Lost Cat Thought Dead Found Thanks to ID Tag

Lucky "returned from the dead" after four months due to his ID tag

Lucky “returned from the dead” after four months due to his ID tag

Lucky went missing shortly after his family moved to a new home.  He was an experienced outdoor-access cat, but being unfamiliar with the new area, he disappeared on the first day that he was let outside at his new address.  His family acted immediately and called me (a pet detective) just the day after he went missing.  We conducted a search of the neighborhood with my cat detection dog to ensure that Lucky was not trapped or injured and hiding in the immediate area, but we found no sign of him.  I instructed Lucky’s family on how to implement an effective search plan to continue looking for him, but sadly they never really got started.  The following day animal control called and reported finding a deceased cat that matched Lucky’s description just 1/4 mile from their new home.  This cat did not have on a collar with ID tags, as Lucky had when he went missing, but they concluded that it most likely was Lucky and buried him in the back yard.

Fast forward over four months, and I received this amazing email from Lucky’s owner:

“So you will never believe the news I have for you…… the big black cat that animal control brought to us 4 months ago that was hit by the car and my husband buried in our yard, was not Lucky!!  Two weeks ago a woman showed up at our door asking if we had lost a black cat.  We said yes, 4 months ago but he was hit by a car.  She said, well I have a black cat with a red collar and tags with this address and phone number.  She brought the carrier in and I literally fell to the floor crying when I looked in and saw his face and collar still perfectly in tact on his neck.  A woman had been putting food out for him all winter but she never got close enough to see the tag.  She had called a woman who volunteers at PAWS in Wakefield MA early in the winter to try to get him to bring him out of the cold but when she showed up he was not around as much.  Then he started coming back around her house a few weeks ago and that woman from PAWS went there and was able to trap him.  When she saw him in the cage and that he was black and his name Lucky it sounded familiar to her, then he moved and his tag flipped over and she saw the address and was so surprised.  She called the animal control guy in Lynnfield and asked him and he said oh yeah I brought a black cat to them a few days after he was reported missing.  She then told him that she had Lucky with our address on his collar and he was amazed.  She drove to our house as she lives in the same city as us and I actually talked to her when he first went missing.  I opened the carrier and he walked out rubbed my leg and hopped up on the bed and laid down like nothing ever happened.  It is so unbelievable!!  We took him to the vet and he was perfectly fine, not a scratch or flea on him and he gained a pound while he was out in the wild all winter.  Go figure!  We got a chip put in him and registered with Home Again. ….  Hope all is well and I still can’t believe he is home and I am writing this email to you!!  Best, Stacey”

Case file from Lost Pet Research & Recovery

Posted in Found after several months, ID Tags, Kindness of Strangers, Outdoor-Access Cat, Shelter or Rescue Group | 2 Comments

Fudge’s Story: 14 Year Old Blind Cat Found 1/2 Mile from Home After 10 Days Lost

Dear pet owners,

FudgeI wanted to share my missing cat story with some helpful tips, so that I can give both hope and direction to pet owners who are in the situation that I was in, as I am fully aware of what a distressing situation it is to be in.

We are a family of 4 and we had our beloved Siamese cat, Fudge for approximately 14 years before one day he suddenly went missing. We live in a house on the outskirts of London, where there is plenty of open space, and he was a cat who enjoyed playing throughout the neighbourhood gardens. He lost his eye sight due to a genetic problem when he was 11 years old, but this did not deter him from roaming the gardens and he could navigate very well. In fact, it had taken us a while to realise that he had lost his sight because it was almost as though nothing had changed for him. Although he was rather timid, he was a very intelligent cat with an excellent memory and losing his sight heightened all of his other senses.

Each evening after his daily adventure, without fail, he would come home to have some dinner and to relax in the warmth of the house, but one evening he did not come back. We thought he may have got stuck in somebody’s house, so we decided to wait another day before taking action. After another day without him showing up, we feared the worst.

We decided to take action with a number of approaches to get him home safely. Time is of the essence in these situations, and I have put an action list below to help all pet owners trying to find their loved ones:

1) Create a ‘Missing’ poster - ensure that key information is put on the poster, including:

  • Name - calling your pet’s name will help them come to whoever finds them.
  • Breed/type - this will help finders easily identify your pet.
  • Description of their characteristics - again this will help finders identify your pet.
  • Two recent photos - it is useful to put a close up of your pet’s face, as well as a full body length photo, so that any potential finder can be sure that it’s the right one.
  • Tell people to check their garages/sheds - when your pet is lost, it may well be trapped in someone’s garage or shed, so asking your neighbours to check may help your pet be found sooner.
  • Reward - if you want to entice people to help find your pet, you may want to inform them that there will be a reward for their troubles. It is important not to state any price, as you do not want people bargaining with you should they find your beloved. Only hand over a reward once your pet has been safely returned.
  • Contact information - this is essential to put on the missing poster. Ensure that you put your name and a number where you can be easily reached on.

