|My Cat Ran Away source (http://cats.about.com/library/weekly/aa120901a.htm>>|
(But most likely he didn't)
In all liklihood, the owner of indoor-outdoor cats will eventually face the sorrow of having a cat turn up missing. However, the chances are good (or bad) that your cat did not run away. Cats are very territorial
(even the neutered ones) and will defend their territory at all costs, and if driven out by another alpha cat who is bigger and meaner, will seek safety indoors (if allowed that option) before running off. The truth is that the chances are more likely that a cat has been unwillingly removed from the area, injured, or killed. In order to find your cat, you need to consider the possible reasons for his absence, many of them distressful. However, this is the time to set aside emotions and to rationally evaluate the possibilities, with an appropriate action for each. Here are several possible scenarios, to get you started:
By Human Intervention
Picked up by Enviromental Health, Picked up by another cat lover who thinks your cat is "lost" "Rescued" by someone who thinks your cat is "abandoned," "neglected," or "stray" Abducted for gain by professional "cat nappers" Abducted by others for sick purposes (dog-baiting, ritual sacrifice) Trapped and "disposed of" by a cat-hating neighbor Accidental "abduction" (Cat hides in vehicle; is driven out of area)
Injured or Killed
By auto accident By a dog or another cat By wild animals
With these thoughts in mind, you can plan your strategy for recovering your cat if he is still alive, or to bring closure if it is discovered he isn't. Time is of the essence, and you may need to perform all of the following actions: Make up flyers with a photo of the cat; offer a reward (more about this later); distribute the flyers door-to-door, also post in store windows and on telephone poles Call all the veterinarians in your area, in the event a "guardian angel" brought your cat in with injuries; ask if you can leave a flyer there Visit your local animal shelter; leave a flyer and ask if a cat meeting the description has been brought in, alive or dead Visit your local school and ask that children keep their eyes (and ears) open for information about your cat; hand out flyers, if allowed Advertise in the newspaper - most will allow free "lost & found" ads Check the newspaper listing for "found cats" Post to local Internet pages specifically designed for lost/missing pets Check with local rescue organizations; ask for permission to visit foster homes that may have recently taken in a cat meeting the description
The Importance of Identification It is important to emphasize that with proper identification, your cat may be returned to you without having to go through all this stress. With micro-chipping many vets and animal shelters will be able to notify you.
Use Caution in Offering Rewards Heart-rending stories have been told about cruel extortionists who extracted large cash rewards from grieving pet owners, under the premise of having "found" their pets. If you advertise with an award, be sure to leave out one or two pertinent identifying details of your cat (one black whisker, one white toe, etc.) Don't leave yourself open for false hopes.
Become Involved; Involve Your Neighbors Most important of all, take steps to prevent cats from becoming lost in the first place. There most likely are other outdoors cats in your neighborhood.
Contact their owners and tell them of your concerns. Organize a "cat neighboorhood watch." Stress the importance of identification for their cats. Be on the lookout for strangers in the neighborhood, and if you see someone picking up a cat, get the license number and description of the vehicle. Call the owner, if you recognize the cat.
Write letters to your newspaper. Point out the Golden Rule with regard to "finding" someone else's pet. Julie Atkinson has done all of the above since her two cats turned up missing around Christmas of 2000. Although she has not yet found any trace of PeeWee or BettyBoop, she has discovered a mysterious coincidence of close to 600 missing cats in her home town, and is fighting a one-woman battle for investigative action.
Indoors is Safest Although indoors cats do occasionally slip out, they rarely go far, and can usually be lured back in easily before meeting harm. It goes without saying that an inside cat is a safer cat.
Here's hoping that you never have to go through the worry and turmoil of a missing cat, but if you do, that these tips will help in a successful recovery. Remember, it's every bit as frightening for our furkids as it is for us.