As pet owners, we have all most likely experienced that panic (the one right in the pit of the stomach) when our beloved cat hasn’t returned home for their dinner at the time they usually do, or maybe we have turned around in the dog park to no longer find our loyal canine companion where we last saw them chasing an imaginary squirrel. It’s a horrible experience when our pets go missing, and one that is all too common.
Claire our Business Manager from Waltham Forest was walking home from the tube station at around 8:30 pm one night when she came across a beautiful, ginger cat. She gave him a stroke (as she does to most cats she passes!) but he seemed to want to follow her home. He let out a somewhat distressed meow and it was then that she wondered if he may be lost. Claire noticed that he was wearing a collar and luckily it had a telephone number on it. Despite a flash of doubt over whether she really should call the number (she had images of a stranger picking up the phone with great confusion over why she would be bothering them about their innocently friendly cat who probably only lived down the street), something was telling her that this cat was walking a little too aimlessly to just be looking for attention. So, she called the number… Guess what; this cat had actually been missing for a week and was almost a mile away from his home. Needless
to say, a tearful reunion followed that night and it was truly wonderful to see the days of worry lift from the owner’s face as his fears were suddenly eradicated (he had started to assume that he would never see his cat again).
So, what can we do if our pets become lost?
Prevention, first and foremost, is the best preparation. Make sure your pets are microchipped (a mandatory requirement now for dogs) and always update your details if you move house.
A collar with your phone number is also beneficial, as Claire’s situation proved!
Don’t panic, but do contact the company your pet’s microchip is registered with, all the local veterinary surgeries (and leave your details with them in case a stray is brought in) and also your council’s dog warden. For cats, especially, it is also worth asking your neighbours to check their garden sheds (an old cat of Claire’s once survived for eight days in a neighbour’s shed!)
Social media is of course a huge way of letting people know that your pet is lost (post on the pages of your local council and any community groups as well as on your own) and don’t forget to put posters up in your area.
We can’t always prevent our four-legged Houdini’s from going AWOL, but there is certainly a lot we can do as pet-owners to keep them as safe as possible. And, Claire was reminded last night, it’s always worth double-checking if you do happen to come across a lonely soul on your way home.