After you have designed your missing poster, print off several 100 and post them through the letter boxes of the surrounding houses in your neighbourhood. It is also worth posting them through the houses on streets adjacent to you. Additionally, you should post posters up in areas that lots of people are likely to see, such as lamp posts, post boxes etc. It is also worth asking local shops and vets to put the poster up in their shop.

2) Post an advert in the local newspaper - ensure that key information is captured from the missing poster and this will be an effective way of raising awareness. The cost of placing an ad for us was £50 and we did get quite a few calls with people thinking they had seen Fudge. If you have pet insurance then contact your provider, as they may provide financial assistance on advertising for your pet.

3) Inform local animal organisations, such as the RSPCA. If anybody calls their local animal authority it is important that they are aware that your pet is missing. This can be an effective method of retrieving your beloved pet, so please make sure you have done this. If you are unsure of the contact information of your local RSPCA, then enter your location with ‘RSPCA’ on a search engine to find out.

The RSPCA can reach a wide audience quickly to help you find your pet, as they often tweet to raise awareness to help bring pets back to their owners.

4) Search, search and search. Search your pet’s favourite hiding places, search your garages and sheds, search high and low in your local area and don’t give up hope. Leave items of your clothing in your garden – this will help your pet navigate home through their strong sense of smell.

5) Microchipped Pets - Although Fudge was not microchipped, if you are lucky enough to have had your pet microchipped then contact your providing company and inform them your cat is missing – make sure your contact details are up to date, so that they can easily get in touch.

After we had carried out all of these tasks, we got lots of phone calls about Fudge’s whereabouts. A lot of them proved to be false sightings, but we did not give up hope. Each day before work I would set my alarm 1 hour early and walk in the surrounding roads and parks in search of our beloved pet.

After 10 days of Fudge being missing, it was difficult to keep on going with the search and although we had read other stories of pets being missing for months before showing up, we thought that it would be extremely difficult for him to survive with no food and no water, since he was blind. When all seemed to be lost, we received a call from someone saying that Fudge was in their garden. I did not want to get my hopes up until I had seen him, so I left work and went to see whether it was really him.

I was greeted by a very friendly lady, who lived half a mile down the road from our house. She said that a Siamese cat had been in her garden for a few days and that she had heard about the missing poster through some of her friends who had seen it. I can’t explain the feeling of joy that I got when I saw that it was him! She informed me that she didn’t feed him in case he was someone else’s cat, which is understandable. I offered the reward money to her, but she politely refused despite all my best efforts to hand it over – this act of kindness truly warmed my heart. Fudge was very very thin; a shadow of his former self and to this day, I have no idea how he managed to survive without easy access to food or water, let alone how he managed to safely get into this lady’s garden, as he had to cross at least two roads!

I gave Fudge a big hug and lots of kisses, hugged the lady who had found him and then rushed him home and cooked him chicken breast (his favourite dish). I then informed all of the local pet authorities and places where his poster was that Fudge was found and then I dashed back to work.

From this day Fudge became much more relaxed around everyone; opting to become a sweet indoor cat surrounded by his loving family. This day changed all of our lives for the better and taught us to never give up. Fudge lived 2 more happy years full of love, before peacefully passing away from old age on 15th February 2014.

I have written this post in loving memory of my little prince and I hope that Fudge’s story helps illustrate the importance of generating awareness in the community and word of mouth when trying to find a lost pet. I hope that his story will help other pets find the same happiness in being reunited with their owners. Thank you for reading.

~ Story shared by Andy in London

Posted in Found after less than one month, Kindness of Strangers, Outdoor-Access Cat, Posters or Flyers | Leave a comment

Miracles Do Happen! Lost Sick Cat Found Alive After 2.5 Months

Spot

Spot

For those needing a story with a happy ending despite all odds stacked against you! I still cannot believe it. This is a miraculous story that has to be shared with all who have lost their kitty and have given up hope and need inspiration.

