Have you ever lost a cat and found them again?

moxiewild

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I've helped in missing pet recovery for a couple of years now, even working with/learning from a "pet detective" on a handful of occasions.

But this is the first time I've lost a pet. I am completely devastated. I'm a total mess.

I need help keeping my hopes up, because I'm really struggling amidst all the sorrow and worry that overwhelms every moment he's not here.

Have you ever lost a cat and found them again? Please tell me your story. How were you reunited? What all did you do? How long were you separated for? How did you function while they were missing?
 

fionasmom

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I have had escapees who were able to be relocated and brought home again in two cases. Neither went far, both were immediately in the vicinity of the house. One had no intention of coming back in, but I got her, and the other was very confused which caused a startled response which did not help.

My cousin in FL lost her entire house in the hurricane before Katrina. She was at the market and the cat was in the house. It was missing for two weeks and was found alive and well, under the circumstances, in the beach grass surrounding the area. Even I was sure that the cat had been washed out to sea.

A lot of cases of returned cats depends on the cat and the circumstances. Are you referring to one of your ferals, or a pet?
 

aliceneko

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I'm 6 months into Fudge not coming back home after his disappearance back in November. He's returned a few times before to the garden, but hasn't been willing to come inside. To keep up my hope I'm on several lost cat groups on Facebook, and people often post returns of cats and dogs who went missing for several weeks, months and even over a year in one case. Cats don't go very far from where they live when they go missing except in extremely rare circumstances, and tend to stay within a 5 mile radius of their "territory". Keep on looking and put fliers out or a notice on any online community for your area you have (such as Nextdoor) or share details about your cat on Twitter or Instagram.
 
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moxiewild

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I have had escapees who were able to be relocated and brought home again in two cases. Neither went far, both were immediately in the vicinity of the house. One had no intention of coming back in, but I got her, and the other was very confused which caused a startled response which did not help.

My cousin in FL lost her entire house in the hurricane before Katrina. She was at the market and the cat was in the house. It was missing for two weeks and was found alive and well, under the circumstances, in the beach grass surrounding the area. Even I was sure that the cat had been washed out to sea.

A lot of cases of returned cats depends on the cat and the circumstances. Are you referring to one of your ferals, or a pet?
How long were they gone for? How did you end up finding them?

He's a pet. I'm used to ferals disappearing for weeks and months only to return again. This is an indoor only cat, although he came to us about two years ago as a stray when we caught him looking in the house through the window on the back porch.

I'm actually really worried my ferals are going to drive him off. I'm afraid they may have already. They're extremely territorial. They live in a green belt behind my house, and we hadn't had a cat fight within the colony that I could hear in about 9 months, which has been highly unusual. However, about an hour or so after Baker went missing, I heard a fight right behind our back fence. I'd already spread litter and we'd been calling him in the backyard. I just really doubt that a fight broke out in the colony by the house for the first time in almost a year right when my cat goes missing. :/
 
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moxiewild

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I'm 6 months into Fudge not coming back home after his disappearance back in November. He's returned a few times before to the garden, but hasn't been willing to come inside. To keep up my hope I'm on several lost cat groups on Facebook, and people often post returns of cats and dogs who went missing for several weeks, months and even over a year in one case. Cats don't go very far from where they live when they go missing except in extremely rare circumstances, and tend to stay within a 5 mile radius of their "territory". Keep on looking and put fliers out or a notice on any online community for your area you have (such as Nextdoor) or share details about your cat on Twitter or Instagram.
Would you mind sharing those Facebook groups with me?

I've heard and seen so many success stories, but it's so hard to recall them when you're grieving and in the throes of everything. It hasn't even been 24 hours yet, and I'm just a complete wreck. It's so frustrating that cats won't come to you when called when they're lost and knowing he could be hunkering down right under my nose but I might never see him.

I am aware most indoor cats stay relatively near, but we have a huge, overgrown green belt behind our house and that's the direction he took off in when we last saw him. That area is a lot more tempting to hide in than the bushes in front of the neighbors houses. My ferals live back there, and I'm really worried they're going to run him off if they haven't already.

I've posted everywhere humanly possible, I'm making signs right now, we're going door-to-door this evening with fliers, I've set out traps with cameras on them, we've kept windows open to allow scent from home to travel, we're calling out to him every hour, and I've ordered post cards that will go to over 2,000 people in the neighboring area in a few days through an Every Door Direct Mail service.

We're doing everything we possibly can. But I feel so helpless. I know the first 48 hours are so crucial, and it's killing me the longer he's gone.

