Hey everybuddy. July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month. It was started by PetHub in 2014 to help pet parents with advice and strategies to prevent their pets from getting lost and to find them quickly if they do go missing. According to the National Council of Pet Population Study & Policy and the National Humane Society, a pet is lost every 2 seconds in North America. More than 10 million dogs and cats are lost each year, and 1 out of 3 pets will be lost during its lifetime. Sadly, only 1 in 10 pets is ever found.
Wow. Those are some pretty grim statistics. Lucky for us Island Cats, none of us have ever gone missing. But that wasn’t true for one of the cats that came before us.
This is Scooter, the original Island Cat. Even though Scooter was an inside cat like us, he loved to go outside. When he got to be a senior catizen, the mom would let him go out in the yard by himself, thinking he wouldn’t go far. It was a fenced yard…though we know that won’t stop a cat…but the mom checked on him about every 5 minutes or so. Most of the time Scooter stayed in the yard, wandering around the bushes and plants…and laying in the grass.
Except for one time. It was a nice summer evening, still light outside, and the mom let Scooter out in the yard. Well, I guess that was the day Scooter planned to make his escape. In that short 5 minutes, he jumped the fence and took off. When the mom went to check on him, he was gone. She looked in the neighbors’ yards but she didn’t see him. It was getting dark and the mom began to freak out knowing how hard it would be to find him in the dark. But she knew that he couldn’t have gone far. She and the dad-guy grabbed flashlights and began walking the neighborhood, looking in bushes and under porches and anywhere else they thought a cat might hide. The mom’s surprised none of the neighbors called the police on them, slinking around people’s houses like they were.
After searching frantically for about an hour or so, the mom finally found Scooter. He was under a neighbor’s car…a bit freaked out himself…and he wouldn’t come out. The mom sent the dad-guy home for cat food and a carrier. It took a little time and some serious coaxing with food and treats, but Scooter finally came out far enough so the mom could grab him and put him in the carrier.
This story has a happy ending…well, maybe not for Scooter because he wasn’t allowed outside unsupervised again. Unfortunately, there are many unhappy stories of pets that have gone missing and are never found.
Here are some ways to keep your cat from becoming a lost pet statistic:
- Keep your cat inside. There’re a lot of dangers outside…cars, predators, disease, even pet thieves. Keeping your cat inside keeps him safe from these dangers and gives him a better chance that he’ll never go missing.
- Make sure doors and windows are secure to prevent your cat from escaping. Tell anyone who comes to your home that your cat is not allowed outside. This is especially important for anyone doing repairs or working in your home.
- Make sure your cat has proper identification…either by wearing a name tag, microchipped, or better yet…both. We wear collars with tags that have our names, phone number and address on them. You can see me wearing my tag in that picture of me above. PetHub offers a digital tag that links to your pet’s online profile that includes contact info, microchip data and even medical issues your cat may suffer from. It can be scanned with a smartphone.
If by some unlucky chance your cat does go missing:
- Search your neighborhood. Cats rarely leave their neighborhood. Search under porches, in garages and other places where a cat might hide. Our neighbor’s cat went missing and was found about a week later. He had gotten locked in another neighbor’s garage when that neighbor had gone on vacation.
- Ask your neighbors to be on the look-out for your missing cat. Put up posters around your neighborhood that includes a recent photo of your cat along with your contact information.
- Check with your local shelter. Someone may have found your cat and turned it in as a stray.
- Post on your local shelter’s FaceBook page. Include a photo of your cat and the location where the cat was last seen. Ask people to share your post.
- Put your cat’s favorite bed or even his litterbox on your porch or other place near your house. The scent may draw your cat back home.
- Never give up hope. We’ve heard stories of cats that have gone missing for days, weeks, even months and have returned home or have been found.
To learn more about Lost Pet Prevention and ways to keep your pet from becoming a lost pet statistic, visit PetHub by clicking HERE.
Disclosure: We’re working with PetHub to help spread the word about National Pet Lost Prevention Month. However, that does not affect our opinion, and the Island Cats will only share information that we feel is relevant to our readers. PetHub is not responsible for the content of this article.