Are you wondering how to find your lost cat? I can truly relate to this scenario because it happened to me.
In the summer of 2018, I was in the process of moving to Minneapolis when my distressed cat broke open her canvas cat carrier and jumped out of my barely open window landing on one of the busiest stretches of freeway in Minnesota.
This left me severely heartbroken and in a bad mental state. I remember taking the next exit off the freeway so I could double back to find her.
I had assumed she had gotten hit by a vehicle since this sad event happened during rush hour traffic.
As I kept driving back and forth, surveying every foot of roadway, side roads, and median, I couldn’t find her and I was quickly losing faith. Had she survived the fall from my car? And if so, where did she go?
It took me an entire month of endless searching, but I finally brought her home ALIVE one day. How did I find her? And what methods did I use to finally end the long search and bring her home? Read below to find out.
Post On Craigslist and Facebook
This is probably the biggest reason that the search for my beloved cat had a happy ending. The minute I got home after losing my cat, I searched through every picture I had of her to find the best one that I could.
And then I took that picture and posted it on my local craigslist and on facebook lost and found pet page.
In my posts, I also described her habits and quirks that I thought made her unique.
For example, she has this funny thing where she screams when I pick her up – almost like a little girl scream. And she was also known to stick out her tongue a lot.
Make Flyers and Post Them EVERYWHERE
Another thing I did was made a flyer where I included her picture, a quick description, and a number where people could reach me if they found her.
I made about 50 copies of this flyer and stapled it along bike trails, light poles, trees near public sidewalks, local parks, etc.
I made sure to post these flyers within a 5-mile radius. My cat was never an outdoor cat, so I figured she wouldn’t have traveled past 5 miles.
Search All Animal Shelters and Vet Clinics In the Area
Make sure you go to every vet clinic and animal shelter in the area and make sure to also bring some flyers for them to post. I actually visited a few of the shelters numerous times in the month I was searching.
These places tend to be very busy and they don’t always have time to cross-reference every lost cat that is brought in, so be persistent in checking back in with these places.
Some animal shelters will even have a web page dedicated to lost and found pets. Post your lost cat in these and check back often in the found cat section.
Search the Bike Trails and Parks in the Area
Another thing I did was hike along bike trails and parks around the area that she disappeared. This particular stretch of highway that my cat disappeared at happened to run right alongside a well-used bike trail.
I hiked up and down this trail every chance I could, and I posted my flyers along the way. There were also many parks in the area, and I posted my flyers in these places too.
Also, make sure to bring a backpack with some essential items such as a water bottle, light snacks, a heavy duty staple gun and duct tape to post the flyers with, and wear some comfortable clothing.
There were days that I hiked around 30 miles in 90-degree weather, so these items were very important to have with.
Use Their Favorite Toys That Make Familiar Noises
Another tactic to use is to bring along some of your cat’s noisy toys that actually get a reaction out of them.
For example, when I was hiking along the bike trail near the highway, I also jingled one of those cat toy balls that have the bell in the middle.
And I alternated that with clicking the laser light off and on. This toy happened to be one of my cat’s favorite toys. There were times I swear I heard a cat in the nearby area react to it.
It very well could have been her at the time. On a side note, some cats may hear their favorite toy but do nothing about it because cats are known to hide when they are injured or scared.
I believe this is what happened with my cat.
Cats Are Crepuscular Creatures – Search At Night!
Also, another good tip is to search mainly at night. Cats are crepuscular animals and they are the most active during the late night or very early morning hours.
Now, this technique is not for everyone, nor should you really be doing this alone if you can help it. I had to only because I had no one else to help me search.
I recommend bringing along some pepper spray, or some other defense mechanism just in case anything strange happens. It also helps to ease your mind that you can defend yourself if things go haywire.
Most stores don’t carry pepper spray, but you can definitely find some here on Amazon.
A combination of all these different tactics had a tremendous impact on the success of my cat’s return home. And guess where my cat was found?
Really close to the bike trail where I had been searching all along. Someone from craigslist actually contacted me to let me know that someone else posted about a cat they found that matched my cat’s description on the local animal shelter website.
I got to bring my cat home and the whole experience forever changed my life in ways that I cannot describe. I think as cat owners, we sometimes take our cats for granted.
After this happened, I developed a greater appreciation for the joy that my beloved felines give me, and I no longer take them for granted. I cherish every moment I have with them.
Every day I show them how much I love them. And this has made our human-cat bond a lot stronger than it’s ever been.