There may come a time when an inquisitive kitty who has spent her whole life indoors will dart outside to see what she’s been missing out there and become lost.
Where to look for a lost kitty
The first thing to remember is that most kitties will actually stay fairly close to home. While you may not be able to see or hear her, she may be in the hedge just beside your house. She may be so overwhelmed with all the new sights, sounds, and scents that she just “freezes” in place.
Or another possibility is that she may actually have chased another small animal, a lizard or even a bug into a dark undercover place and is so focused on actually catching her first prey that she tunes you out when you call her. Not to worry, there are several methods available to you to recover her and bring her home safely.
Food will almost always win
If you have developed a consistent routine of sleeping, eating and playing, around the next meal time she will begin to feel familiar hunger pangs, and remember that it is time to fill her tummy! This would be a good opportunity to fill her bowl and bring it outside near the door from which she made her escape.
You may choose to sit out there for a time and softly call her name if you have the time and the weather is permitting. I know that no matter where my little kitten Misha is hiding in our house when I fill her bowl with her evening meal and tap the side with my fingernails she comes running!
Microchip or Homing Tag
There are multiple options for tagging a pet to enable you to find them easier in just his situation. Nearly every veterinarian, shelter, or animal control agency offers to microchip your pets. The chip is about the size of a small grain of rice and is injected just under the skin between the animal’s shoulder blades. They also have the readers for obtaining the owner information from the chip of a stray animal, which will include your name, address and phone number. This information can be updated online if you move or change your phone number.
A new technology of “smart tag” is now available, provided by PetHub.com. This is a QR (quick response code) which is the square matrix of code that can be read 2 dimensionally (horizontally and vertically) as opposed to the barcode which can only be read in 1 dimension.
There are multiple advantages to the QR tag, first and foremost is that they will hold more information. In addition to your contact info, you can include the pet’s name, age, breed, allergies or medications that they may need, and much more. You can create this profile online at their website, and there is both a Basic (free) level and a Premium level subscription.
Another advantage is that the QR info can be scanned with a smartphone, so any good Samaritan can retrieve the profile information and contact you immediately. If they are unable to reach you, there is also a PetHub call center (manned by real people!) who can send you an email notification that your pet’s tag was scanned, and a GPS map of the location where they were when they were scanned.
This is a wonderful service, and I feel every pet owner would want to take advantage of this service and the caring community of pet lovers who are also members.
It’s been 24 hours, what do I do now?
So now you’re approaching panic mode…completely understandable. There are still several steps that can be taken. Many shelters will loan (on a temporary basis) a Havahart trap. This is the type of trap used by the ASPCA and many local animal rescue groups in SNR (spay, neuter, release) programs to help reduce feral cat populations.
If it has now been a day or two, or longer, since you have seen your precious pet this is a good option. The process goes something like this…place her favorite food in the trap along with an article that has her scent, your scent, or a combination of both. Oftentimes it may take 2 or 3 days (or as long as 10 days for one of my neighbors) for a kitty to overcome her frightening outdoor experience and calm down enough to come home. The combination of her favorite food and the scent of the safety of her home will be exactly the right key!
TGMPIH (thank goodness my pet is home)
When all is said and done having one of our furry babies get out of the safety of home and be missing for any length of time is a frightening experience. But with a good schedule, a strong bond, and the help of modern technology we needn’t worry today as much as we once would have.
If you have any additional suggestion or comments please feel free to share them here.
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