If you've lost your pet, don't waste your time - begin your search as soon as you notice the animal is missing. Here are the steps to take:
- Ask everyone - neighbors, children, mailcarriers, passersby. Show them a photo of your pet. Even if they have not seen him, they may be willing to keep an eye out for him.
- Create a flyer with your pet's photo, brief description and your phone number. Distribute the flyers and post in the area where the pet was lost. Post near stop signs so drivers can easily read it while stopped. If you can afford it, you may want to consider offering a reward.
- Put a "Lost Cat" or "Lost Dog" ad in the newspaper. Include brief description, location where lost and your phone number. You may also want to consider online resources such as Craigslist.org to post your lost pet with photo.
- Go to shelters in your area - don't just call! Give them a color photo of your pet and your phone number. Ask to see all of the pets currently in the shelter.
- Go back and check the shelters every day. Shelters can be understaffed and very busy, so don't depend on a shelter worker to remember seeing your pet among many.
- Take your flyer to local veterinary clinics.
- If you believe your pet was stolen, contact the local police to make a report.
- Read the 'Lost & Found' section of your local newspaper daily to find any 'found pet' descriptions that match yours. Also check online resources such as Craigslist.org in the 'Lost & Found' AND in the Pets section. Sadly people will find a loose pet and assumed it was 'dumped', immediately they're posting online to find the pet a new home becuase they don't want to take the pet to the county shelter.
- Look around your neighborhood closely. Cats can wander into a neighbor's basement or garage and accidently get shut in.
- Late at night and early morning, when the area is quiet, go to the area where your pet was lost. Bring his favorite food and a flashlight. Call his name and see if he shows up, do this reapeatedly.
- Indoor cats that slip outside by accident will typically not go far. Check the underside and engine of your cars. Ask close neighbors to do the same. You can also obtain a humane trap to set and possibly capture your pet. Any traps must be checked frequently so the animal is not in the trap for long hours and exposed to weather conditions.
- If your pet has been microchipped, contact the microchipping company to report him lost. Ensure they have all of your correct contact information and your cell phone number.
When you've found your pet, if you have not microchipped him then do so immediately. Many lost pets are quickly returned home because of this little chip.