Lost a cat

The following guidelines are also available as a PDF download.


First 24 Hours

Don’t panic. Most cats return quickly. Make sure that they have access into the house, food available, a warm bed, and that if the cat does return, they can return to the house without being pestered by other cats or dogs (you’ll need to keep them out of the way). Generally we suggest you wait 24 hours before reporting a cat lost.


Where to Look

Cats are very inquisitive and may be even hiding at home – they can be indoors in a cupboard or behind a bed or even inside the frame of a divan.  Their outdoor radius may be up to 2km from home, but focus on the immediate area, especially if your cat is not neutered. Check sheds, outbuildings, neighbouring properties and put notices / flyers up around the area which include a photo of your cat). In a typical urban area you should aim to have leafleted around 100-150 properties.  In cold weather, the engine bay of cars is a frequent hiding place for cats, which they frequently cannot get out of once they are in (especially diesels with covered engine blocks).


Where to Check

  • Vets (you can google these or search for them at www.rcvs.org.uk)
  • Animal Welfare Charities (you can google these and find some of them at www.adch.org.uk)
  • Local councils
  • Online forums including “Missing pets Carlisle” group on Facebook.

Do remember to contact the emergency control centre number 0300 1234999  for the RSPCA, as their staff are likely to be the key workers to find cats out of hours and often the first responders to trapped or injured cats. Details on our website.

Always make sure your contact details are correct and add your mobile phone number. Check online lost and found websites in your local area, and register your pet on a national lost pet database (you can google these to find out more).


Prevention is better than cure!

  • Microchip your cat and keep the details up to date
  • Get the cat neutered to reduce wandering
  • Let them out during the day and always feed or treat on their return
  • If your cat is really unreliable at coming back, then consider indoor-only housing in future.
  • Don’t allow pregnant/nursing cats outdoors, they may run away to have their kittens.
  • Have a digital photo of your cat stored somewhere in case you need it for posters again.
  • Remember to cancel the lost reports you have made with charities when you find the cat.

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