How often do you see your cat?
 

fionasmom

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I checked FB and it appears that there are general lost cat groups and also more specific ones by area.

The first cat I described was gone for 24 hours. She was indoor only semi feral and never bonded to me exactly. She evidently killed a huge rat and when I saw her the first time, she was sitting proudly by its body. She stayed around the general area of the house though and finally I got her back in after several unsuccessful attempts, all made worse by her lack of affection for me. In that instance, I lived up in the foothills and behind my house was a greenbelt leading into walking trails, so like your cat she probably went there but somehow knew to stick close to the house. The second cat circled the perimeter of my property, current house with no greenbelt, at lightning speed, completely confused about what to do.

I agree that the ferals might have had a hand in this but I still don't think that it means that he has taken off over a very long distance. You are doing everything that you can.
 

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Link is indoor/outdoor, he went missing for four days before showing back up in my driveway. He was just waiting for me in the driveway after work, I threw him in the car and drove straight to my vet because I could tell right off he was hurt. He had a broken leg and my vet suspected that he either was swiped by a car or his leg got caught and he was hanging from it. The injuries basically put him in shock for a day or two before he managed to make his way him. His whole belly was visibly black and blue from the abdominal bruising through his white fur. He spent a week at the vets before he came home (and then he managed to re-break the same leg three months later).

My brother moved and had an indoor/outdoor cat. They got a dog shortly after and between the two, the cat went missing just a few weeks after moving. He was a gone for a month. During that month my brother ex swore she heard him meow outside from time to time. One night, she was in the kitchen and saw movement in the backyard. She went outside and sure enough, Ash was out there running away from the slider opening. She called him, he stopped and slowly inched back towards the house. She got him back inside with food and closed the door. He had lost a good 3 or 4 pounds but was otherwise good. Its been four years and he's moved again since then with no more disappearing acts.

I know someone else in my city whose dog went missing (well I don't know know but they posted to Nextdoor about the whole thing). So dog goes missing, they had recently moved so they called the microchip company to update their contact information. Whomever was customer service accidentally deleted everything instead of updating (Tip, always call back to ensure it updated properly). Dog is missing for two months. During that time the family had their car wrapped with lost dog information, a banner on any property that would allow it, posters up everywhere. Two months and they get a call from someone on Facebook who compares missing pet postings with rescues. A dog matching theirs was at a rescue 150 miles away and going up for adoption the next day. The family drove straight to the other city and camped out at the rescues event the next day. Ran inside when doors opened and sure enough, it was their dog. Having their car wrapped with a giant "have you seen this dog?" helped solidify ownership fairly quickly. Turned out the dog had been thrown from a moving vehicle on a freeway 20 miles from their home about two weeks after it went missing. The person who witnessed it scooped up the dog and took it home to another city handing it over to a no kill rescue they worked with. The dog was covered in bite wounds and in really bad shape. Partnered with the microchip information recently deleted and the rescue assumed that it was a re-homed dog who ended up as bait for dog fighting. They sent the dog to another rescue who specialized in rehab of bait dogs. It took 6 weeks for the dog to be healthy and adoptable before they listed it on the site and the person matched postings through Facebook.
 

Kieka

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I've posted everywhere humanly possible, I'm making signs right now, we're going door-to-door this evening with fliers, I've set out traps with cameras on them, we've kept windows open to allow scent from home to travel, we're calling out to him every hour, and I've ordered post cards that will go to over 2,000 people in the neighboring area in a few days through an Every Door Direct Mail service.

We're doing everything we possibly can. But I feel so helpless. I know the first 48 hours are so crucial, and it's killing me the longer he's gone.
:grouphug2:

I sent posters with my cats picture and microchip information to every vet, rescue and clinic within a 40 mile radius when he went missing. If you're not on Nextdoor, try posting there too. You are already doing a lot so don't take it as saying you aren't, just more ideas.

You could also try just quietly sitting in the greenbelt area at dawn or dusk to see if you spot him.
 
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fionasmom

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Not to go off topic here, but always double check with the microchip companies. I have stories.....

My closest friend has an indoor/outdoor former feral who follows a very regular daily routine. About a year ago he went missing for 9 days but he returned one night to the back door, exhausted and skinny, but alive. She, of course, rushed him to the vet and he is fine now. Her suspicion is that there was a new house being built on her street and that he was somehow trapped in the construction site...despite having spoken to the workers several times, all of whom probably never even bothered to check for the cat.