My little Spot, a neutered black male who had megacolon went missing whilst I was in Australia. I was devastated. I even paid for an earlier flight back to Italy to try and find him. He needed medication and a special diet in order for him to poop, so to find him a.s.a.p was crucial.

I searched for nearly a month, in the rain and cold. Every day and every night. Near and far. Put up notices. Posted on the internet. Asked every neighbor in a radius of 2 km. I even went around the area the plumber (who was working on our boiler at our house the day Spot went missing) lived. I also searched the area around our bar where the plumber went immediately after finishing up at our house. Nothing. I was an emotional mess.
Then came that dreadful day, about 3 and 1/2 weeks later. I had discovered a black furred piece of skin hung in a tree down the bottom of our property , with fur torn out in hunks a midst the leaves and dirt immediately below the horrible find, indicating a struggle. The piece of skin was quite large, seemingly the stomach of my beloved Spot. There were no other black cats around our property, and Spot had a spot of white on his stomach, hence his name. The pelt I had discovered had even a little white patch of fur on it. I had taken the piece into my vet to confirm it was the pelt of a cat, which she had confirmed. I was inconsolable.

The weeks that followed were just as terrible, I still couldn’t believe he had gone. It’s spring here now, the weather is warm and the grass long. There are birds everywhere.. .the first time in 3 years because Spot unfortunately was an avid hunter…although the last 6 months had sported a collar heavy with 3 bells and since caught very few birds(if any) but he still scared them from feeding around our house. I am working in the vegetable garden now, and I have periods of sadness because Spot used to roll around in the dirt next to me whilst I worked. In fact it was only last week I was still calling his name while I was in the fields, hoping stupidly he would reappear.

Yesterday my partner got a call from our vet. She wanted to see me. I thought it strange. I thought maybe she had a little kitten that needed a home. I couldn’t believe my eyes when she brought out a cage and inside was a little black cat. It was Spot!!!!!!!!  I was in shock. I still am. It was impossible. More than 2 1/2 months had passed. Everyone thought he was dead, even I! Incredible!! He was skin and bones. Our vet had had him since Friday. Apparently he was in a very bad way when they brought him in. She had operated, opened up his stomach and removed a huge blockage of feces, that obviously couldn’t be manually extracted. She had kept him there, not calling myself or my partner until today, because she was unsure whether he would make it. She performed the surgery free of charge. She didn’t want the money. I feel like I’m in a dream, I still can’t believe it!!!!!!!

It turns out that Spot was hanging around several cats that belonged to a man (unsure whether they were his cats or he was just feeding them regularly). Can you believe he was the father of someone we know quite well, and his son and his girlfriend both knew my cat was missing?!) He lived about one kilometer from our bar, and about 7 kilometers from our house. Apparently Spot had been hanging around there for a while. Obviously the man saw Spot was in a bad way (unsure how long he was unwell for) and THANK GOD he took him to OUR VET! How amazing!

How he got 7 kilometers from our house remains a mystery. I think probably the more likely scenario was the plumber…going from our house to the bar the day Spot went missing. He ended up only about a kilometer from the bar. The other absolutely mind blowing thing is that he has megacolon! He wouldn’t go for more than 3 weeks without a vet visit. He was on daily medication and a wet food diet. He must have pooped during his adventure otherwise, as the vet echoed, he would have died. He must have been sick at least the last few weeks according the the amount of feces that was blocking him up but the fact remains he survived relatively well without anything for at least seven weeks!

I was convinced my little buddy was dead, and I wasn’t the type of person to believe so readily, but with all the facts stacked up in front of me, his long absence, his state of health and especially the hideous discovery of the pelt, I was finally sadly convinced that he was gone forever. I had ceased to search. Now just imagine if Spot WAS WELL. A healthy cat. That man would never have brought him to the vet. I would probably never ever know that he was actually ALIVE. Alive and living a kilometer away from the bar we work at nearly every day. SO even if your kitty is missing, and you don’t find him/her. It doesn’t mean that they have met a horrible ending. Strange things happen, don’t give up. You could still find them even though it seems impossible. Even in the end if you don’t find them, believe in the possibility of miracles, your kitty could be well and may even be in a new home, because think about my story. If Spot had not had megacolon he would most probably be living years a relatively happy life just a mile from my work and I would NEVER HAVE KNOWN. He would have been just a sad memory, my little buddy who died when I was 20,000 miles away. Have faith. Miracles do happen.

Love Megan…and Spot!!!!!

