Dog lying on a pavement

What to do if your pet goes missing

All you need to know to help find your furry friend


Here's our checklist to help your search

  • Posters, Posters, Posters with picture and details with contact number...hand out to neighbours and anyone you see. Put up in local shops, pubs and supermarkets. Also put one in your and friends cars - it amazing how many people see them this way. Make smaller flyers and push through every letterbox on your streets and the surrounding area. It is a good idea to offer a reward…of course this doesn't have to be money…a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers is just as good. Please be aware that local councils may prosecute for fly posting, so don't put posters on lamp posts, telegraph poles, fences, etc.
  • Knock on doors and ask neighbours to check their sheds and garages WHILE YOU WAIT…it's surprising how many people say they will check but as soon as the door is closed they forget. Knock on 10 doors either side of your house on both sides of the street.
  • Check to see if there are any empty buildings for sale in the area. If there are it is worth checking with the estate agent in case they have shown someone round and shut the cat in. Also it is worth checking places where there may be builders in refurbishing a property in case the cat has got under the floorboards or in a cavity wall etc.
  • Look our for any abandoned vehicles, empty or semi-empty skips in case the cat has got in and can't get out.
  • Contact / check any community buildings where functions are held such as church halls, community halls etc. - in case your cat could be shut in a cupboard or toilet.
  • Register him lost at all vets/catteries/rescue homes within a 20 mile radius. Follow the link and click on the map to find rescues in your area
  • Leave food out and a toy of his.
  • Leave out an unwashed item of your clothing.
  • Put the contents of your hoover bag on your garden - it's full of smells that they will recognise and if doesn't bring him directly to your door will at least hopefully keep him in the area. Alternatively if you have a litter tray that has used put some of the used litter on the garden as this will have familiar smells in it.
  • Contact the local fire brigade and see if they have had to rescue any stuck cats.
  • Ask the local children to look - they are great for knowing all the local hidey-holes and love helping. Also have a word with your local post-person and milk man if there is one that delivers in your area. Also try and enlist the help of people walking dogs as they tend to go "off road" in the fields and parks.
  • Ask the local radio station to announce he's missing and give out a contact number.
  • Put an advert in the local paper.
  • Contact your local environmental services dept (bin men) they keep a log of all animals picked on the roadside ... I know this is not a pleasant call to make and hopefully it will come back as negative.
  • Go out after dark when it is quieter with a friend/partner and walk round the local area gently calling every so often (give him a chance to answer you). Keep talking as you walk round that way if he is in the area he will hear you.
  • When you talk to vets and rescues, ask them about any known local feral colonies and where they are based. If Kitty has been missing for more than a few days s/he might have wandered further afield and might be "hanging round" near a colony for security (safety in numbers) and company. If vets/rescues know locations of colonies, these might be useful to get some ideas of where to start looking.
  • If you have Pet Insurance check your policy to see if they will assist with advertising costs or reward costs for a lost cat. Some policies cover as much as £1000 of local advertising and up to £500 reward.
  • Email the lost poster to all the people you know who live in the area and ask them to forward to others they know. This is a quick way to get your poster circulated.

Finally have a look at these sites - they are all EXCELLENT!

Good luck and stay positive.

Hopefully your little one has just got itself shut in a shed somewhere.

And finally…IMPORTANT NOTE: When you get your animal back remember to remove ALL the posters and inform all vets/rescues/websites etc. that they are home.

If your pet is not found don't give up hope!

Pets can be re-united with their owners months after they disappear. Don't torment yourself with fears about what might have happened; cats in particular are great survivors and most of us know people who have given homes to animals who have turned up on their doorstep.