Lost & Found
What to do if your cat is missing
If your cat is lost or missing, the first place to check is your local county animal shelters. You can check their online lost and found listings or visit the shelter in person. When you visit, take a color photo and description of your lost cat with you. Continue to check their websites and/or shelters regularly.
Top 10 Tips to Find a Lost Cat
- If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to make sure your contact information is current. You also can put a “lost or stolen” alert on the pet’s microchip so that if it is scanned by a shelter or veterinarian, they will know that a concerned owner is looking for that pet.
- Ask family, friends, and neighbors to help search for your pet as soon as you realize your pet is missing. Be sure to check around your yard and under your deck. You can also get personalized support from a Missing Pet Consultant through Mission Reunite.
- Walk through your neighborhood every day and more than once to look for your missing pet—your cat may travel three or more miles from your home, so make a wide search.
- For a lost indoor-only or timid cat, think like a cat and look at every hiding spot possible in your yard and your close neighbors’ yards. Frightened cats will remain hidden and quiet even when you call for them—check under bushes, in garages and tool sheds, under porches, and any other tucked away place.
- Post information on your social media pages to let your friends know that you are looking for your lost cat.
- Check the “found pet” ads and post a “lost pet” ad online on sites like Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook, and Petco Love Lost.
- Instead of food that will attract any animal, place your pet’s clothing, toys, dirty litter box, and other familiar items in your yard or on your porch to attract your cat back home.
- Put signs around the area where your pet was last seen. Include a photo and description of your pet, your phone number, and when your pet disappeared. Offer a reward if possible. You may find this Lost & Found Poster Template useful.
- Ask to post your flyers at businesses in your area such as gas stations, restaurants/fast food places, convenience and grocery stores, veterinary clinics, pet salons, pet supply stores, emergency veterinary clinics, laundromats, churches, and community centers.
- Use a humane trap to catch your missing cat. Watch this video from Mission Reunite about how to use a trap to catch a lost kitty.
For more information and tips about finding a lost cat, check out Mission Reunite or Petfinder
What to do if you find a cat
Thank you for taking the time to help a stray or lost cat or kitten! The steps you should take will depend on the age of the cat you have found.
Found an Adult Cat
If you found an adult cat or weaned kitten (old enough to eat on its own), take them to your nearest veterinarian or shelter to scan for a microchip. You may be able to get the cat back to their owner right away!
If there is no microchip, check with your local county animal agency about the options in your area. In some counties, lost/found animals must go through a stray hold at the county shelter to provide the best chance of being reunited with its owner. IMPORTANT! If you found a lactating female cat, please do not remove her, or confine her to a cage or trap. Try to find her kittens and reunite them; separating them can be harmful to both kittens and mama cat. Read this article about how to reunite a mother cat and kittens.
6 Ways to Help a Stray Cat
- Before you attempt to bring a cat to a shelter, determine whether the cat is a feral or stray cat. Feral or other unsocialized cats should not be taken to shelters—visit the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon or Alley Cat Allies for more information about humane options for feral cats.
- File a “found pet” report with your local county control agency.
- Put up signs in your neighborhood. If you live in/near apartment complexes, leave a flyer with the manager. You may find this Lost & Found Poster Template useful.
- Check online “lost pet” ads and post a “found pet” ad on sites like Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook, and Petco Love Lost.
- Walk around your neighborhood and talk to neighbors who might know and/or be looking for the cat—remember, cats can roam three miles or more from home, so make a wide search.
- Post information on your personal social media to spread the word about the cat you found.
Found a kitten(s)
When you come across outdoor kittens, you may feel the need to immediately pick them up and bring them home with you, but that might not be the best thing for the kittens—or for you. Here are some guidelines to help you determine the best option.
- Most kittens are not abandoned by their mother. Before you move the kittens, read this information about what to do when you find kittens outdoors.
- Be sure to keep the mom and kittens together; separating them can cause problems for both the kittens and mama cat.
- Feed the mama cat and make sure she has access to fresh water.
- Never confine a lactating female cat to a cage or trap—her kittens need to feed every few hours.
- If you cannot find the mama cat, read through this information about how to care for newborn kittens and neonatal kitten care.
- If you wish to socialize and care for the kittens yourself, please consider this information from Alley Cat Allies about what it takes to care for very young and/or feral kittens. You may also find these Orphaned Kitten Care: How-To Videos helpful.
If the kittens or mother cat are sick or in distress or danger, check with your local county animal agency about the options in your area (see local listings at the top of this page). In some counties, lost/found animals must go through a stray hold at the county shelter to provide the best chance of being reunited with its owner.
More resources for lost pets: https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/lost-pet-how-find-lost-dog-or-cat