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How To Find A Lost Cat

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Losing your cat can be so stressful. We all know cats don’t typically come when called, so we put together a few tips to finding your missing feline.

1) Check Everywhere Indoors

Not all missing cats are lost or want to be found. Cats are notorious for hiding in impossible places! Before you assume kitty is missing, make a thorough search indoors, around the porch, garage and yards armed with a flashlight and the tastiest, smelliest treats. If a cat is injured, trapped or hyper-stressed, they may not respond to a command but it improves the odds. The odds are improved by having a microchip and wearing a collar and tag.

2) Don’t Waste Time

If you know your cat is definitely missing, take your cellphone with a few recent photos of your cat, flashlight and treats and head out. Don’t panic. Breathe, try to be calm and think like a cat. If you were a cat where would you go? Begin around your house and spread out to the immediate neighbors on all sides. Where does your cat normally head? What is the most likely escape route? What are their favorite bushes or hiding spots? Crouch low under porches, scan high on roof lines and tree branches. Remember, cats like to stay warm so they may huddled or crouched under or in a space that holds warmth. If you’ve recently moved, extend your search to your old neighborhood.

3) Ask Around

While you’re searching, ask pedestrians, knock on neighbor’s doors and show them photos of your cat. Ask if you can check their garage, sheds, under the porch. This is no time to be shy. To save time, multi-task during the search: leave a missing cat report with your vet, Animal Control, all the other local vets, shelters and rescue groups.

4) Leave Food and Water Outside

Fearful cats will often slink out after dark. Leaving a baby monitor near the food may detect faint meows.

5) Set A Trap Outside

Local TNR rescues will often lend a trap. Using their suggestions, set up a trap. Be prepared, you may trap a raccoon or other cat. Go outside one last time to check and call your cat’s name before bedtime. Try to get some rest. Leaving no stone unturned to find your cat takes energy.

6) Make A Missing Cat Poster

Here's an easy way to Build A Lost Pet Poster to be shared in your community. Please email your completed poster to our Animal Care (Lost & Found) Department at and other organizations and animal control facilities.


It doesn’t have to be fancy but make sure the words “Lost Cat” are large enough to be visible from a passing vehicle or pedestrian. Luckily most of us have a million photos of our cats. Choose or crop a large close-up showing details of the face and another photo showing the entire body, ideally standing up and be sure colors are accurate as your cat may be unique in color. Copies printed on neon bright paper show well and use plastic page covers in case of rain. Include: your cat’s name, description, any special identifying marks or collar, when last seen and where (cross street), your phone and e-mail but for security reasons not your name, address or amount of reward in case you are offering one. You ay also ad contact info at the bottom of the page cut into vertical strips that can be easily torn  off by passersby.

Enlist family and friends to help post flyers and spread the word. Have push pins, tape and a staple gun depending on the surface. The best posting spots include street intersection poles, local bulletin boards at grocery stores, Post notices in local coffees shops, grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections, pet supply stores and other locations in the community. Include a description of your pet's gender, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings as well as a photograph.

7) Harness The Power Of Social Media!

This is the time to utilize all of those social neighborhood groups you are in! Spread the word about your missing pet by posting it on your Facebook page, Facebook Neighborhood and Local Groups and to your local NextDoor website/app and ask that your friends share the posts, too. Post missing cat info online at Tabbytracker Craigslist, local online newspapers etc. Ask everyone to share, share, share!

8) Visit Local Shelters!

Even if say they don’t have a cat of your description, visit several local shelters daily! Cats can be brought in at any time and for peace of mind, check back often in person and by contacting the shelters directly.

10) Do Not Give Up!

Don't lose hope! Cats have returned weeks and months later. Keep networking, and asking neighbors if they’ve noticed anything. Keep your flyers or posters fresh with a “Still Missing” header.

At the Humane Society of North Texas, we understand the despair one can feel when a beloved pet has been lost. We work hard to reunite pets and keep them safe by offering microchip services for $15. A microchip can mean the difference of reuniting with your fur baby and saving their life. We hope you never lose a cat, but just in case, be prepared and have your pets microchipped!

Pets and People, Saving Each Other ™️

HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.

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