Veterinarians usually agree, that the best place for a cat is to be indoors. However, there are cats that do enjoy being outside. Some may even be so eager to get out the house, that sooner or later, they’ll find an open door to dart out. Considering that it can be stressful looking for a beloved pet that wanders away, it’s a good idea to consider precautionary measures, to help with their quick and safe return.

Home Training: The Dinner Bell

This useful training tip can be one of the first things you do, to call your cat to come back home. You don’t actually need to use a dinner bell to make this tip work; you can use a toy that clicks, a chiming sound or any sound that your cat can positively identify with coming home to a meal or treat. Consider picking a sound that doesn’t scare or startle your cat, but is uniquely pronounced enough to be heard from a moderate range—not too far away from home.

Once you’ve chosen a sound toy, use it to make sounds when you want to feed your cat or give her a treat. When they become familiar with the sound toy, try to using it at different times. Always make sure to give them food, catnip or treats when they come to you. Don’t associate the sound toy with scolding or negative reinforcement. This technique can be helpful if your cat becomes lost. Just sound it off outside or around the neighborhood and let it be your cat’s guide back home.

Recap

  • Get a bell or sound toy/device
  • Using the sound toy, train your cat to come to you
  • Use food or treats as positive reinforcement
  • If your cat becomes lost, use the sound toy to call her

Microchip Implants

A microchip implant, is an alternative way to tag your pet. Here’s how it works. A small transmitter chip—the size of a grain of rice—is inserted just below your pet’s skin. The transmitter emits radio waves, that are picked up by a handheld device. Most veterinarian clinics and animal shelters, have this handheld device. Once the chip is scanned, the device displays a reference number. The reference number is then used to find the owner’s contact information in a database, that is hosted by the microchip company. Some microchip companies can even post a bulletin—complete with a photo—about your missing pet. Microchipping is considered to be an ideal back-up identification option—for instance, if your pet loses her tag and collar. However, this method is most effective, when the pet’s owner information is up-to-date. 

Note: Please consult a qualified veterinarian for more information about microchipping.

Recap

  • Microchips are another way to tag your pet
  • Microchips are inserted just below your pet’s skin
  • Microchips can be scanned to access a database
  • Pet owner information is stored on the database
  • Microchips are commonly used as a 2nd layer of I.D.

Lost Cat Posters Are Still Useful

In these technology oriented times, it’s easy to think that posting “Missing Cat” posters are an outdated method to use; However, if people still take walks around the neighborhood or run errands around town, that means that eyes can potentially view your posters—which increases your cat’s chances of coming home. 

To make a “Missing Cat” poster, simply take the most updated photo of your cat and put it on a poster with bright colors. If your cat has distinguishing marks, be sure to indicate them, along with your contact information. A nondescript cash offering, will help motivate people to find your cat. Try to protect the poster from the elements by laminating it. Secure the top and bottoms, so that it remains in place. Consider placing the poster on trees, on store/restaurants cork boards, in mailboxes and in the area of the last place your cat was seen—be creative.

Recap

  • Posters are a good way to inform people of your missing cat
  • Simply use bright poster paper and your cat’s latest photo
  • Describe any distinguishing marks that your cat may have
  • A cash offering is helpful, to motivate people to find your cat
  • Provide up-to-date contact information on the poster
  • Post the poster around your neighborhood and in local businesses

Tagging Options

I.D. Tags

Cat Collar ID Tags are a simple, yet effective way to identify your cat. If your cat becomes lost and a concerned individual discovers her, all they have to do is look at the contact information inscribed on the tag. Ideally, the concerned citizen should reach out to you, so as to help your cat, quickly and safely return home. 

The information that is most useful, is an address and phone number where you can be reached. Some people include their cat’s name, other’s don’t. Some owners don’t put their cat’s name on the tag, because of the possibility, that someone might take the cat as their own and continue using the name to reinforce familiarity. 

QR Tags

For a high tech solution, you can look into QR code tags. These are tags that can be scanned by a smart phone, to be sent to a profile page of the lost cat. There, the user can be informed on how to contact the owner and care for the cat until someone claims her. 

Tracker Tags

There are also tags that are designed with tracker technology. These tags are designed to use a smartphone app to locate your pet within a set radius.

Recap

  • Cat collar tags are still considered one of the best ways to identify pets
  • For safety, consider using a quick-release-collar—in case it gets caught on something
  • QR Tags gives anyone with a smartphone, access to your cat’s profile online
  •  Tracker tags can locate your cat using GPS technology

More Tips To Finding Your Cat

  • Check with nearby shelters, animal control and veterinarian hospitals
  • Consider emailing your cat’s pictures or “Cat Missing Posters” to the above agencies
  • Walk in the area that you live and call your cat, use “The Dinner Bell” tip
  • Talk to your neighbors and friends, ask for permission to look on their property
  • Check under cars, porches, sheds and other tight places
  • Check delivery and contractor trucks to see if your cat is hiding inside
  • Consider using a humane trap, some animal shelters might lend them to you

In conclusion, it’s important to be patient and persistent. In many cases a cat can wander away from home for days, then just randomly appear out of nowhere. If you take proper precautions, communicate with local animal agencies and people that live in the area, you’ll increase the chances of finding your cat. Good luck and thanks for reading.