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What To Do When Your Indoor Cat Goes Missing

Last week our family experienced every cat owners worst nightmare- our Kitty Kitty went missing.

Cat’s are sneaky. They are also determined. So when your indoor cat gets curious of the wonder that is the outdoors, they will figure it out.

I spent an entire week scouring the internet and doing everything I could think of to find our Kitty Kitty. Ember was devastated. She would randomly start crying, missing her cat. They slept together every night. They are best friends. So losing her was losing a piece of herself. Something we can all relate to.

What to do when your indoor cat goes missing.

Finally, after 8 days of being away, our Kitty Kitty came home. Sad tears turned into happy tears and Ember and her haven’t left each other’s side.

Is Your Cat Really “Missing”?

First things first, you’ve got to figure out if your indoor cat is actually missing. There have been a few times that we couldn’t find one of the cats, only to realize that the cat was taking a nap in a random place.

Or the cat got tied up in a garbage bag and placed into the trash can at the road…. Ask me how I know.

What To Do When Your Indoor Cat Goes Missing

Places to Check for your cat Indoors

  • Closets. Check the closets high and low. You’ll want to check inside jackets and inside bags. They can cram their bodies into the tightest spaces.
  • Dressers. Pull out every dresser drawer in the house. Look behind them and inside of them.
  • Cabinets. You’ll want to check inside every cabinet, from the bathrooms to the kitchen and laundry room. Many times, I have caught the cat sleeping in a pot.
  • Fireplaces. Open up the fireplace and make sure your cat isn’t hiding there. It’s a dark and quiet place- perfect for a nap. Or hunting a mouse.
  • Behind furniture. Or inside furniture. Again, ask me how I know.

What To Do If Your Indoor Cat Gets Outside

First of all, don’t panic. Cats are survivors. They are hunters. If your indoor cat gets outside, they will quickly learn how to keep themselves safe.

Places To Check For Your Cat Outdoors

  • Under porches. Cats love to hide under things and inside things. If it fits, it sits.
  • Under Houses. Check underneath raised homes. Your cat very easily could have been spooked and ran underneath your neighbor’s house.
  • In sheds/garages. Like with under the house or porch, you may find your cat inside your or your neighbor’s shed.
  • Vehicle hoods/truck beds. It is always smart to check under hoods, especially in cold weather. Cats will go where it is warm.
  • Ditches/culverts. Again, they like to hide.
  • Wooded areas & trees. Cats are climbers. Look high in the trees and make sure your cat isn’t stuck there. Tom has fallen out of many-a-trees.

Things To Do While You Look For Your Cat

Stay calm. It’s so important to stay calm while you search for your cat. You’ll want to call for him in a calm and loving voice. If your cat has already been spooked by something in the outside world, hearing you panic won’t bring her back to you.

  • Bring a container of food with you. If your cat is food motivated, shaking a container of food may entice her to come running to you. Especially if she’s been out for a few days.
  • Search at dusk and at night. If your cat is hiding, you likely won’t find them during the day. Cats like to stay hidden when they feel threatened.
  • Bring a flashlight. Cat eyes will reflect in a light beam. Use your flashlight and see if you can catch her eyes. We discovered quite a few stray cats when we were looking for Kitty Kitty.
  • Leave food where you think they might be hiding. We left food out where we thought (hoped) Kitty Kitty was. I left a container of food out every night for her there and then again by our front door. Even though another animal may have been eating it, there was a chance Kitty Kitty was getting the food.
  • Place your cat’s litter box outside. The smellier the better. Your cat can smell things from a football field’s width away. Leaving their litter box out can lead them on the path home.
  • Place worn clothes from the cat’s owner outside. Again, cats can smell from very far away. Leaving clothes out can lead them to their owner.
  • Print and hang flyers. Make sure to include a clear image of your whole cat. You’ll want to let people know what your cat looks like so you aren’t getting false leads to his whereabouts. You’ll also want to laminate the flyer if you can. Using clear contact paper on both sides of each flyer can take the place of laminate or even putting the flyer in a clear sheet protector will do. Make sure to tape up the opening so moisture doesn’t get in. Don’t let your flyer be useless after a morning’s dew.
  • Check with neighbors, post on social media, and file a report with your local animal shelters/rescues. Social media can make a huge difference when it comes to finding a lost pet. Some people may be more likely to see your Facebook post than your flyer on a mailbox. You’ll want to hit all avenues and this means reaching out to everyone- the ones on social media and the ones who aren’t. You will also want to make a report with the local animal shelters and rescues that way if they bring a cat in that fits your description they can contact you. You can search for local rescues and shelters near you, here.

The Most Important Thing To Do When Your Indoor Cat Gets Out

The most important thing that we did and the thing that brought our Kitty Kitty home was leaving the window open next to the door we assumed she got out of.

If at all possible, leave access to your home from the place they escaped. Cats are more active at night and if your cat is trying to get home, there is a big possibility he’ll try to get back in from the place he escaped from.

I couldn’t leave the actual door open, but I was able to leave the window next to it open. Low and behold, she went right through it and greeted me at 5am while I was fixing my coffee.

I understand this isn’t an option for many people depending on where you live and the level of crime you have.. but I fully believe we wouldn’t have gotten Kitty Kitty home otherwise.

Don’t Give Up Hope On Finding Your cat

Have faith that you will bring your baby home. Losing a pet is devastating. However, there is a good chance your cat is just outside your home, hiding and waiting for an opportunity to get back in.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t give up. Good luck!

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