HELP! I've lost my pet...what do I do first?

  • Search Your Property: For a missing indoor cat, begin at the escape point (e.g. an open door, a pushed out screen), looking around and under bushes, the house, porches etc. For dogs and outdoor cats, call the missing animal like you normally would.
  • Canvas the neighborhood: Go door-to-door, telling neighbors that you have lost your pet leaving a detailed description of the missing pet, ask permission or have them look in the outbuildings on their property, this is especially important for missing cats.
  • Call your local Animal Control Office: The sooner you let them know your pet is missing the quicker you will know if it has been picked up ---REMEMBER - MOST ACO's only have to hold the animal for 10 days.
  • Put posters out : Distribute them in a 1 mile area around your house, use a color picture if you have one, send them to area veterinarians, YOUR Animal Control Officer, and surrounding town ACO's. DO NOT WAIT MORE THAN A WEEK TO PUT OUT FLYERS! The sooner they go out the faster you may get your pet returned. Offer a reward.
  • Set a humane trap: A frightened cat's instinct is to hide in silence, no matter how much it wants to come home, and it may be closer than you think.
  • Place an ad: Take out ads in the local and metro newspapers. Post listings on line with rescue groups and at cat shelter Web sites.
  • Check Humane Shelters: This is especially helpful for missing dogs. While few cats are found in shelters, it's wise to check just in case.

    Lastly, remember a dog and cat wearing some identification will be reunited with its owner faster than an animal with no ID. Most people that find a cat without a collar assumes that it is "homeless" and unless you advertise your cat is missing, you may never get it back.


    Black cat with white "V" on his chest. Neutered male, 15 lbs, short haired, 2 years old, "Boo-boo", last seen at 27 Main Street on 9-28-04 . If seen please call 555-555-1212