tips for finding lost cats

Top 10 Tips for Finding Lost Cats

Have you ever lost your cat? If the answer is a “no”, then we hope that you never do. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Many people lose their pet cats and it goes without saying that it’s a horrible and heart-breaking experience. As a matter of fact, millions of pets go missing every year and among those, a great number never make it back home again. Accidents are a part of life, and with notorious little creatures like cats, one can say it’s even inevitable.

Here are the top 10 tips for finding lost cats that work very well.

cat lost on the tree

1. Post-Colored Pictures of Your Lost Cat in and Around the Nearby Areas

We know it’s a no-brainer but don’t wait around for hours before taking this step! It’s one of the most traditional ways of finding a lost pet and has certainly proved to be effective especially when a reward is associated with it. Therefore, post a colored picture of your cat at the nearby parks and stations and other busy places so people can recognize your pet instantly if they happen to spot them somewhere around your neighborhood. And the reason why we’d recommend a colored image is that a black-and-white photo is of no good since people on the lookout won’t be able to tell what exactly their real color is even if you write it down in the text. This is the most basic step toward finding your lost kitty.

2. Go Door-To-Door and Leave a Flyer

This can be a little expensive with all those printed colored copies but it still is one of the most effective methods out there. Bet! Even when people see your sign hanging around, the chances of them recalling your contact number to get back to you could be slim. However, if they have your contact details and your kitty’s picture right at their door, they are more likely to call you regarding your lost cat. Also, you don’t need to worry about a sudden rain ruining your poster. Going door-to-door will be time-consuming no doubt, but it adds an extra personal touch to the whole scene and people will most likely keep a better lookout for your poor kitty cat.

3. Provide a QR Scan Code on Your Sign

A black-and-white squared QR code is trending lately. It can be easily be scanned through people’s smartphones to the URL that you have set it to. Upload your photo on social media platforms like your Facebook timeline or Flickr and set the URL guiding back to it. People who are aware of how to scan QR codes will now have your contact details and everything on their phones. They can even contact you through Facebook to help you reunite with your kitty. This is a much more convenient method since everyone these days has a smartphone in their hands. Not just that, you’ll also be saving yourself a lot of money on printed flyers which also happen to get lost or thrown away in trashcans sadly like much other junk mail. Surely, at least someone will get in touch with you and that’s better than nothing!

4. Refresh the Flyer After a Few Days

It’s human psychology! Once something’s been there for a while, people are likely to look past it. Honestly, how many flyers do we really bother to read on a daily basis?  After driving past your poster for a few days, it won’t stand out anymore or they might perceive that your kitty has already been found. Hence, after some days, if your cat is still not found, make sure to change the poster to something new and print it out saying “still missing since Monday, 1/24”. Providing the date will acknowledge the fact that it’s a current post. Plus, it never hurts to pour out your heart to evoke people’s emotions either. But keep it short!

5. Drop Cat Food In Various Places

And especially your kitty’s favorite treat. It’s supposed to work wonderfully! Cats are likely to stay in places where there is nothing but food. If your lost kitty is roaming around somewhere, the smell of their favorite cat treat or food will draw them back to the spot where you dropped it. That way, people around might also spot them, in case if you miss it.

Be responsible and ask your neighbors for permission if you choose to put food around their house. Most of the time, people don’t mind as long as you take care of it. It’s best to leave food in areas where your cat usually pays a visit or the places where you might have taken them for a walk. If you’re implementing this method to find your lost cat, we’d suggest you use dry cat food instead of wet ones, as they go bad easily, not to mention the stench!

6. Look for Them at the Best Time

Experts say that the best time to look out for a lost kitty is when the whole world is asleep, which is around 2 a.m. Go out with some food and a flashlight. Stand out, shake the food jar or open the tin can to attract cats in the nearby area. You’ll be surprised at how the sound of the tin can and the smell of the food can make cats appear out of blue within minutes of the can being opened. Many cat shelter personnel have the cat opening sound recorded and would play the tape around streets to rescue stray cats.