The two of us, along with another neighbor, went door to door and asked for permission to enter back yards as well. Most people let us, a few said no. Mental note....have something to hide? I did the same thing when an entire litter of ferals and the mom went missing. Asked people to open the garages. As it turned out, a coyote had killed one of the kittens and the mom had taken them all someplace else, but they returned.
 

Kieka

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Not to go off topic here, but always double check with the microchip companies
Oh yeah. I have my cats registered with every microchip registry I can find and double check once a year that we are all good. Plus I registered them with the county shelter and called all the local rescues to check what system they use to check microchips to make sure they are using a system I'm registered with. And I have my vet scan the chip at their annuals too. Microchips are great when they work right.
 
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moxiewild

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I checked FB and it appears that there are general lost cat groups and also more specific ones by area.

The first cat I described was gone for 24 hours. She was indoor only semi feral and never bonded to me exactly. She evidently killed a huge rat and when I saw her the first time, she was sitting proudly by its body. She stayed around the general area of the house though and finally I got her back in after several unsuccessful attempts, all made worse by her lack of affection for me. In that instance, I lived up in the foothills and behind my house was a greenbelt leading into walking trails, so like your cat she probably went there but somehow knew to stick close to the house. The second cat circled the perimeter of my property, current house with no greenbelt, at lightning speed, completely confused about what to do.

I agree that the ferals might have had a hand in this but I still don't think that it means that he has taken off over a very long distance. You are doing everything that you can.
That's reassuring that you lived on a greenbelt as well. It's such a tempting spot for cats to go, especially when it's overgrown and they're scared. Our ferals only ever leave it to come eat, otherwise, they don't enter the neighborhood. It just sucks because they're all a bunch of bullies and there are a lot of them out there.
 

arr

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My mom lost a cat for three months. She was an indoor only cat and somehow got out. This was in Minnesota during the winter so I don’t know how she survived. She was eventually picked up by animal control and since she has a microchip they were able to locate my mom. Unfortunately she was never the same again. I think she has PTSD from her time on the streets. However, she has very slowly improved. The first year back she would hide in a corner and you couldn’t get near her. By year two my mom could pet her and by year three she would sit on my mom’s lap. It’s now year four and when I come over she lets me pet her and purrs, so huge improvement.
 

aliceneko

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Would you mind sharing those Facebook groups with me?

I've heard and seen so many success stories, but it's so hard to recall them when you're grieving and in the throes of everything. It hasn't even been 24 hours yet, and I'm just a complete wreck. It's so frustrating that cats won't come to you when called when they're lost and knowing he could be hunkering down right under my nose but I might never see him.

I am aware most indoor cats stay relatively near, but we have a huge, overgrown green belt behind our house and that's the direction he took off in when we last saw him. That area is a lot more tempting to hide in than the bushes in front of the neighbors houses. My ferals live back there, and I'm really worried they're going to run him off if they haven't already.

I've posted everywhere humanly possible, I'm making signs right now, we're going door-to-door this evening with fliers, I've set out traps with cameras on them, we've kept windows open to allow scent from home to travel, we're calling out to him every hour, and I've ordered post cards that will go to over 2,000 people in the neighboring area in a few days through an Every Door Direct Mail service.

We're doing everything we possibly can. But I feel so helpless. I know the first 48 hours are so crucial, and it's killing me the longer he's gone.

How often do you see your cat?
You can find Facebook groups for any lost animal in your area, just type in "lost cat *location" and you'll get plenty of results.
 
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moxiewild

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Baker has a microchip, but we couldn't find the information for it.

Which is amazing, because I keep meticulous records on well over 100 cats, and all of their microchip records are accounted for EXCEPT his. We called the microchip company and they were not at all helpful either.

Even more remarkable, I just happened to scan him for his chip just a mere hour before he went missing. I meant to write it down after we finished the litter boxes, but he escaped when I went outside to trash the litter and my boyfriend accidently scared him with the broom when he was sweeping up litter scatter.

We spent a big chunk of last night and today trying to rectify that. I just happened to remembered my scanner stores the numbers. I've never had to use that function before so I didn't think of it until later. We scanned multiple cats when we had scanned him, so I had to compare and match numbers in a process of elimination to find his.

As I was doing that, a cat knocked the scanner off the table and it unplugged. No big deal, but when we plugged it back in, all the numbers had disappeared.

