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It's every pet owner's worst nightmare: Your cat or dog is missing and you don't know what to do. The sooner you start searching, the more likely you are to find your pet. The two sections below were put together to help you.
The first section is a step-by-step guide to help ensure a reunion with your pet.
The second section are links to several lost-pet web sites. These sites contain databases of lost pets, and can also be used to register your lost pet. They also contain more advice on locating lost pets, and some also have templates to use to create your own lost pet flyers. The first web site, The Center for Lost Pets, was created by a team of vets, shelter managers, and natural disaster and safety experts.
Step 1 The minute you realize your pet is missing, search your home carefully. Your pet might just be hiding, injured or sleeping. Cats are notorious masters at hide and seek. Check the garage, under beds, in closets, crawl spaces and behind furniture. Shaking a food dish, treat jar, or favorite toy will sometimes lure animals out of a hiding place.
Step 2 Bring a recent photo of your pet, and a leash, and knock on neighbors' doors, asking if they have seen your pet. Look under porches and shrubs, and ask neighbors to inspect their sheds and garages in case your pet accidently got locked in. Cats are known to climb to a safe spot or hunker down somewhere quiet if they are scared and not used to being outside. Grab a flashlight for checking in crawl spaces under your and your neighbor's home, tool sheds, etc. Sometimes cats won't even respond to the voice of a loved one if they're scared. Again, shaking a food dish or treat packet may help.
Step 3 Call your local shelter, animal control agencies (municipal and private) or police, and rescue groups within 20 miles of your house; one of them could have your pet already.
Step 4 Make a "lost pet" flyer with a clear, recent photo, a brief description and your contact information. Hand them out at parks and dog runs. Plaster flyers on lampposts, community bulletin boards, vet offices, pet stores and coffee shops.
Step 5 Post and read lost and found messages on online animal forums such as those listed below. Consider placing a classified ad in the local newspaper, local online news, craigslist.com, etc. Most may be free to run a lost pet ad.
Step 6 Put your pet's bed or favorite blanket on the porch or in your front yard in plain sight as an invite to come home. Sometimes a bowl of milk may even work on cats.
Step 7 Check in with all local shelters in person. Since animals often come into facilities dirty or injured, it might be hard to match them to a written description. Plus, new pets come in daily, and your dog or cat may not be listed with the front desk when you call or the person may not recognize your pet from your description.
Step 8 Don't give in to gloom-and-doom thinking. Continue to check in with shelters every couple of days and check lost-pet web sites.
fidofinder.com - World's largest public database of lost and found dogs
tabbytracker.com - Fido Finder's kitty-centered sibling site
lostmydoggie.com - 3 levels: Free service with email alerts, up to $94.95
lostmykitty.com - Same as lostmydoggie.com
Pet 'N Play- Your Personal Pet Sitters
Ann Arbor, MI
"Dogs have owners, cats have staff." ~ Anonymous