7. Watch the Footages of Your House Security System

Most houses today are equipped with security camera systems. It is extremely effective when it comes to finding your lost pet cat, just like it is effective in tracing burglars. Since it’s recording continuously 24/7, you can playback the footage and see if they are still in the house or they have left for a certain direction. This is definitely going to save you from a lot of trouble when finding your pet. Moreover, pets can sometimes be looted by burglars. The footage of the security camera will capture the face and help you take action against them and find your kitty.

8. Go to All the Local Pet Shelters

Kind souls always take cats and dogs to the nearest pet shelters once they find them. This is undoubtedly one of the best gestures someone can show towards another, specifically when it’s about their pet. Therefore, if you’ve lost them in any way, contact the shelters in the first place. There is a high possibility of them being there. Otherwise, if your cat wears a cat collar that has your contact details, the shelter home personnel is likely to contact you directly.

lost cat on the park bench

Related Post: Best Cat Collar

9. Try Social Media

It is undeniable how much social media has changed our lives. Therefore, it will also assist you in finding your lost pet. Post the details of your lost kitty on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms that you feel are likely to help you out. Ask your friends to share the post for a wider reach. Furthermore, there are lost pet websites, where you can find a probable match to your missing cat and bring them home safely. All in all, the internet is of great help!

10. Go All Around Your Area

Seek help from your friends and neighbors. Most importantly, don’t leave any stone unturned when searching for your pet cat. Don’t be shy to knock at the doors of your neighbors. It has been discovered that about 49% of the lost pets were located by their owners by searching the neighborhood. Be on the lookout for any intruders in the neighborhood. If you see any creep picking up cats or dogs, get a grasp of their appearance or a license plate (if they have a vehicle). Familiarize yourself with the laws regarding pets in your community. It is unfortunate that many people disregard the law of the community or do not realize its importance unless the situation gets out of their hands.

One Additional Tip

lost kitty

11. Call the Police

If you are in the slightest doubt that your pet has actually been stolen, call the police for immediate help. You must’ve come across classified ads in the newspapers or websites whereby thieves steal and sell pets for their own profit. Needless to say, there are catnappers, who steal and sell mostly cats to organizations for research and other purposes. The local police might have a list of such criminals. And there’s no better alternative than turning to the local police for asking them to help you find your lost fluffy friend.

Possibilities That Your Kitty May Have Been a Victim

When you cannot find your cat anywhere else, chance wise they might have been a victim of any of the following scenarios:

  • Someone might have picked up your cat thinking that he or she are lost
  • Taken by Animal Control
  • Someone rescued your cat thinking that he or she is a stray cat
  • Kidnapped by a professional catnapper for their research purpose
  • Kidnapped for other sick purposes (ritual sacrifice or dog-baiting)
  • Trapped by a cat-hating neighbor
  • Accidental kidnap such as your cat hiding in a vehicle and eventually gets driven out of the area

Physically Injured or Killed

    • Accidentally get hit by a vehicle when trying to escape
    • Attacked by other wild animals (raccoon or coyote)
    • Probably got involved in a fight with another cat or dog

Plan Your Strategy Carefully When Looking for Your Lost Kitty

With all the aforementioned scenarios in mind, all you’ll need to do is plan a strategy to recover your kitty. Time is of the essence and hence you’ll need to perform the following actions:

  • Check your backyard: If you keep your cat indoors, they might have slipped out into the yards, where they might have hidden under the decks or shrubbery.
  • Use a baby alarm on your porch: Leave your cat’s food bowl on your porch along with an electronic baby alarm. This portable device will help you listen to sounds or observe movements when your kitty is unattended.
  • Signal your animal control officer: Once you can’t find your pet cat, provide your animal control officer with a flyer and request them on the lookout for your kitty.
  • Call your local vet: If a kind soul finds your kitty in the streets, injured, they might take the kitty to the vet. Enquire your local vet clinic regarding any such cases and ask for their permission if you could hang a poster in their clinic’s board.
  • Advertise: There is a section in the local newspapers that allows for people to post “lost and found” ads, free of charge. Advertise about your lost kitty in that section. In tune, do check whether there were any “found” cats in the same section.
  • Hire a pet detective: Yes, there are professionals, who are trained to trace lost animals with the vast use of technology. Hiring one of those professionals will guarantee the recovery of your lost cat.

