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Help! My Cat Escaped!

It is an understandably scary and stressful time whenever our pets wander off, get overly curious and find themselves lost. However, it is important to remain calm in order to better focus on how to get your furry friend home. When your indoor cat finds him or herself out of the house and instead, out in the world, there are a few tricks that tend to lure your wandering feline back home safe. 

It is important to remember that indoor cats will likely stay within a five house radius when they have escaped. The world outside is unfamiliar and scary, and most cats will tend to lay low, hide and wait until they feel it is a safe time to emerge. This could be several days to weeks of hiding depending on the confidence of your cat and your neighborhood activity levels. It is important to act fast; however, in order to get ahead of your rebellious kitty’s potential exploration. 

 

1. Leave your garage or back door slightly open

Cats like to sneak back in the same way they snuck out. By leaving more discrete modes of re-entry into your home available, your cat may be inclined to return home. Additionally, if you are aware of the way in which your furry friend escaped, leave that entrance/exit open and available for him or her to come back through. 

 

2. Spread kitty litter, favorite toys, bedding, and blankets outside around your home and exits

Try appealing to your cat’s sense of smell, which is far more powerful than our own. Spread ideally used kitty litter around your yard so that your kitty has a better chance of getting a familiar whiff of his or her own scent. This could lure him or her back home, as he or she will be more likely to follow a familiar scent. 

 

3. Leave special, stinky treats outside 

Your kitty’s food won’t suffice here. Instead, try putting a special treat outside, like sardines or canned tuna in springwater, to try and entice your pet back home. Heating this treat will keep it fragrant, so try warming it up every few hours for maximum stench!  

 

4. Call your cat in a calm, normal speaking voice

Cats are drawn to comforting and familiar sounds, so walking around your neighborhood screaming out your cat’s is more likely to keep them in hiding then draw them out to play. 

 

5. Stay up late, get up early

Most cat owners report their cat returning during dusk or dawn, when it feels safest for them to come out of hiding. This might mean having a few sleepless nights, but could result in your best friend’s return! 

 

6. Call your local police, vets, shelters, and animal control centers 

Notifying your local authorities that your cat has gone missing ensures that if someone sees or finds your cat and reports it, or brings him or her in, that they will already know that your kitty is being looked for. They can then call you and let you know your pet has been found. Getting ahead and letting others know about your missing furry friend only helps expedite the process of finding him or her. 

 

7. Check social media  

Many cities and towns have lost pet pages on Facebook and other social media platforms. You can search “lost pets of ________” and find links to various forums and pages where others are willing and able to help you search for your pet. These pages are also often where people will post found pets, too, so keep a close eye on them! 


Try not to stress too much about your wandering feline. The ASPCA conducted a survey of 1,015 pet households, and the findings of its five-year effort are published in the June 2012 issue of the journal Animals. Their findings report that 75% of lost cats are found or return home. Those are positive statistics and hopefully can help to lift the spirits of anyone who is currently searching for a lost cat. Don’t lose hope!