Unfortunately, this time of year especially, you hear of a lot of cats going missing in your local neighbourhood. It is normal behaviour for a cat to go exploring during the day, but if your cat has not returned home for more than 12 hours (or overnight), here are five steps that you should take to help them return home safely.

Step 1 – Stay Calm

When you first realise your cat hasn’t been home in a while, the first thing you should do is try your best not to panic. Try to realistically think about how long your cat has been away from home for. Have they done this before? Has there been a gradual change in your cat’s behaviour over the past few weeks? They may just be adjusting to a new routine as they expand their territory and find new places to spend time in.

Step 2 – Check the house from top to bottom

Before you go any further, are you absolutely sure that your cat is not in the house somewhere? They can be very sneaky and may have come home while you weren’t looking. Check every single room, on top of cupboard, under beds – everywhere that they may be able to hide. Once you’re sure they’re not in the house, it’s time to check your garden and any outbuildings such as sheds and garages that you may have.

If you still cannot find them, ask your immediate neighbours to check their garages, sheds, and greenhouses. Visit neighbours either side of you, across the road and in properties behind your garden or outside space. If you can remember seeing your cat in a particular garden, or a neighbour has ever mentioned that your cat has been in their garden or outside space, make sure to speak to them.

Step 3 – Notify Local Organisations

Once you have established that your cat is definitely missing you should start contacting the relevant organisations. If your cat is microchipped, you should contact the microchip database and register them as missing. If you have their microchip number but can’t remember the name of the microchip database, then you can search for the relevant company using their unique microchip number on www.check-a-chip.co.uk.

Next, find a recent clear photograph of your cat from a few different angles, making sure any distinctive marks or patterns on their coat are visible. Make a note of the following; name, age, colour, distinct features, collar colour or design.

With this information, you should get in contact with the following:

  • Your local veterinary practices
  • Local police station
  • Local animal rehoming charities
  • Your local newspaper or Facebook group
  • Boarding catteries in the area

Step 4 – Get looking for your cat

The best thing you can do, is get out and about in your local area and search for your cat. Ask friends and family to help you, so you can cover more areas. Take a handful of your cat’s favourite treats with you, just in case you spot them and need to tempt them closer. It’s also a good idea to take a torch with you, so you will be able to light up any dark corners that your cat may be able to squeeze into.

Step 5 – Your cat returns home…

If someone gets in touch with you to say that they have found your cat, try not to get your hopes up. Ask questions about the cat that they have found to establish whether they have the same distinguishing features as your pet. If you arrange to collect your cat, take someone with you as well as your cat’s travel carrier. If it is your cat, make sure you get back in touch with all of the organisations you previously contacted to inform them that your cat is no longer missing.


Read more of our advice on pet cats here.

Rachel Smith
Rachel Smith is a huge animal lover and has always been passionate about the wellbeing of pets. She currently has a rescue dog, Stewie and a corn snake, Samson, but has experience of looking after various different pets over the years.

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