Have you lost your beloved feline friend? There are many things you can do to find your cat, including notifying as many people as possible you are looking for a cat and actively taking steps to help your pet return home. Especially with indoor-only cats that have escaped, you must take an active role in searching for your pet because of lost cat behavior. State law only requires strays to be held for four days before being made available for adoption, so you must act quickly when trying to find your pet.
Here are some ideas to alert people your pet is missing:
- Contact your local humane society or animal control facility to make a lost pet report. They will match the pet’s description to their found animal reports or have it on hand in case someone finds your cat. In Dane County, the official stray holding facility is the Dane County Humane Society, who can be reached at 608.838.0413 or .
- Contact animal services or your local police department. If in Dane County, contact the Dane County/Madison Animal Services Officers at (608) 255‐2345.
- Visit your local animal shelter every two to three days. You may describe your cat differently than the shelter would.
- Contact your neighbors. Post to your neighborhood website, email list, Nextdoor, or other social media group.
- Make sure your microchip information is up-to-date with your microchip provider.
- File a report with Lost Cats of Wisconsin via Helping Lost Pets. This will create a poster you can easily print and share, as well as a photo you can share via social media.
- Place a free lost pet ad in the Wisconsin State Journal and post on craigslist.
- Hang up the poster you created around your neighborhood on signs (check out the 5+5 poster from Missing Pet Partnership), in local stores, restaurants, etc.
- Consider issuing a Pet Amber Alert. This is a paid service that claims a high success rate.
Here are some tips for finding your pet:
- Understand lost cat behavior. The Missing Pet Partnership details different lost cat behaviors and the different way to search for these cats.
- Consider humanely trapping your cat. Cats in the Bag has trapping directions, as well as additional search ideas based on lost cat behavior. Many police departments have these traps. Angel’s Wish also has these available for you borrow.
- Place articles that smell like your cat outdoors. Their litterbox is one of the best ways to attract them.
- Open your garage door a crack so they can come and hide inside.
- Search around your home often, looking in shrubs, under patios, etc. Ask your neighbors if they will let you look on their property as well.
- Walk your neighborhood frequently. Carry some flyers with you and let people you see know you are still looking for your pet. Call out for your animal. If you have a dog, walk them with you some of the times you go out as they may alert you to your cat.
We wish you the best of luck and hope you find your friend.