One of the worst things about owning pets is when they go missing. One of my cats didn’t come home one night – fortunately we soon worked out that she was shut in a neighbour’s shed, but that short time of wondering what had happened to her was awful. Here are some tips for what to do if your pet becomes lost.
My cats are unlikely to escape (unless they want to try their luck at abseiling down several floors), but I have still taken the precaution of having them microchipped. It was worth it for the peace of mind it gives me. So always have your pets chipped – and don’t forget to update your details with the registry if you move house or change your phone number.
2. Check Your Home
It never fails to amaze me how even in my small flat, my cats still manage to find new hiding places. I think they have perfected the art of camouflage. So search your house thoroughly before panicking. Look everywhere inside and out – even under the car or on the roof. Cats manage to get everywhere.
3. Ask around
Your first action should be to ask the neighbours if they have seen your pet. Being nosy, many cats manage to get themselves shut in sheds and garages. So ask people to check. Also watch out for any houses that are having work done, and ask the builders if they’ve seen any animals.
4. Contact Shelters
Get in touch with any local shelters or rescues to see if your pet has been picked up or handed in. It’s important to act quickly, as an animal may be quickly put up for adoption if its owner can’t be identified (here’s where the chip comes in very useful). Also ask at local vets if any strays have been brought in.
5. Online Forums
The advantage of online forums is that news and appeals can be widely and quickly distributed. There are many pages dedicated to spreading news of lost pets and reuniting them with their owners, so look for one that covers your local area. Also contact organisations that work to locate lost animals.
There is, of course, the old method of printing posters and sticking them up. Make some simple posters with the best quality photo that you can, add your contact details and a brief description of the animal, and where and when it disappeared. Place them in as many locations as you can – you never know who will see them and be able to help.
7. Local Press
Local papers and radio stations sometimes run features on lost pets, so get in touch with them; it’s best to try as many avenues as possible. Someone who has seen your pet just might be listening – or will watch out for them.
The best option really is to get your animal chipped – obviously it depends on someone taking it to a vet or shelter, but the first thing the latter will do is check for a chip. However, there are lots of other tips you can try. Have you ever been successfully reunited with a lost pet? How was it located?
Top Photo Credit: stlphotoblogger