NEW Using Your Own Pets to Locate a Missing Animal

While the use of search dogs it is not recommended for a missing indoor-only cat, you can still use your own pets or other animals in your search.

If your kitty is very bonded to another pet…

• Watch your other pets for clues. Suzanne noticed this of their indoor-only cat Satine when their other indoor-only cat Toulouse was missing: "Satine had been occasionally meowing at the back door and windows, which she never does normally. I chalked it up to her being confused and anxious. Now, I think she might actually have seen Toulouse before I did!"

• Use some of the other pet's loose hair or belongings as a lure or calmative.

If your missing pet is an unneutered male cat…

Find a female cat in heat and crate her outside to be the lure. Set up a humane trap so it appears that by entering into the trap, your male cat will meet up with the female.

Let them show you the "kitty highways" and local kitty territories…

As you walk through the area thinking like a cat, watch how the neighborhood cats travel, how they get from yard to yard. Where are the kitty highways? Often multiple cats will re-use the same path over and over even though there are alternate ways of getting from place to place. The highways are generally shared and not considered territory to be defended. Your missing cat may find one of these highways and travel on it to find food or be hiding near by.

Watch the behavior of neighborhood cats, their hierarchies and kinship. Which are the areas already claimed by a cat? Does this animal vigorously defend its territory? or does it enjoy hosting little kitty coffee klatches? If the cat firmly defends its territory, a timid cat would probably not be hiding in this area.

Listen for any new cat activity…

Listen for cat fights, caterwauling, screeching, or meowing. Be sure to write on you poster to have people call you if they have noticed more cat fights or meowing recently.

The appearance of a new cat (particularly a new cat that doesn't understand the local heirarchy) can set off turf wars in a normally peaceful neighborhood. Use these sounds as a clue! A couple evenings before Sage was finally trapped, I heard a lot of yeowling a few houses down, in the same direction that I eventually saw some gray hairs.

Some timid cats who remain silent for weeks become so thin they eventually begin meowing. The neighbors of Maxwell Smart reported hearing a cat meow for 3 days before another neighbor finally spotted Max. He had been gone for over a month.

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