Losing your beloved companion is a pet owner’s worst nightmare. We hope the information on this page will assist you in your search for your lost pet. Follow the steps outlined below for the best chance of locating your cat.
Think Like a Cat
If you were lost and potentially scared, where would you go? Shy cats or those who haven’t spent any time outside often seek out a small space that feels secure, like a crawl space under a house or thick underbrush/bushes. Friendly cats or those used to going outside may have roamed further from home.
MAKE A LOST POSTER
Here is a sample poster you can use (Word doc). Simply plug in your information and a full-color photo, and print. Color photos DO make a difference, especially if you have a full-body photo of your pet. Go to the Shelters
Take your lost poster to the local shelters first. In Philadelphia, that includes the PSPCA,ACCT (animal control intake), and Morris Animal Refuge. Unfortunately, kill rates are extremely high for cats in Philadelphia, so you want to be sure if you cat shows up there, the staff is aware you want it back. Don’t just call or email — take your poster with the photo on it and speak directly to a staff person at each location. Ask to see any animals that match your cat’s description. If your cat is microchipped, call the chip company and flag your pet as lost. Call the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in case your cat was injured and taken there by a good samaritan.
Next, put your flyer on every available surface within at least a 5-block radius. This is the most important step, because few people will know your cat is missing if you put up just one or two flyers. Talk to your neighbors (on your block and the one behind you that share an alley or fence line), give them a copy of your poster, or put one in their mailbox. If there is a vet office or pet shop in your neighborhood, ask the owners if you can place a flyer in the window. If not, ask if you can leave a copy with them. Do the same at local cafes and other businesses.
Petfinder.com offers a free classified listing service and has an extensive lost pet list that rescues and shelters can search. You should also post on craigslist.org in the pet section and/or the lost and found section, and search the listings to see if anyone has found your cat. If your neighborhood or block has a listserv or email list (like the University City Listserv), use it.
Don’t Give Up
We’ve heard from people who have found their missing pets more than a month after they disappeared. Keep putting up flyers and keep looking!