Search your front and back yard, especially in bushes and behind any object that provides a hiding spot. Cats tend to follow the edge of a house or building rather than wandering in the open.
Search the inside of your house thoroughly. Cats can contort themselves to fit into extremely small spaces. If you believe your cat is hiding in the house, place high-value food (chicken breast, tuna, mackerel, etc.) near the spots they may be hiding to lure them out.
Ask your neighbors for permission to search their yards.
Distribute “Lost Cat” flyers with a good photo of your cat door to door in your neighborhood. Post them in nearby parks as well. Offering a reward can be helpful.
Contact your local animal control agency with a description of your cat.
If your cat is microchipped, call the microchip company as well as your veterinarian to inform them the cat is lost.
Rent humane traps from a local rescue or shelter (Town Cats has traps available). Indoor cats that accidentally escape outdoors can be disoriented and frightened making them less likely to respond to their caretakers’ voices. Humane traps can be extremely effective tools in catching a frightened cat. Set the traps along the perimeter of your home with high-value bait (tuna or mackerel in oil are good choices). If your cat is close to home, he/she will eventually get hungry and start looking for food.
If you find a stray cat, the first order of business is determining whether or not the cat is truly homeless. More information can be found on this page.
Check with neighbors to see if they recognize the cat, distribute “Found Cat” flyers in your neighborhood, and post to local lost and found pet groups on social media. If you’d like Town Cats to post the found cat on our social media page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
While you attempt to find the owner, we suggest setting up food and shelter for the cat somewhere in your yard or garage away from your existing pets. It is essential that you keep the stray cat separate from your pets; the cat could be sick or aggressive toward other animals. Give notice of the found cat to your local animal control or humane society in case an owner is searching for them. Have the cat scanned for a microchip at your local animal shelter or a veterinarian which can quickly reunite the lost cat with its owner.
Want to keep the stray? If you’ve tried to find the owner without success, you can opt to adopt the cat yourself, rehome the cat yourself, or surrender the cat to your local animal shelter. Please note: Pets are considered to be the legal property of their owners. Finding a cat does not entitle the finder to keep, sell, or give away the cat, nor does it convey ownership. If you find a cat, you must actively look for its owner for at least 90 days, and even then, the owner may still have a right to claim ownership.
Kitten season typically runs from March to November. If you’ve found an orphan kitten, prompt action is required to save its life. However, please take a moment to decide if the kitten or litter you’ve located has truly been orphaned. Separating very young kittens from an attentive mother will often make things worse instead of better!