How to Find a Lost Cat

ginger cat - cat you have ever lost your cat it can be an upsetting experience. Most cats don’t actually run away or stray from home. We all know cats like to explore new places, sometimes, though, this could end up with them getting trapped.

They can also get lost if they are investigating new territory, and even sometimes they can be taken away by circumstances not of their own doing. When a cat is ill or injured it may seek haven in a safe dark place but very rarely do cats leave their home, even if badly treated. Try not to panic too much if you can’t find your cat, but start a thorough search as soon as you realise as any delay could put your cat at risk.

It is sometimes advisable to take a minute to think like your cat; after all, you will probably know where it tends to be, and what it tends to do on a day-to-day basis. Cats are excellent at hiding so I would be advise that you look around the house carefully, then double check. Even in spaces you think that a cat couldn’t fit there is a chance that they can. Listen for any sounds of stress, as cats like to explore weird spaces and can be innocently drawn to dark places. If your sure the cat is nowhere in the house, then check your front and back gardens and in the shed or green house if you have one.

 If you have recently moved house, it is probably beneficial to check your old house, cats normally have a good sense of direction and if a cat gets lost, they may tend to use their initiative and try to find their way back home to the place they know the best.

If all this is proving fruitless, it may be advisable to ask your neighbours if they have seen or heard anything of your cat, asking them to check their property and gardens if they wouldn’t mind. You will find that most neighbours will co-operate. If you get on really well with your neighbours, ask them if you can check their house for yourself as a frightened cat may only respond to a friendly voice.

If you still haven’t found your cat, please try not to panic, as this will cause you to stress and you will probably miss some ideas that you can try. If time is dragging on and your cat is nowhere to be seen it may be an idea to stick a few posters up in your local vicinity, or a postcard in your local newsagents, these should describe the cat, its name, when it was last scene and your name and phone number. If the cat is missing even longer, place a ‘lost’ advertisement in your local paper; there is normally a ‘lost and found’ section in the classifieds.

I hope that you don’t have to get to this stage, but if you do, still keep in contact with your neighbours to see if they have noticed somebody with a cat who didn’t have one before. Sometimes children find cats playing or away from an environment and assume that they are stray, taking them home only to be put outside by the parent and then finding themselves in a strange environment and lost.

As hard as it is for you, it is important not to rule out that your cat has been mistreated. As much as you love your cat, there are people out there that don’t; I would even go as far as they actually hate cats for a reason known only to them. They think it is amusing to dump a cat in another area, and even worse, some think that it is funny to cause physical injury to a cat. If you have a local animal shelter in your area, it would probably be an advantage to phone or visit them, to see if any cats have recently been brought there. You could even ask the shelter if there is anybody in the local area who is known by them to have a history of wishing cats harm. 

If all this is still failing to locate your cat go over your checks again, sometimes an injured cat may choose to withdraw into a quite place to care for their injuries. The sooner a cat can get medical treatment the better the chances of it surviving.

Think about the last time you saw your cat, and try to remember anything from that time. Maybe you had a van or lorry driver drop something off with you and your cat climbed into the back. Ring the company up to see if they have found anything, after all they wouldn’t know who the cat belonged to as they probably do umpteen drops a day. Try talking to your postman to see if he has seen anything, your postman has a better chance of visiting houses in your neighbourhood and may be able to spot something whilst doing his job.

If you feel the need to offer a reward, I offer a word of warning, whilst researching this article I came across the story of a couple whose Persian cat went missing and after fruitless searches they offered a ?50 reward, only to be phoned by a man who had found their cat and wanted ?100 and was affectively holding the cat hostage. They ended up paying the money. If you do offer a reward and this scenario happens I would seriously recommend calling the Police.

I have mixed views about Micro-chipping, and as yet I am unsure what to recommend, if you have researched the subject and feel that it may aid you find your cat should your cat get lost then go ahead and get your cat micro-chipped. It is a reliable way of stamping your ownership on your cat should any disputes arise, but it will not guarantee the safe return of a lost cat, but then again, nothing guarantees the safe return. 

Finally don’t give up the search too soon. Keep looking in the same spots time and time again, and don’t feel overcome with anxiety. Cats are tough cookies and can last for many days without food and water.

I hope that you read this as an article only, and not as something to refer to should you be in the unfortunate position of losing a cat.

Published by

Cat Advice Staff

Cat is a free to use cat care resource containing expert advice and articles on a wide variety of cat ownership issues.

