Cat Come Back Home?
Tips to Bring Him Back

Will my cat come back home? Well, this question is not new to any cat owner. Cats are naturally curious and playful. Their primal instincts drive them to explore the world they live in. This attraction to environmental stimuli is one of the reasons why many cats tend to squeeze through crevices, breeze into boxes, and wander outdoorsgetting lost in the process. 

In a study conducted by the AHA, short for American Humane Association, they estimated that about one in three pets would become lost at some point in their lifetime. In the US alone, around 10 million pets are lost or stolen every year.

Will My Cat Come Back Home? MISSING PETS STATISTICS

In this article, we will discuss useful tips and tricks on how to find a lost indoor cat. We will also take a look at how to avoid them. But first, let us answer these common questions related to missing cats and kittens.

Why Would an Indoor Cat Run Away From Home?

Here are the primary reasons why cats run away from home:

They don’t consider their new home as theirs

If you recently moved out of your old place with your cat, there is an increased risk of losing your cat. Why? Felines are known to be territorial by nature, and if they do not perceive your new apartment or new home as part of their territory, they may try to escape and go back to the old house. Even if it is miles away from where you currently reside, they are motivated enough to look for it.

To indulge in their natural curiosity

Cats are born with heightened interest and natural instincts to assess their surroundings for both prey and predators. They are extremely curious about anything that captures their attention. This is the reason why despite having a cozy spot to sleep, eat, or drink indoors, they still seem entertained for all things outdoors. Example, a door unintentionally left ajar may tempt an indoor cat of new exciting sights or scents that are too compelling to resist. Other forms of distraction can be as simple as low-flying birds, rodents rummaging through the trash, the beguiling smell of plants, or anything that can pique their interest.

They are looking for a potential mate

During mating season, cats have a higher tendency to escape. Experts say that cats who haven’t had sterilization are in a great predisposition towards running away from home to look for a potential sexual partner. Female cats are notorious when it comes to their desire to mate. As the weather begins to become warmer, female felines start to be in heat, caterwauling (cat calling) and soliciting males to be mated. Satisfying their instincts is a great temptation to be outdoors as they want to reproduce.

Will My Cat Come Back Home?

will my cat come back lost cat poster

To understand the answer to this question, you should know that cats are highly intelligent species. Although they do not have built-in navigation app like Waze or Google Maps in their system, most cats will try to find their way back home. During the first few weeks, they likely won’t ramble too far away from where they got loose. However, some lost cats may panic at finding themselves in a foreign land. Their fear will turn them into a completely defensive mode. They will run away even at the slightest sound or movement. They will be too frightened to show themselves to anyone, including their owner.

Tips on How to Find a Lost Cat

Knowing what to do when you have missing pets is important.  Here are the most effective search methods and strategies to find the cat that escaped accidentally from your house:

1. Perform a Physical Search

We all know that cats are notorious for hiding under the couch, in between home appliances, and under the bed sheets. And most of the time, they do not want to be found. Unlike dogs, cats want to take over the household and control their time.

In many cases, they want to remain hidden behind speakers, walls (yes, walls!), and kitchen cabinets. So, before you assume your beloved kitty is missing, try to find the cat and comb the entire house. Call them by name, and even if they don’t usually respond to you “come out” command, it improves the odds.

If you suspect that your cat accidentally got stuck in a vent, walls, ceiling, or other areas that are impossible for you to reach, you can use a flexible wireless inspection camera, which you can easily connect to a smartphone. 

Here are some photos that were taken using a flexible inspection wire with a tip camera:

Click any of the image below to enlarge

This lost cat was found and rescued from the ceiling, with the use of the long flexible camera.

tool or gadget to find missing cat or trapped cat in walls or ceilings

If you still can’t figure out where your cat is, search outdoors. Do not waste time because cats do not usually run far away in the first 24 to 48 hours. Start with your garage, yard, storage units, sheds, and all possible areas around the house such as beneath the porch. Timid cats tend to hide in the lawn or behind any object in the backyard to avoid other animals and strangers. Finding a lost cat is never easy but do not panic. While doing your search, ask neighbors and pedestrians while showing them your cat’s photo. Knock on doors of your immediate neighbors on all directions.

2. Place Used Litter Box in Front of Your Door

Many individuals are against this method, but there are a lot of cases where fur parents benefited from this claim. You might have heard this before, but we will mention it anyway—cats can smell as one mile away. That is why placing your cat’s used litter box in front of your house works.

If you have a baby monitor, you can leave it near the outdoor cat house so you can hear faint meows or get notified of movement. See following photos of screen grabs using a baby monitor shared to us by a fur-parent:

Thankfully, the cat was safely brought indoors the next night. His parents waited by the door at the same time he was recorded lounging by the door.

3. Set up an Outdoor Cat House with Your Used Clothes or your Cat’s Bed

Now, before you open a new browser or tab to type the words “lost cat what to do” on google, go outside and set up an outdoor cat house. Why? Because most missing cats try to get home on their own. That is why it is crucial that they have a roof under their head when you are not waiting at the door. Bring some of your used clothes and place them on top of their bed. Leave a bowl of their favorite food and fresh water too. Fearful cats will try to return home after dark when there are fewer people on the streets. So, make sure that he or she can smell his belongings by the door. Besides, you’ll want your cat to have a place to sleep in while you are waiting for him/her indoors.