Prevent Your Cat from Getting Lost

Losing your pet cat can be heartbreaking. It has been estimated that 1 out of 3 pet cats goes missing during their lifetime. In order to avoid your pet cat from losing, here are 5 tried-and-tested methods of preventing them from getting “lost”:

Install Security Cameras Around Your House to Observe Your Kitty

Your cat stays unattended for a good 8 – 9 hours while you’re away at work. Perhaps, there’s nothing more effective than a security camera that will help you to keep an eye on your pet cat remotely. In addition, it also helps you to protect your house from unexpected break-ins. By installing a security camera, not a single detail happening at your house would go missing with a continuous 24 hours recording. Even in the worst-case scenario of your pet cat getting lost, you can always re-confirm the time and range by looking at the footage. Get your pet back home at the quickest possible with the use of security camera systems at home.

Reinforce the Fence in Your Garden to Prevent Them From Running Away

Seeing that your pet loves to have fun in the garden so much, just a fence is not enough to protect them from running away. Hence, a strong and robust fence is important to prevent unwanted break-ins and make their getaway. If your notorious fluffy creature can jump off the garden fence, create the fencing high enough to prevent them from jumping over.

Microchip Your Kitty

As difficult as it may sound, microchipping is the best solution for you, if your pet has a tendency to flee. This is a painless chip that is implanted just beneath your cat’s skin in their shoulder region. Once a microchip is implanted, it will last there forever. This small rice grain-like chip consists of all the details of an owner, which is clear evidence of pet ownership.

Statistics show that 75 percent of pets who have been implanted with a microchip are likely to reunite with their parents once they wind up in the animal shelters or the local vet. Wherefore, microchips are really helpful and useful for finding your lost cat.

Make Your Pet Wear an Identification Collar

An alternative to microchips is identification collars, which are also helpful for finding lost cats. Without a proper identification collar, about 90 percent of the lost cats cannot return to their home. If you want to be extra cautious, this is the best you could do. Make your kitty wear an identification collar tag that would include your name and contact details. In case if your cat is lost, the person who will find him/her will be able to reach out to you directly with the details in your cat’s tag.

GPS Tracking Devices to Prevent Theft or Loss

If you’ve not heard of GPS tracking devices for cats, you don’t love your cat enough. All right, we’re just kidding! However, in fact, there is such a thing! This will get you access to the exact location of where your pet cat might be. This device is specifically more helpful for cats who run too fast. Although there’s a monthly fee associated with the service, it’s nothing compared to your cat’s life. All you need to do is charge the battery of the GPS device on a regular basis and you are good to go!

Try to Keep Your Pet Cat Indoors

By all means, an indoor cat is a safer cat. Even though they might still try to escape the house occasionally, an indoor cat would not go as far as an outdoor cat. That’s because they are not really used to the outside environment, which makes them lure back in easily before they get into much trouble. For this reason, the best is to keep your pet cat indoors most of the time.

No one ever wants to go through the trauma of losing a pet for which, the above tips will definitely reduce the chances of your cats going missing.

Bottom Line

More often than not, pet parents become so upset or nervous that they cannot even respond properly to the fact that their fluffy goofball is missing. Worrying and assuming the worst makes them lose precious time that could be better used in looking for them responsibly.

Our advice is to stay calm even though it is tough and never give up hope. There have been cases where pets have been reunited with their family even after months!

What other tips do you have for finding lost cats? Let us know in the comments below so we can help others reunite with their fluffy babies!


  1. What To Do If You Lose Your Pet, The Humane Society of the United States
  2. Finding a Lost Pet, The ASPCA
  3. How to Find a Lost Cat, Best Friends Animal Society

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