Finding Spirit After 21 Days Lost in Rural Illinois

This is another story from my case files including an email from Spirit’s owner, Linda, going into great detail on everything that she did to find her cat.  Spirit was especially challenging because although she was an indoor-only cat, she had previously lived with a feral cat colony.  She is also a shy cat and went missing in a rural area of Illinois.

Background on Spirit

Spirit Pic 2Sprit is an approximately 3 yr/ old DSH female/spayed cat, front declawed, and microchipped.   She was wearing a pink break-away collar with pink bell and heart-shaped name tag with “Spirit” and our home phone number on it.

Spirit was adopted 1.5 years ago from a feral feline rescue group. Spirit’s previous owner left her outside quite a bit and she was found living with a local, urban feral cat community. After being trapped two times with the feral group, the previous owner surrendered her to the pet rescue group. We then adopted Spirit. While living with us, she was a calm, indoor-only cat that was friendly only around people she knows. However, she would run and hide from anyone she didn’t know. Her behavior falls between a “cautious cat” and a “xenophobic cat.”   We have two other indoor-only cats and she was very friendly and social with them.

Circumstances of Disappearance

Towards sunset on June 17th, one of our indoor-only cats pushed open the back door and went on to our backyard patio without us noticing for about two minutes. Spirit followed her out and ran into the bushes of out house. She would not come in and kept running away from us. We had no luck getting her back inside. Spirit stayed around the bushes of our house for the next two days. During that time, we put out a feline humane trap. Unfortunately, we trapped a local feral cat on June 18th and then a racoon on June 19th. After the evening of June 19th, we never saw her again. We reomoved the trap on June 22, after no sightings of her and just left food out for her to heopfully just start showing up again.  We live on 5 acres and most of the homes around us are on 5 acres.

How Spirit was Found

Hi Danielle:

Spirit after she was found.  She has a raw spot above her nose.

Spirit after she was found. She has a raw spot above her nose.

Well, all the hard work and persistence paid off because we have Spirit back after being lost for 21 days! She has a few scratches on her nose, lost significant weight and has a mild respiratory infection, but she is doing fine. She is now resting at home (sleeping right next to me as I write to you – she is like the Velcro kitty now), being treated with antibiotics and eating and drinking well.

We were able to successfully trap her near a residence/farm about 1/2 mile northeast from our house.   I am totally positive that we would have never been able to get Spirit without trapping her due to her shy personality and being in complete survival mode after three weeks on her own.

We would have not been able to get her back without the help and guidance from you. The large posters and flyers were the most useful in getting sightings of her and people involved. Spirit was very elusive being a shy cat and was only briefly spotted by people at night. She was rarely ever spotted during the day (which probably helped save her life with all the coyotes and foxes around where we live). We have about four spottings of her over a the 4th of July weekend, all by residents in one area. They were always brief glimpses of a white cat, but no one was ever able to say for sure if it was her or not.  We also only had one person remember hearing a cat bell, but no one actually saw a cat with a collar on.

Map Spirit Found

Map showing location where Spirit was lost and then found 1/2 mile away 21 days later.

I’m going to give you some details of what we did that helped us finally track down Spirit and get her as I hope that this info will continue to help you with other owners of lost pets.

  • Large posters used to find Spirit.  These are 11x17 and some were even enlarged to full-size poster board size.

    Large posters used to find Spirit. These are 11×17 and some were even enlarged to full-size poster board size.

    Besides calling all the necessary animal control and local rescue groups, newspaper ads, Craigslist, etc., we put out lots of large posters in a 1 mile radius of our home. We then put flyers in every mailbox in an approximately 1/2 mile radius once a week, with updates of any spottings including date, time, location, etc. We went door-to-door at many homes in any area there might have been a spotting.

