What would you do if you and your pet were separated? Would you know where to find her? Would your local shelter know you were his owner? Make sure your pet has proper identification (microchips are the best!) and then follow these steps to a quick reunion.
Get the word out – Call your vet as well as your local animal shelter and other local veterinarians to see if anyone has brought your pet to them. Make up colorful, ,eye catching flyers and post them in your neighborhood, putting copies in your neighbor’s mailboxes. See if local stores and business will let you post one as well.
Use Social Media – Many towns have municipal pages on Facebook and many also have “Lost and Found” pet pages. Post a good picture and description of your pet there and ask everyone to SHARE it.
Use Apps and Technology – There is now a free app for Android and iPhones called ‘Fur Alert’. Like Amber Alert but for pets, the application lets you send out an alert when your pet is missing. The alert goes to other Fur Alert users in your area and allows them to contact you directly if they find or see your pet. http://www.furalert.us/ or check in your phone app store.
There are now chips that you can affix to collars or ID tags that use GPS technology that can let you track your pet as it’s moving.
Call or Visit Shelters Often – Animal Shelters can be hectic on the best of days. Just because you called them once to ask if your pet is there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call again. In fact, you should call or better yet, visit every few days. Take along a good, recent photo that you can leave there. Check back often. Most shelters have a stray hold period after which an animal can be placed for adoption or euthanized. Ask what that period is and make sure you check once each cycle in case your pet is there.
Use Scents and Common Sense - Place a recently worn shirt or other article of your clothing in your yard and near the door. You could also place a favorite toy or bedding material outside to lead your pet home. Don’t leave out food as that may attract other animals and wildlife.
For some reason, cats tend to go towards the right when they run out of a door, so start your search by walking around the right side of your house. Slow down, listen and look carefully under shrubs, porch decks, and other out of the way places.
If you think your pet is nearby, see if you can find a humane trap that you can bait with food or something with their/your scent on it. Don’t ever leave it unattended overnight or for long periods of time, but set it up and keep checking on it every hour or so. PET SAVERS can loan humane cat traps for a refundable $50 deposit.
Keep in mind that some pets revert back to instinctual behaviors so even if they see you, they might not come to you at first. Be calm, crouch down to get closer to their level and just wait. Always have a bag of their favorite treats with you and toss them to get them to come closer. Have their carrier or leash with you so that you can secure them once they do come to you.
Keep Looking! – If you realize your pet is missing right away you increase your chances of finding her. But keep looking even if it’s been a few days. Cats especially can be hiding nearby and just afraid to come out of their hiding spot and both dogs and cats can go into “survivor” mode and act in ways that they wouldn’t in their home environment. There are pet search experts that can provide search strategies or may even be able to assist. Look for them on line or ask your animal-friendly friends for tips and contacts.