9 thoughts on “How to Find a Lost Cat”

  1. please help me i lost my cat last night went missing the cat is a female her name is sesy she is black and white top black bottom white if you find her please drop her to 12 rock hall road london cricklewood postcode NW2 6DT

    thanks for your help

  2. Interesting article – I lost my cat after a vet visit on the edge of moorland 9 days ago after it got out of the basket and ran off into a small wood (private land). It never returned when I called and I hung about for some time. It was seen next day fleetingly and again a day later in a different place but close to where it ran off. I have been out to the the site several times for many hours. I have walked the immediate area whistleing and making noises he use to respond to. So he has not been seen for at least 7 days now and perhaps it is time to give up the search and I wonder what else I can do. I have left details of this with local animal shelters and with some people who live near that location. Is it time to give up? David Harris.

  3. hi

    i have two missing tabby cats one grey and white and one brown and black they both had gone missing on the same day together for about a month now we think they have jumped into our neighbours van and gone off some were because they have done it several times so if seen £50 reward very loved and wanted back so much so please keep your eyes open disepeared from oxford


  4. Hi,

    I just wanted to add that I was unfortunate enough to lose my cat recently. The couple who found him whining googled him on cats protection website and found i had reported him missing. Would recommend to all that if they lose a pet to register it online with the national missing pet register and cats protection.

  5. We would just like to say how insightful your article is and how reassuring you made us feel when our cat went missing over the weekend during bonfire (firework) season!

    He went missing over the Saturday night and never returned on the Sunday morning which was strange because in the 3+ years of having him, he always returned home!

    On the Sunday we decided to print out leaflets for the neighbours in the surrounding area and printed out posters to put near the local shops, school, post box, phone box and lamposts leasing into the area…. And it worked! We received a phone call from a neighbour on the Monday morning saying they found him hiding under the bed in their spare bedroom and that the leaflet gave the necessary details to find us 😀

    My fiancé and I went round the area every few hours to find our cat but obviously he was in a house but if was good to talk to the community and pass the word out too, we also offered a reward of £30!

    My only Resentment out of all this is some of the local yobs who thought it would be funny to tear apart some posters and steal the pins/staples ( I know) holding them onto the trees! This saddened me and my 2 bits of advice is 1) be pro-active if you know something is immediately wrong and don’t sit back ‘hoping for the best’ and 2) don’t let these yobs distract you and keep replacing the posters as their are good people who will help you!

  6. My cat went missing for the first time last monday.. I still havent found him and it is starting to get colder (19 degrees) i put up flyers this night and im sitting by my phone. he is an indoor/outdoor cat and usually goes out for around 1-4 hours at times. He doesnt like to use the litter box and theres a pretty mulch garden just down the road he likes to use, and hey, he’s a male cat.. But its been 3 days now and still not one sign of him. The whole neighborhood knows him because every morning after he eats at my house, he goes to my neighbor Mary’s house and stares in her window till she sets out food. Then he heads over to Jesse’s house, and jumps up on there screen hanging by his claws and stares at his two cats. They have to eventually set out food for him to get him to move along. Then he heads to Paula’s house for some cheapo friskies wet food.. Which i am totally against after working at an all natural pet store for months. But since he has disapeared, i have asked all my neighbors including ottis, the neighborhood spoter of everything that goes on, and not a single one have seen him since the morning i let him out for his usual potty/food journey. Around a month ago, his collar was found over a half mile away (phone number on his collar) and he had still came back that night. He “lost” or as i say, purposely dropped, his collar and we got him a new one with his name “Edward” and our phone number on it. No one has called which makes me suggest that he lost it and doesnt have it on, or.. the worst.

  7. My cat Henry went missing 10 weeks ago, but I have a had a possible sighting of him in the last week only about 3/4 mile away. Some people at nearby houses alerted me and are looking out for him and I have been leaving some food in a regular place for a few nights now. Am I doing the right thing and can you give me any other advice. I dont really want to use a cat trap at the moment as I dont want to trap someone elses cat and antagonise the people who are helping me. I live in a village and there are lots of fields roundabout. I just cant find out where he is sheltering during the day. The weather has been so awful recently and I am so worried about him. My Husband is a vet and says it is just a case of waiting for more info.

  8. hi, i’ve tried all these things and still no sign, it’s only been 3 days but it’s the longest he’s been away. if anyone sees a ginger cat in Falkirk please get in touch with the vet near comely park primary school. thank-you

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