We thought that was our last shot at being able to recover his chip number until I remembered that we had him chipped at a place we don't usually go and they use a different company than virtually all of our other cats. We only have three cats (out of 100 or so - which is why we try to stick with the same company) registered with that company. The place they were chipped at had registered them for us, and the other two cats were ferals (I don't keep up with their registration unless they go missing),and I just kept forgetting to make an actual account for Baker.

Well, I tracked down the chip numbers of those two ferals, made an account, and typed one of the feral's chip number in, and miraculously, it automatically brought up the other chip numbers registered to our address! So today we were finally able to report him as lost to the company. I feel a huge sense of relief now.
 
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moxiewild

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I wasn't really able to search much on foot today.

I think I did a little too much in the first 32 or so hours. I just spend four months in the hospital virtually bedridden and I'm still on oxygen and had to walk with a heavy tank on my back. My stamina isn't great right now, and man, my legs were unbelievably stiff and painful today! I also have three blisters on my feet/ankles.

So we focused instead on getting the flyers and posters designed and printed, and driving around to businesses to drop them off. Tomorrow we'll head out on foot again and put up signs and go door-to-door in more of the neighborhood.

Okay... Right before I started typing, I went to the backyard to call Baker again, as we hadn't in about four hours since we'd been napping. As I was typing this post I heard another cat fight, this time coming from the neighbor's yard. I went outside with a flashlight and saw one of their bird feeders swinging around. I pointed the flashlight upward, and someone was in the trees. Fairly sure it was a cat because of how strong the eyeshine was, but there's a slight possibility it could have been a racoon (two were on our back porch eating the food we've been leaving out to draw Baker in/get him on camera).

But as I said earlier... surely the fact that our ferals are suddenly fighting again means there's a good likelihood it's because of Baker, right? I hope so. As much as I want him and our ferals safe and injury-free, it's also promising to have any confirmation he might be close by still.

Our neighbors just moved in a month ago, but we know they're cat-friendly and they've told us they've seen our ferals hunting their birds (which they don't seem to mind..) and going under their deck. So I wonder if that's where Baker is hiding. We had hoped to ask to search their property today (they weren't home when we went by yesterday), but I just wasn't really up to anything physical, unfortunately. So we're going to go tomorrow, and I'm really hoping they'll allow us to check their backyard ourselves. I'm hoping they might also let us place a game camera under it for a bit too, but we'll see.

We also want to hide a feeding station out in the greenbelt and put a camera by it, but not sure how we'd be able to resolve the raccoon and ant problem, since racoons would wreck any ant-proofing we would do. Damn those little bandits!

Anyway, thank you all for sharing your stories. I feel like it's definitely helped pull me out of the funk I was in a bit, and I'm in a more hopeful place now.
 
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moxiewild

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You can find Facebook groups for any lost animal in your area, just type in "lost cat *location" and you'll get plenty of results.
Gotcha.

I've posted on all of those groups already, but the only comments (if there even are any) are things like "prayers" and "I hope you find him". It's mostly just other lost ads, no real conversation or support, so I thought you might be talking about something different.
 
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moxiewild

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Ahh! We caught Baker on camera this morning!

69E92EEE-AC07-4E2B-AC25-99B5A27B2EE7.jpeg

It’s incredibly frustrating because our cameras show that my boyfriend was in the garage exactly 10 minutes before Baker got there to take out the recycling!!!

Not only that, but I actually stepped outside to the backyard and called him while he was in the garage!!!

(Check the time stamps in the upper left corner)

Garage -

D01E5F5A-0688-4B39-91F1-CD8C4E66DA2A.jpeg


Back porch (the blurry part at the lower left is my foot) -

41A1222D-CB70-4405-ABDA-9966D14F8460.jpeg


Unbelievable.

Need to be better with our phones so we don’t miss any alerts from the cameras from now on. I was getting ready to take a shower, so I guess I just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been. Ugh.

But I’m also so relieved that I could cry.

We now have confirmation he’s still nearby, and now that he knows where food and water are, he’s exponentially more likely to remain close. For now, we know he’s alive, okay, and he has food in his belly.

I iust need him to stay out of the street, stay away from dogs, and not be chased off by our ferals for just a while longer.
 
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moxiewild

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We got him right after I posted my last comment.
 

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I am so happy for you and for Baker. I'm sure the ferals* were a little frightening for him and that he never really meant to leave the house. I've had a couple who through the back door led to another room. Do not be surprised if he is afraid of the door he escaped through for a few weeks. Our often escapee, who discovered she was outside hasn't gotten within 10 feet of an open door in the last 11 years.


*I know you love your ferals and they love you, but I suspect Baker doesn't consider them part of his circle.
 
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