Please contact us via telephone or email and we will respond as a matter or urgency. Our phone number is 01908 642305.
Please note we do not have any veterinarian facilities at Travis. If a cat is injured or seriously unwell please contact your nearest practice for further advice and support.
If you think you have found a lost cat, get a clear photo of the cat. If the cat is unwell or injured, try to get it to a local vet as soon as possible.
If the cat will let you approach, make a paper collar with the message: "If this is your cat please call this number...". Place it around the cat's neck and secure the two ends with a small piece of sticky tape (don't put tape right around the collar as this can be very dangerous). If no call is received within 24 - 36 hours the cat is highly likely to be a stray or lost.
If the cat is a stray, or lost, proceed as follows:-
Why do cats go missing? Cats can go missing for a multitude of reasons. At the top of the list is curiosity: cats explore and are notorious for becoming trapped in tricky spaces. There are hundreds of cases of cats climbing into vehicles, sheds, garages etc and going missing for weeks until they are found and released, or find an opportunity to escape. Sometimes, people mistake owned cats as strays and either take them in or call a charity to collect them. Cats can easily become lost following a house move too — and if knocked down and injured, a cat may panic and run, then become very disorientated. Occasionally there are theories about cats being stolen off the street, however there is little evidence for this and experts say it is more rumour than reality. Your cat may have just gone exploring for the afternoon, and be absorbed in watching wildlife, but what happens if he doesn't return? Every year thousands of pets go missing, leaving owners understandably distraught. It is estimated that cats are twice as likely to be involved in road accidents than dogs. Although there are no reliable national statistics recorded, London's Battersea Dogs & Cats Home alone had reports of over 7,500 missing pets in 2008. Finding your missing cat Distribute smaller versions of the missing cat poster you have created through doors in a broad area around your home. The Internet is also a useful source for finding lost pets. There are websites where you can post photos and descriptions of your lost cat, enabling you to raise awareness further afield — cats have been known to climb into or under vehicles and find themselves many miles from home. For example, on www.lostmycat.org and www.animalsearchuk.co.uk people can post information about their own missing cat, as well as report lost cats they have found. These websites, national charities and smaller organisations alike all have advice and help available for worried owners. Try posting your cat on several websites — there are some more listed at the end of this article.
Can a pet detective help to find a missing cat? Animal Search UK specialises in finding lost animals. They have a network of people who will help search the local area and go door-knocking for you, as well as print posters and search in hard-to-reach places with specialist equipment. Founded by former policeman Tom Watkins, it has a success rate of over 65 per cent for finding lost pets, with over 800 people a month contacting his team for help. Recently, in just one week, Tom and his team were searching for eight cats — and reunited six of them with their owners. Tom says: "As soon as people know something is amiss they should contact us. Most owners know their cats and if something isn't right, even if they call us, we print posters and the cat turns up half an hour later, there's no harm done. There's a three week 'golden period' to find cats; after that the chance of finding them decreases, so the sooner the search starts for the cat, the better." Where are missing cats usually found? Don't give up... There are stories of cats being found weeks, months and even years after they originally went missing. "One of the first things we do is knock on doors in the local area asking people if we can search with them," explains Tom. "Most of the cats we find are often stuck in other people's sheds, houses or garages without residents realising, and some can even find themselves stuck high up in trees. I suggest owners looking for cats do the same — ask neighbours if they can come back and search sheds and gardens with them for their own peace of mind." Tom recommends putting a piece of clothing outside your house with your scent on. You can do this by rubbing it against your skin and then enhancing it with your perfume/aftershave. "If your cat has become disorientated and lost then it will be able to use the scent to find its way home," he says. Animal Search UK also has lost pet advice videos you can view on their website. What to do if your cat goes missing First of all you must search around the home — in cupboards, under beds, behind furniture, in a washing machine or tumble dryer, laundry basket, the cellar, loft space etc. Don't forget to look outside in your shed and garage, greenhouse, compost bin, and even your car — including in the wheel arches and engine compartment. Cats like to seek out warm, dark places to hide sometimes, so look in even the most unlikely places.
If your cat has been missing for an unusual period of time, and you have hunted everywhere in your house and outbuildings, then it's time to begin your search:
•Ask neighbours if they have seen your missing cat and persuade them to look in their sheds and garages
•Create a poster and missing cat notices to drop through letterboxes
•Search surrounding areas with another person, taking your cat's favourite treats with you
•Call local veterinary surgeries and animal shelters to see if your cat has been taken in. The RSPCA hold healthy stray cats for just seven days before they start to rehome them
•Phone your local council to see if they have taken any stray cats to an animal shelter or found any cats on the road. While distressing, it is helpful in tracking down your cat and gaining closure. Have a friend with you when you call, or ask them to phone for you
•Ask your local postman and milkman to look out for your cat on their rounds. They cover a wide area and so may have seen your missing cat
•Send information to local newspapers and radio stations as they may be able to give your cat a mention.
Top tips to help find your missing cat
Make sure you have a few good photographs of your cat that show off his markings — you never know when you might need them. Offer a reward, but don't be specific about what it is. It could just be a box of chocolates or flowers — £50 max. Your pet insurance company may be able to help with the fees for a professional search, and even pay for the reward.
Useful contacts Battersea's Lost Dogs & Cats Line (for animals lost or found within the M25 area): tel. 0901 477 8477 (8am to 8pm). Also see the Lost Cat Kit on the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home website www.battersea.org.uk RSPCA: www.rspca.org.uk, tel. 0300 1234 999 (24-hour service) Cats Protection: www.cats.org.uk, tel. 03000 121212 9am to 5pm weekdays Animal Search UK: www.animalsearchuk.co.uk, tel. 01432 266900 (9am to 9pm)
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