Originally shared on the Missing Cat Assistance Yahoo! Group and re-printed with Megan’s permission.

Posted in Coyote or Wildlife, Found after several months, Found Close to where s/he when Missing, Kindness of Strangers, Lost Away From Home, Veterinarian | 4 Comments

The Homing Ability of Lost Cats

These are all stories of cats that were lost away from home and were able to use their homing instincts to find their way back home.

If you are interested in learning about research on cat homing ability, check out Lost Pet Research & Recovery.  Since there is so little information available on the homing behavior of cats, I also created a survey to collect data on cases of homing in lost cats.  If you have ever had a cat travel home from an unknown location (even a few miles), please consider taking this very short survey.  For more information, see the Cat Homing Behavior Survey or click here to take the survey.

Posted in Homing Instinct, Lost Away From Home, Returned Home on Own | 1 Comment

All Seven Cats Found Alive After Tornado Levels House in Monson, MA

Many of you may have heard about the tornado that tore through Springfield, MA, and  surrounding towns on June 1, 2011.   One man, Michael Roescher, was home with his step-daughter and their seven cats when the tornado leveled their house.  Initially he was convinced that none of the cats had survived, but then he miraculously found their goldfish still alive in the rubble.  With renewed hope and the help of many friends and strangers, Roescher persisted in his search, and he was able to find all seven cats over the course of five days and none were seriously injured.

Read the full story on Masslive.com

If you haven’t seen the footage of the tornado, check out this video.

Posted in Disasters, Found after less than one month, Found Close to where s/he when Missing, Kindness of Strangers, Trapped | Leave a comment

Lost Indoor Cat Found 25 Days Later – Hiding Under Neighbor’s Porch

After doing everything possible to find my missing (indoor) cat, turns out she was under a neighbor’s porch just two doors away! My next-door neighbors found her this morning (April 8th) — the woman who lives there had been giving her treats — and with their assistance, they caught her and brought her home and said “Happy Mother’s Day!” I burst into tears. Don’t give up; it’s true what they say about indoor cats; they can be hiding nearby and won’t make a peep. I was out on our street last night at 2 a.m. and I was outside that neighbor’s house calling for her (and jingling one of her toys), but heard nothing. I honestly couldn’t believe she was hiding nearby; there has never been a single sighting of her. Some people told me she’d probably been attacked by coyotes (and there are coyotes near us). And I tried to trap her but only caught raccoons.

Dinah is thin as a rail, you can feel every bone, but otherwise she seems fine. She doesn’t appear to be dehydrated (we’ve had a lot of rain and there’s a stream/small pond nearby so I think she was OK for water). I’m not sure how much longer she could have gone without food; I doubt she’s had any. (She only weighs 5.5 pounds now and was 7-8 before.) After scarfing down a dish of food, and meowing constantly for 15 minutes to demand lots of back scratches, she curled up in her favorite bed under a lamp, as if she’d never been gone. She did try to sleep but she’s very agitated and got up again almost right away. I think I’ll take her to the emergency vet just for a checkup.

One month later:

Dinah had two trips to the vet, mostly because she needed fluids and for tests, but she’s fine now. It took her about a month to regain most of her weight (she was down to 5 pounds), and she was exhausted. But she recognized home as soon as she came in the door and was obviously very happy to be back. For the first few days she wouldn’t let me out of her sight.

Looking back at all the things I did to try to find her (from setting out raccoon traps to posting newspaper/Internet ads and checking local shelters), the most effective was simply putting up posters/flyers in the neighborhood and making sure all my neighbors were looking out for her. And not giving up!

Later I found out that one of my neighbors a little farther away had seen her right after she went missing, but didn’t know at the time that I had lost a cat.  They called me after they saw one of my posters, but she was gone by then (chased by a dog).

Deborah from Ontario

(Originally shared on Missing Cat Assistance Yahoo! Group)

Posted in Coyote or Wildlife, Found after less than one month, Found Close to where s/he when Missing, Indoor-Only Cat, Kindness of Strangers, Posters or Flyers | 5 Comments

Cat Thought Dead Survives Fire

There was recently a story in the news about a woman near Boston whose apartment burned while she wasn’t home and whose dog was assumed dead.  However, nearly one month later, her dog was found living in the burned out apartment (full story on AolNews.com).  While this certainly is a miracle, a short search on the internet revealed that there are many similar miracles taking place with cats in house fires.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Smoka, Miracle Cat Survives Blaze & Fire Debris:  This 16 week old kitten survived 26 days trapped beneath sixteen feet of rubble after a house fire.  She was found by the construction crew conducting the clean up and survived her ordeal.  (Source: Love Meow blog)