4. Put up Posters within the Vicinity

This might be a pretty old technique, but it is useful. There may be Facebook groups and websites for lost animals but, keep in mind that not all people use the internet. It will not only provide your contact info, but it makes other animal lovers out there to be on the lookout. So, start printing and posting flyers to spread the word. Get tapes and push pins or staple guns for use on different surfaces. The best spots are local bulletin boards at the library, community center, laundromat, and grocery stores, as well as street intersection poles. Just be sure to ask permission first before posting them.

If you need help with creating a poster or flyer, comment below, and we will try to contact you as soon as possible.

Please see the sample poster below:

missing cat alert will my cat come back home

Also, if you have recently moved out of your residence, extend your search to your old neighborhood. Cats are intelligent, and there are instances where owners lost and found cats on their old apartments and homes.

We recommend that you make one as early as possible. Your “missing cat” or “lost cat” flyer doesn’t need to be fancy or colored but make sure to write legibly and in bold, visible letters. Be sure that the words MISSING CAT are large enough for people to notice immediately. And just like the sample photo above, add contact info at the bottom and cut about a third of the dotted vertical lines so they can easily be torn off.

5. Join Lost and Found Pet Groups in your Area

Most communities have a local lost and found pets pages and groups on Facebook and other social media sites. Be sure to join them and ask the administrator if you can post your missing cat flyer on the page. Once they approved your post, ask members to re-post and share the digital flyer. Check the page/group from time to time to get updates on any sighting of your missing cat. Also, you can use your lost cat poster and share it across all of your social media networks or email platforms. Request from your friends and family to share it too!

people with pets cat groups

6. Report Missing Cats to your Vet

Even if your cat doesn’t have a microchip, alert your veterinarian as soon as possible. Some people bring lost cats to the vet as soon as they find them to get them checked. Some vet clinics also notify other branches or clinics to help widen the search. And If someone brings your cat in for a check-up, the first thing that they’ll do is to contact you.

7. Call or Visit Animal Shelters

This is one of the best possible ways to find the cat that you are looking for. Most cats that are in the shelter are either strays, abandoned, and of course, those who got lost after sneaking out of the house. When you call, provide a complete description of your pet, whether microchipped or not.

visit cat shelter

If you have time, visit them in person, even if they say they do not have a cat that fits your description. This is just to make sure because some pets who went missing for days can become too dirty and some may have new collars if there are concerned individuals who temporarily adopted them.

8. Inform your Microchip Provider

Cat collars come off too. That is why many cat owners turn to microchip system. It can help identify missing cats but should never be used to find one. Microchips are your pet’s ticket to go home, but only when someone sees them and brings them to the local cat shelter or veterinarian. Some microchip providers have services such as missing pet flyer generators, search groups, and other options which aid individuals in finding their lost pets. If your pet has a microchip, call your microchip provider and discuss options on how to collaborate and find your missing pet.

inform microchipped provider

9. Set up Safe Cat Traps

Not all of us have humane cat traps, so instead of buying one, try to borrow or rent from a local TNR (trap-neuter-release) group or cat shelters. Do it as soon as possible because there are instances when they are all rented out or borrowed by other people.

If you can’t find available humane cat traps for rent near you, check the link below for prices and discounts from Amazon.

havahart single feral or missing cat traps

One of the best tools for getting back an escaped cat is a humane cat trap, especially when it is set-up with a food bait. It is safe, yet, many cat owners are reluctant to use this tool. One reason is that some people are afraid of capturing a raccoon or skunk or other wild animals. Yes, they can accidentally be trapped, but you can just set them free anytime. Other than that, many fur parents with missing cats say that they want to wait first for their cat to come back. This is a huge mistake because cats wander off at times. And it has been proven that if you place traps immediately, especially if they are still in the area, there is an increased chance of getting them back. And most often, it’s just true that if you don’t trap a cat, you can’t get them back.

10. Contact Professional Help

Do you know that there are pet detectives? Well, it’s true. If you have tried all of our tips to find a missing cat, maybe it is time to hire a professional. Depending on your area, lost dog or cat detectives typically cost around $200 for a search operation within the vicinity. They have gadgets like heat scanners to verify if cats are just stuck in the ceiling, as well as endoscopic tubes to check a car’s engine area. Before booking a search and rescue, be sure to inquire first and make sure that they are experts in locating a missing cat.

We know that one of every fur-parents worst nightmares is to lose a cat. And like what Haruki Murakami, a renowned novelist (and one of the famous men who love cats!), once said, “Cats just disappear sometimes.” And that is the reason why we scoured the internet, browsed books, and read various studies on how to find a missing cat—because they just go missing.

If you enjoyed this article on tips to find a missing cat, please do share on various social media platforms such as Facebook so we can help those who are asking “will my cat come back home?”

We hope and pray that you find yours, and be reunited as soon as possible.

Spoil your Pet. Never Run Out of Supplies. Never Lose Them Again.

2 Comments

  • Avatar Aj says:

    I agree with what you said, even if some people say that leaving used litter box outside is a myth, it worked when my cat went missing. Found her smelling the litter by the front door after she got lost for a couple of days! So I say it’s really worth a try!

    • Pet Expert Team Pet Expert Team says:

      Hi Aj, thanks for sharing your experience. And yes, there are organizations who do not advocate this practice due to various reasons such as attracting other aggressive cats or wild animals nearby. That is why, we also suggest to take precautions when trying our recommendations. Also, please note that the content of this PetExpert.info is not meant to replace a veterinary advice. Always remember to seek professional help. 🙂

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