It's every pet guardian's worst nightmare—your beloved cat or dog has gotten loose, and they're nowhere to be found. You try calling for them, and canvassing the neighborhood hoping to spot them, but they're still missing. Don't panic! If your companion animal is lost, act quickly and follow these steps:
Look locally. Begin your search as soon as you realize your pet is missing, and visit the Missing Pet Partnership for specific strategies on how to find lost cats and lost dogs. Search your home carefully first—under beds, in closets, dark places, behind bulky furniture—in case your pet may be hiding. Shaking a food dish, treat jar or favorite toy will sometimes lure animals out of a hiding place.
If your pet isn't in or around the home, take a slow ride or walk around the neighborhood. Ask friends or neighbors if they’ve seen your pet, and be sure to bring along a recent photo to show them. Check under porches and shrubs, and ask neighbors to check in sheds and garages in case your pet was accidentally locked in.
Ask authorities. Contact your local animal control to see if they have found your pet. Some communities provide a "free ride home” for dogs and cats who are wearing a current city license, and if you can provide officers with your current contact information. Ask to file a lost report.
ID's, please. If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip company to make sure your pet’s registration is up-to-date with current phone numbers and contact information. Some microchip companies take lost reports over the phone. If you are not sure of the microchip brand, contact the veterinary clinic or shelter where your pet was microchipped, or visit petmicrochip.org.
Try the trap. For lost cats, consider renting a humane trap as many displaced cats have not gone far from their homes. Fewer than 7% of cats who come into the shelter are reunited with their families, but more than 50% of lost cats are found by their own families when they use humane traps and other methods described on the Missing Pet Partnership website.
Lost a pet? Visit paws.org for help.