WHAT TO DO FIRST:
1) Look both in the house and in the immediate area around the house – enlist others for extra eyes
2) Report the cat and their microchip number to Toronto Animal Services (416-338-PAWS (7297) to ensure the cat hasn’t been brought in. You can also check their listings of all animals found within the last week here. And sadly, you might want to check their list of found deceased animals here.
3) Make a Helping Lost Pets post: http://www.helpinglostpets.com/
4) Make flyers with cat’s photo, info, and contact information for yourself & put up in your neighbourhood as well as any other areas where there are sightings. Put up a poster in area vet clinics.
5) Put out food and water in several places around the house – monitor the food levels.
6) Place things that have the cat’s scent around the outside of the house (ie. litter from their litterbox)
7) Knock on doors – talk to neighbours, dog-walkers, delivery people – anyone who is out and about in the neighbourhood who could potentially spot the cat – ask them to look in backyards, shed, under decks, etc.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FIND YOUR CAT:
1) Finding them is only half the battle – but you also need to get them safely back inside. You may not be able to handle them, but you will absolutely need a carrier or something to put him in if you get them – almost all cats are freaked out and react unexpectedly after the experience.
2) If you have a chance to grab them, grab a big handful of his scruff (back of their neck), lift them up/out of his hiding spot, and drop them feet first in a carrier turned so the open door faces the sky – then slam it shut and latch well!!!
3) If you’re not sure if you’re confident getting the cat, email firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps we can get one of our trappers to go over
4) If the cat is in a trap, throw a blanket or towel over the trap, and bring them inside immediately.
1) Dusk and dawn are the best times to find & catch lost cats
2) If they spent time at a feral colony before they came to live with you, they may find their way back to their own colony, or colonies nearby
3) When searching the neighbourhood, especially at night, think things like porches, under houses and sheds. Unfortunately many cats will get deep into hiding places so you might need to get acrobatic, down on the ground etc to look really well.
ie. One cat who escape through a screened third floor window last spring and wasn’t sighted for over 2 weeks was eventually found because the dejected adopters were pushed to keep going out and looking daily and they saw a flash of movement, and they found their cat (well, saw 2 glowing eyes with a flashlight that they eventually identified as their cat!) hiding deep in a hole of rubble under a neighbour’s partially fallen-apart steps.
4) Many lost cats respond to:
– calling their name
– shaking a Temptations bag
– tapping the rim of a cat food can with a fork
5) Determine if the cat is more likely to go in the trap if it is covered, so it looks like a cave/hiding spot, or uncovered, so it looks open and the food is visible from the outside?
6) Use very smelly/favourite foods to coax them into the trap
7) Cats that were not raised indoors generally regress if they get outside – do not expect them to come back on their own
8) Social media can be a great resource – make a Facebook page, connect with other rescues, feral colony feeders and the general public – post often to keep it on the radar