Tally the Cat Survives Explosion, Fire:  This cat survived a fire caused by a gas line explosion that took the lives of five people and destroyed an entire row of homes.  (Source: The Anipal Times)

‘Miracle’ Cat Survives Deadly Apartment Fire:  This family was saved by their cat from an apartment fire that killed several other people.  Sadly, the cat panicked and hid in the apartment when they tried to leave.  One month later they received a call from their landlord that he had found a cat living in the apartment.  They rushed back only to find that it was not their lost cat but another cat that had survived the deadly apartment fire.  They later found that the cat’s owner had perished in the blaze so they adopted her and named her ‘Miracle.’  (Source: PeoplePets.com)

Cat Survives Fire by Hiding in Couch: (Source Itchmo: News for Cats & Dogs)  There are actually many stories of this kind where the cat is found after the fire and hiding somewhere in or under the house.  To find more, just do an internet search with key words “cat survives fire found.”


Posted in Disasters, Found after less than one month, Found Close to where s/he when Missing, Kindness of Strangers, Trapped | Leave a comment

Going to Extraordinary Measures – Cat Found After Six Months

You may get to the point where you think that you have tried everything possible to find your missing cat.  However, few people have tried methods as creative as those used by one woman in New Zealand to find her missing cat, Darwin (a.k.a. Mr. D).  Visit the Catnip Chronicles, October 2008, to read Darwin’s story.  Note that even though Darwin was missing for six months, he was still found only 1 mile from home.  For more great cat stories and other useful information, check out the most recent edition of the Catnip Chronicles.

Here is the news story that covered Karyn’s efforts before she actually found Darwin.

Posted in Found after several months, Found Close to where s/he when Missing, Media, Outdoor-Access Cat, Posters or Flyers | 1 Comment

Cat Found After 11 Years

Another miraculous long-term recovery due to a microchip!  Salem managed to slip unnoticed out of an open door just several months after the kitten was adopted.  After several weeks of searching the neighborhood, the Hill family gave up home of ever seeing Salem again.  Then on Christmas Eve, 11 years later, they received a call from the RSPCA (the United Kingdom equivalent of the ASPCA) that Salem had been turned in by someone who had been feeding her.  She was brought to a shelter about ten miles from original home.

To view the full story, visit Gossip Rocks

This story and others like it really underscore the importance of microchipping your cat and keeping the contact information up to date.  Many people move or change phone numbers and forget to login or otherwise contact their microchipping company and update their contact information.  A surprising number of cats with microchips are never claimed from the shelter because their owners’ cannot be located.  If your cat is lost and you have given up all other methods of searching, your cat may some day still be found if s/he has a microchip and if you remember to keep your contact information accurate.

Posted in Found after several years, Indoor-Only Cat, Kindness of Strangers, Microchip or Tattoo, Shelter or Rescue Group | Leave a comment

Cat Lost Near Canadian Border Survives 3 Months in Winter

I recently found this blog post about two cats that went missing during the winter in Washington state near the Canadian border.  When it took place is unclear, but it was an unusually harsh winter for Washington.

For the full story, visit HubPages.com

Summary:  In early December, their two cats, Toby and Tigger, crawled into the carpool van and hid under the seats.  At the carpool parking lot, Toby bolted into the woods, and when they arrived for work at the oil refinery, Tigger also escaped.  They were able to put many posters where Toby went missing, but not in the area of the oil refinery where Tigger got lost.  The oil refinery is located 100 miles from their home and up near the Canadian border.  The family eventually gave up hope as the months passed by and the snow continued to pile up.  Then in February, they received a call from a woman who lived south of the oil refinery that her son had found Tigger.  She doesn’t specify in the article, but I assume that Tigger still had on his collar and ID tags when he was found.  Tigger was skinny but otherwise okay, and he was very happy to be found.  He survived three months in the freezing cold in a remote area filled with predators.  Since he returned home, his hunting skills have improved considerably.  Sadly, they never did find Toby, but he was lost in a residential area so there is at least a better chance that someone took him in.

Source:  posted by Anywhere Gardener on HubPages

Posted in Coyote or Wildlife, Found after several months, Found Far from Home, ID Tags, Kindness of Strangers, Lost Away From Home, Lost in Winter, Outdoor-Access Cat, Transported in Vehicle | Leave a comment