NEW Search Dogs


Why can't I just hire search dogs to find my cat?

If your cat is in the Classic Complete Cover category, the timid indoor-only who has somehow escaped outside, this method is NOT recommended. The more timid, the stronger this caution.

When a pet is missing, owners often want to make sure they do everything possible to recover their animal; it's perfectly natural. And because humans have such a poor sense of smell compared to cats and dogs, hiring a search dog team to do the sniffing seems to make perfect sense.

Before you make that decision, please be cautious and know that there are risks involved. There is a chance your cat could be scared further away, making it even harder to locate.

Here is what pet detective Kat Albrecht said:

. .. a trailing search dog would not be able to track a scent trail of a lost cat if the trail is older than 3 to 5 days. So the dog used would need to be a cat detection dog--one trained to find ANY cat out there. The problem when working a cat detection dog is that the dog WILL "bump" or frighten a cat if the cat is prone to panic or run when a dog approaches. What typically happens is that an indoor-only cat escapes outside and if the cat is a panicked cat (like Maxwell Smart is) THEN WE USUALLY DO NOT RECOMMEND USING THE DETECTION DOG because we already know (suspect) that the cat is nearby hiding (which by reading their e-mail, it appears he is likely hiding somewhere in the area). A cat detection dog CAN be used (and has been in the past) on cases like this...but when the panicked cat suddenly bolts and launches over the fence, we stop and tell the owner, "Now you know that your cat IS alive, IS nearby, and IS need to get permission to go into that neighbors yard and either coax him out or use a baited humane trap".

The cat detection dogs are a PRIMARY tool to use when an outdoor access cat has suddenly vanished---that is where they are best suited. The PRIMARY tool to use when a cat like Maxwell has escaped outside is the baited humane trap.

I know it must be frustrating for them since it has been over a month, but if he was beat up by another cat he likely ran an additional few houses or so. They just need to continue to BELIEVE and understand that their cat IS ALIVE but IS HIDING and that even if they hired a search dog to come out to search, THE DOG WILL NOT BRING THEIR CAT BACK HOME! It might only complicate their efforts to recover him by using a baited humane trap.

kat & dogs
Kathy "Kat" Albrecht

As time goes by, more and more people are coming forward claiming they have a dog trained to locate lost pets. Because I have heard of a few cases where the "search dogs" abilities (and training) were questionable, I can only recommend the resources that are posted on the Missing Pet Partnership web site at As the science of lost pet services continues to develop, we will no doubt see more and more qualified MAR (missing animal response) search dogs and pet detectives become available. Unfortunately, we will also see many UNDER qualified resources appear as well. Since this service (pet detectives with dogs trained to locate lost pets)is unregulated, pet owners should be careful to do their research to make certain they are using a qualified, reliable, and proven resource.

Kathy "Kat" Albrecht


NOTE This whole website is about helping owners locate missing pets, primarily indoor-only cats. Any recommendation (or caution) is based on multiple people's experiences and knowledge, but it certainly doesn't mean that one particular method which is cautioned against cannot ever recover your pet. Nor does it guarantee that the recommended methods will indeed bring you success. If you do anything — versus nothing — you will have a higher chance of recovery. Please use our collective knowledge to help you choose which techniques to emphasize in your unique situation, and try to use as many of the techniques as you can.

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