  • We marked on a map every time we got a call or email about a spotting. If my husband or I were at home when a call came in, we immediately met the person at the location of the spotting. We would ask lots of questions of what the cat looked like, did they see a collar, did they hear a bell, point to the exact spot they last saw her, etc. We never saw her and I think I heard her once cry, and no one ever got a good look for us to even know if we were even tracking the right cat.
  • We asked anyone in neighborhoods if they owned a white colored cat to rule out any look-alike cats
  • We put out 2 wildlife video cameras to try to see her coming to one of the two traps set up (FYI – we never saw her on any of the videos taken, and she only came to the trap the other night when we finally got her). The video cameras for our case did not really add much value in finding her.
  • We got many neighbors who are pet lovers involved and they in-turn were going door-to-door to neighbors in their residences.
  • We had a very nice junior high school boy spend hours for several days going through the area looking for her. He was one of the people who had the most recent spotting of her that ultimately had us put the trap near the home she was caught at.
  • We had one of our town’s city clerk’s send an email out about Spirit being missing a cat (with photo) to all approx. 600 residents in our town (kind of like the pet amber alert). As we pinned down areas, she sent out additional emails to those neighborhoods.
  • The $500 reward really helped keep the interest to find her high (we ended giving out a total of $750 to three people who ended up playing a role in finally getting her).
  • We figured out that the two homes next to each other where there were spottings each had an indoor-only cat. Because Spirit used hang out with a feral cat colony before we adopted her, we figured that she might try to find other cats to be around.  So we used one of the indoor-only cats as kind of a “bait.” We had the homeowner leave her living room window open just a little bit (with the screen on of course) just so one could hear her cat meowing though it. We then put a trap under this window for two days, baited with the smelliest canned cat food we knew of. Sure enough, on the second day of leaving the trap under the window of the home with indoor only cat, we trapped Spirit!
  • We used two different brands of traps; TruCatch Trap with the drop-down back door and the Hav-a-Hart spring-loaded door. I can tell you that the Trucatch Trap has a much higher trap rate of the two (we caught several raccoons and a feral cat in this one more than the Hav-a-Hart) and this was the trap we ultimately caught Spirit in. The traps costs about the same, but the Trucatch traps with the quiet drop-down door and brown camouflage color are by far the best:
  • I also went out every night with a flashlight for 2-3 hours, looking for her. But to be honest, this probably did not help much as she always stayed hidden and quiet from me due to her shy personality.

Also, I am fairly sure that Spirit was not going to just find her way back home after a while. We were just blessed and lucky enough to get her before illness/starvation or a wild animal got her in this heavily wooded, semi-rural area we live in. My family and I are just so happy to have her back home and we feel like we have had a miracle blessed upon us. I can tell you that our family and many friends prayed for this little cat’s sat return.

I am happy to provide you with any other info that may be helpful.  Thank you again for all of your help!

Best Regards,

Linda in Illinois

Story from case files of Lost Pet Research and Recovery

Posted in Coyote or Wildlife, Found after less than one month, Found Close to where s/he when Missing, Humane Trap, Indoor-Only Cat, Pet Detective or Search Dog, Posters or Flyers, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Find More Stories of Lost and Found Cats

You can find even more inspirational stories of lost and found cats by visiting the testimonial pages of lost and found pet groups and pet detectives.

Here are a few:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cosmo is Home After Three Years Missing

Cosmo is an outdoor-access cat that had been living at his current home, an apartment in the greater Boston area, for 5 years before he went missing.  This story is as told by his owner who would like to remain anonymous.

Lost 12/6/11         Reunited 12/24/14

My cat, Cosmo, went missing after he got out during a thunderstorm. I put out over 700 posters, I got a few sightings but you never know if they are your cat. Then a woman called saying she thought my cat had gotten into a fight with hers. I went over to her place and looked at the fur on the ground; it matched my cat’s. I hired a search dog. We went to the fight spot and the dog immediately picked up Cosmo’s scent. First, it told me my cat was alive (which was a joyous relief) and then the dog mapped the path that Cosmo had been following.

I ran into someone I knew in the area and he said I could put a camera and trap in his yard. His yard was down the street from the cat fight and on the search path. I got a picture of Cosmo the first night. Everything looked like it was going to work out and then I couldn’t get him to go into the trap. He came only late at night or at dawn, and would not go into the trap.

Cosmo would not enter the trap.  (Note: dates on photo are not accurate)

Cosmo would not enter the trap. (Note: date/time on photo may not be accurate)

No matter what I did and yes, I tried sardines. I trapped eight cats and a possum and did this for six weeks, checking the track every two hours. I also walked the track path each morning and evening, about two miles each day. Everyone in the neighborhood of the trap was also looking for him. No one saw him, even though I got him on camera almost every night. In addition, I started a treat, fur, and catnip trail home to my house, which was about five blocks away. I also tried a drop trap, with no success. Finally, after six weeks I really didn’t feel I could stay in their yard anymore and trapping simply wasn’t working. There were other cats that came by who also wouldn’t go into the trap. They would eat the food up to the trap, like Cosmo, but not go into the trap. And I could tell they were really hungry.

