Dear pet owners,
I 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