It’s a tragic, scary time when your pet goes missing, but it’s also no time to sit and wallow in sadness. Get after it and find that lost pet, and the sooner the better.
Use the Chip
If you had the pet chipped, call the company that supplied the chip and manages the information. If you’re reading this and your pet is sitting right by you, then a good preventative measure is to also register your pet’s chip ID number with either Petkey.org or RFID-USA which are organizations that help you find and retrieve your pet using the RFID technology. Place a report with your chip company and the local shelters. If the chip is read your info should come up but it never hurts to be proactive.
Your Local Veterinary Clinics
Lots of times people, wary of Animal Control officers, will drop off stray cats and dogs at the local vet. Once again, be proactive and contact all the nearby vets to check if they have your pet or to let them know you are missing one. Drop off a missing poster and your contact information and you may not only get your pet back sooner, but with no fines or fees from the local shelter.
Whether your pet is chipped or not, check the local shelters as mix-ups do occur. Some have online sites you can check every day with photos and info available at your fingertips. These shelters process a lot of animals daily and are very busy. You don’t want your pet to be picked up and then lost in the shuffle. Check the sites daily and even drop in because they do adopt or put to sleep unclaimed pets after a certain period.
Posters on Poles
Make a poster with a picture of your pet and place it on poles around the neighborhood. You would be surprised how many pets get lost, stuck in garages, or brought inside by well-meaning neighbors. There is a good chance your pet is nearby and being cared for. People tend to call animal control when dogs are running loose, but rarely do so for cats. Most municipalities allow cats to roam, so folks are less likely to be concerned about a stray cat unless it hangs around their home.
Drive, Walk or Ride the Neighborhood
Cats get chased up trees and stuck, run into a garage and hide, or just plain get lost. Walk the neighborhood, ride your bike, or at least drive around slowly and call your pet’s name. It may be feel embarrassing walking the neighborhood yelling “Fluffy!?!” but imagine the relief when she calls back. Plus, if she has been taken in by a well-meaning neighbor, you may find her in a window or run into the neighbor who was just helping out.
Craigslist.org has a lost and found section and sometimes your local newspaper may too. There are many other sites offering help that you should look for which cater to your area. Post on as many sites as you find in your area and hope for the best. Also check the found sections and don’t just expect well-intentioned people to be looking up your lost pet posts.
Beware the Scams
Unfortunately there are people out there who will either steal your pet for a reward or try to scam you for a reward even when they don’t have your pet. When you list online or in posters, give descriptions of your pet or photos but do not mention every possible identifier. Some scam artists will demand a reward before returning your pet. Try to find something like an injury, scar or marking that only someone in possession of your pet will know before thinking they have your animal. It’s great and sometimes useful to offer a reward. but if you are being forced to pay for their return, call the police.