Cosmo shows up but the food has already been eaten.

Cosmo shows up but the food has already been eaten.  (Note: date on camera is not correct)

I asked two retired ladies who lived next door to where I was trapping if I could put some food and a camera out in their yard. They were home all day and they would keep an eye out for him. He found the food immediately, but so did the rest of the cats in the neighborhood. The food would usually be gone.  Here he is sad and limping, so I knew he had been attacked (see Video 03 below).  He came to this location every night but they never saw him. I did this for two weeks.

I laid the treat trail every night and had another search dog track. This time I shared the expenses with a couple who had been looking for their cat for months. The search dog found their cat four houses away. It was just too afraid to come out. They had walked past that house over 100 times calling for it.

With the second search came good news. The path Cosmo was following was closer to home and I felt like he was making his way back. After this track, I put out new posters around the new path, put posters in every single person’s house along the way and talked to as many people as possible. But when your cat only comes out late at night posters, CraigsList, and other places are just wastes of time. No one sees him, but people will continue to call with sightings of other cats. I came to realize that I was spending all my time chasing other people’s cats.

Then finally one of my neighbors saw him one night in my yard looking at the house so I knew he was back in the neighborhood and could stop leaving the trail. Then I put cameras and food around my house and on my porch. It took a long time, but I finally got him on camera again. Here he is in my backyard (see Video 04 below).  But he was so scared he would just come by once late at night and then I wouldn’t see him again for months. Then I got a picture of him on my front porch. Watch when he turns his neck. As you can see, he survived a pretty bad attack (see Video 05 below).

Finally, about a year ago, I heard a cat fight on my back porch. I went out in time to see two cats run away. I called out but no luck. I looked on the camera and saw that it was Cosmo and also saw that he had gotten chased away by the same cat that I believe beat him up and chased him out of the yard three years go. Here he is right on my back porch just about to go into my back porch door when Cosmo senses the cat coming up the steps and tries to hide (see Video 06 below). The cat appears (see Video 07 below) and they run away fighting (see Video 08 below). It was a non-neutered cat and they don’t like any males around. I decided I wouldn’t leave food out so the other cat would go away but he still hung around; he was so hungry I saw him eating frozen cat food in the snow so I couldn’t let him go hungry; I decided I would get him into the house and adopt him. Unfortunately, the next week he showed up sick or wounded. He could barely get up the steps. I thought he had been hit by a car. Animal Control took him to the vet and it turned out he had water on his lungs and there was nothing they could do. It was really sad because he was so friendly (towards people, anyway). I kept the camera, catnip, and treats on my porch hoping that Cosmo would come back after the cat’s scent dissipated.

Anyway, I have since kept the camera up and the happy ending is I have my cat back. Someone picked him up (I think he must have gotten so weak from starvation that he eventually let someone come near him) and brought him home to his house as a pet for his father. Fortunately for me, his father was allergic so they brought Cosmo to Kitty Connection in Medford. After all I had done, if he hadn’t been allergic…  Anyway, he’s lost about half his weight and has kidney failure. Used to weigh 12 pounds, now about 6. He didn’t know me and wouldn’t even look at me. Just crawled into a corner at Kitty Connection and refused to look at anyone. They said he hadn’t even meowed since they got him. It was so sad. But then when he walked into my apartment, he knew he was home. He became really animated and started walking around, smelling his bed and the place where he once found a mouse. And then when I took out some chicken (his favorite) he gave out a loud happy meow and did what he always does when I give him something he likes–rubs his head against my hand and purrs loudly. I was supposed to give him an IV but he’s been drinking pints of water since he came home and looks really good. He came home Tuesday, Christmas Eve and by Thursday he had eaten half a roast chicken and three cans of tuna. I don’t know where he put it. It was a nice Christmas present! Here is a picture of Cosmo from Kitty Connection’s newsletter.

Photo from Kitty Connection's newsletter

Photo from Kitty Connection’s newsletter

Posted in Found after several years, Humane Trap, Kindness of Strangers, Lost in Winter, Online Search or Postings, Outdoor-Access Cat, Pet Detective or Search Dog, Shelter or Rescue Group, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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 | 4 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 | 1 Comment

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



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 | 5 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 | 2 Comments

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

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 | 6 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  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:

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