Losing a cat is a traumatic, stressful event. The most important thing you can do to ensure your cat can be found is to microchip your cat. Keep your contact information up-to-date if you move or relocate.
If you have an indoor only cat then it is unfamiliar with the outside world, and probably is scared and hiding nearby. Many indoor only cats don’t go beyond the yard or their immediate house and can be found hiding under bushes, hedges, plants, against the house, or in some nearby hiding place. Learn more about the three types of lost or missing cat behavior on Missing Animal Response Network.
If you recently adopted a cat from CC4C and it is missing:
Please call the CC4C member you adopted from immediately. CC4C can provide helpful advice, trapping assistance, and resources to help find your cat.
If you have found a cat that appears lost or homeless, consider taking the following steps to try to find and identify the owner:
- Check the cat for a microchip through your local vet, or the shelter clinic. If unsure, CC4C can help scan the cat for a microchip. If the cat is chipped, its owner can be easily found.
- Try to contact the owner by putting a break-away collar on the cat and wrapping a note around the collar with your name and phone number. Add “Please call me.” If the cat appears healthy and well-fed, it may have a home in your neighborhood and be an outside cat or roaming. If the cat is owned, you will likely get a call within a day or two when they notice a strange collar on their cat.
- Notify the County Animal Shelter (Martinez volunteer line 925-335-8330). Specify the gender, color, breed, approximate age, location with cross street, and a contact number. If possible, take a picture and leave a flyer with the Animal Shelter staff. But beware, the shelter may request that you bring the cat into the shelter.
- Post the cat as “found” on Craigslist, Nextdoor, or other similar neighborhood websites. Be sure to leave out some detail about the cat, such as some specific description. It’s also helpful to check on the person contacting you by requiring some proof of ownership such as pictures, vet records, details about the cat’s physical appearance, and even call the vet clinic in advance of any meeting to confirm ownership.
- Post flyers in the neighborhood where the cat was found. However, when people call to inquire, be sure to try a “trick” question so that people who call don’t just get to come and take him away.
- Post a “Found Pet Notice” online at petharbor.com.
- Contact the Contra Costa Times to run a “found pet” ad for free. Call (925) 933-2020.
- Call local pet stores or vets to see if anyone has reported a lost cat to them. Some pet stores (like Pet Food Express) or vets (like Four Corners Animal Hospital and Montecito Animal Clinic in Pacheco) have bulletin boards where people can post lost/found flyers.
MISSING / LOST CATS
For all missing or lost cats (or dogs), consider taking the following steps:
- Advertise – Immediately! Don’t wait for the finder to advertise your pet as found. Place “lost” posters with a photo of your pet in the vicinity where the pet was lost – markets, schools, etc. Note: It is against the law in most cities and counties to post on utility poles; however most people do it anyway. Don’t forget to remove the posters when your pet is found.
- Report your pet as “lost” to the local animal shelter (Martinez Shelter 925-335-8330) and provide them with a copy of the flyer and picture.
- Notify your neighbors and thoroughly search your immediate area and neighborhood, especially in the evenings, as many pets become frightened and hide in the daytime. A flashlight at night is especially helpful for seeing their eyes. Check under decks, bushes, cars, anyplace where they may be tempted to find cover and hide. Leave food & water outside! Also, leave a familiar smelling blanket or bedding. If your cat was indoor only—it is probably close by and hiding because it is scared. If your cat was indoor/outdoor—then it is familiar with the neighborhood and may have ventured too far or gotten hurt. If it is an unfixed cat, it may be wandering to find a partner. If you locate your cat, but can’t catch them because they are frightened, call CC4C and we can loan you a trap to catch your pet.
- Register your “lost pet” on www.petharbor.com. Once registered, you will be e-mailed daily any animals matching your description for 30 days. After that, you must re-register.
- Post local “alerts” on Pawboost.com. Download the PawBoost Mobile app for Apple and Android, and sign up for email alerts in your neighborhood.
- Post local “alerts” on Nextdoor.com – Download the app on Nextdoor.com, and sign up for email alerts in your neighborhood.
- Advertise in the “lost pets” section of your local newspaper, it’s usually free. Check the “lost pets” section of your newspaper daily for your cat.
- Advertise on Craigslist that your cat is lost and post a picture. Many people check Craigslist and this is a valuable tool.
- Check “lost pets” at the local animal shelter online through www.petharbor.com.
- Put out food, familiar bedding, and their soiled litter box! You want kitty to know this is home by familiar smells and providing them a source of food.
- Keep the window or door open that kitty escaped out of open! If you have other pets, make sure they are isolated and can’t go out this door/window. Oftentimes, kitty will find their way back to the door/window they went out of and, if it is open, they can come back in. Place food near the entrance. If it is a door, trail the food outside the door to inside the house. (Yes, this has worked!)
- If you have two cats and one escaped, put kitty in a carrier and place outside near your door at dusk for about an hour. Lost kitty may hear, smell, or call to your safe kitty and make it’s way back.
- If kitty is playful and has a favorite toy that makes noise, take this toy outside and start playing with it. This may lure your curious playful kitty back by its sound. (Yes, this has worked!)
- Look for kitty at night with a flashlight, kitty’s eyes will reflect off the flashlight really well. Check under bushes, decks, parked cars. If you located kitty, but can’t get kitty to come to you, put food nearby. Remember– you want to keep kitty in one place! Talk while walking around so kitty can hear your familiar voice. If kitty is food motivated, carry a can and tap a spoon against it saying “chow kitty kitty”. Talk to any late-night-walkers and notify them of your lost pet– they will sympathize and keep an eye-out for you. Carry flyers to distribute.
- Check with local veterinarians. Injured pets may have been taken there. Leave your name and phone numbers with the vet in case the cat is brought there.