Cat Missing for 2 Days? Here's What to Do Next (Step by Step)

Key takeaways

When a cat goes missing, we can lose hope of ever finding them again. Especially if 48 hours have passed and there's still no sign of them.

However, over 70% of missing cats are found, so you need to keep searching!

In this 8-step guide, we'll explore effective strategies to bring your cat home safe and sound and offer our top tips on how to keep your cat safe.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Step 1: Don't panic and stay calm
  3. Step 2: Check the immediate surroundings again
  4. Step 3: Enlist the help of neighbors
  5. Step 4: Utilize social media, online platforms, and technology
  6. Step 5: Create flyers and posters
  7. Step 6: Contact local shelters and veterinarians
  8. Step 7: Create a lost cat action plan
  9. Step 8: Stay organized during a Search
  10. Coping with your cat's absence
  11. FAQs
  12. Conclusion

Step 1: Don't panic and stay calm

It's crucial to stay calm even after two days, as panic can cloud your judgment and make the search more difficult. Remember, cats are known to come back home even after being gone for 2 days. To stay focused and positive, try these helpful tips:

Take deep breaths to help you relax

Remind yourself that many missing cats return home safely

Focus on the actions you can take to find your cat

Reach out to friends and family for emotional support

Practice self-care by taking short breaks and staying hydrated

If you're still feeling anxious, read our article on indoor cat missing for 3 days for more advice.


Step 2: Check the immediate surroundings again

It's crucial to check your immediate surroundings once more. Cats are notorious for hiding in the most unexpected places, so a thorough search of the local area is essential. Surprisingly, a new study has found that most cats are found within 50m of where they went missing, so staying close to home initially can be very helpful. (source)
Here are some search techniques that can help you cover all bases:


Look in tight spaces: Cats love squeezing into small, hidden spots. Inside, check under furniture, in closets, and behind appliances. Outside, check in sheds, bushes, and up trees.


Shake their favorite treat: Grab your cat's favorite treats and shake the container as you search. The familiar sound may draw them out of hiding.


Use a flashlight: A flashlight can help you spot a cat hiding in dark areas, especially at night when they're more likely to be active. Discover how to find a lost cat at night for more nighttime search strategies.


**Call out gently: **Use a soft, soothing voice to call your cat. Loud or frantic calls may scare them further into hiding.


**Check elevated areas: **Cats enjoy climbing, so inspect shelves, trees, or rooftops.

owner using a flashlight to find missing cat

Expanding your search radius after 2 days

After 48 hours, it's essential to expand your search radius. Your cat may have ventured further than you initially thought. Here are some tips for broadening the search area effectively:

Create a map: Mark your home on a map and draw concentric circles to represent different search distances. This can help you stay organized and cover all possible areas.

Prioritize likely locations: Focus on areas where your cat might be attracted to, like parks, wooded areas, or places with a food source. Be sure to check top hideouts where cats go when they run away.

Walk or bike your search route: Cover more ground by walking or biking your search route, stopping to call your cat, and listening for any response. For better results, learn how to attract a lost cat.

Look for signs of your cat: Keep an eye out for paw prints, fur, or any other evidence that your cat may have passed through. Recognize the lost cat signs to help you in your search.

Return to your starting point: After you've searched an area, circle back to your starting point. Your cat might return home while you're out searching.

Someone searching for their pet cat

Step 3: Enlist the help of neighbors

Missing cats can often be found in the most unexpected places, so enlisting the help of your neighbors is crucial after 2 days.
Your community can provide extra eyes and ears to help spot your cat, increasing the chances of a happy reunion. Consider reporting a missing cat to gather more support.
Tips on approaching neighbors for assistance:

Be polite and respectful: Remember that your neighbors are doing you a favor by helping in your search. Approach them with a friendly demeanor and respect their time and privacy.

Provide a clear description: Give your neighbors a clear description of your cat, including any unique markings or physical characteristics.

Share your contact information: Make sure your neighbors have a way to reach you if they find your cat or have any information that could help you locate them.

Ask them to check their property: Request that your neighbors check their yards, garages, and sheds for any signs of your cat, as they might have sought shelter there. If your cat went missing in an apartment complex, make sure to ask them to check their homes as well.

Keep them updated: Keep your neighbors informed of your search progress, and let them know if your cat has been found.

neighbors searching for a lost cat together

Step 4: Utilize social media, online platforms, and technology

Harnessing the power of social media, online platforms, and technology can significantly increase your chances of finding your cat.
These tools can help you reach a larger audience and provide valuable assistance in your search. Learn more about utilizing Facebook and targeted ads to help find your lost cat.
We recommend joining local Facebook and WhatsApp groups. There are many of these set up and some neighborhoods will have pet-specific groups.
When you post on social media, use these tips:

Include a clear photo: A high-quality photo of your cat is essential to help people recognize them if spotted.

Provide detailed information: Offer specific details about your cat's appearance, personality, and any unique traits, as well as the date and location they went missing.

Share on local groups and pages: Post on local Facebook groups, Nextdoor, and other community platforms where people in your area can see the information and share it with their networks.

Update your posts: Keep your online community informed of any updates or progress in your search.

Ask for shares and help: Encourage people to share your post and ask for their assistance in the search. For more tips on how to spread the word effectively, read our article on how to use technology to aid your search.

Did You Know? There are several smartphone apps designed specifically to help locate missing pets. These apps can connect you with other pet owners and rescuers in your area, increasing the chances of finding your missing cat.
photos of cats on phones

Start a PetRadar search

Using advanced technology, PetRadar has successfully reunited over 10,000 pets with their families. So, if you haven't already, start a PetRadar search. Once you report your cat missing to us, we'll create a digital missing cat poster and distribute it on social media as a sponsored post, targeting over 4000 people in your area.
This means when your neighbors are scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds, your lost pet ad will pop up. From the post, they'll be able to report a sighting, send it to a friend, or save it for later.
You'll be notified as soon as any sightings are reported so you can stay proactive in your search. It's a fantastic way of alerting the local community so as many people as possible are looking out for your kitty.

Step 5: Create flyers and posters

Though it's been 2 days, physical flyers and posters can still be incredibly effective in finding your missing cat. They reach people who might not be online and can cover a wider area.
Tips on designing and distributing flyers:


Use a clear, recent photo of your cat, preferably in color.


Include essential information: your cat's name, physical description, any unique markings, the date and location last seen, and your contact information.


Make the text large and easy to read, using contrasting colors for better visibility.


Print the flyers on brightly colored paper to attract attention.


Distribute the flyers in your neighborhood, at local businesses, and community centers. Don't forget to ask for permission when posting on private property.


Place the flyers in protective plastic sleeves, especially if there's a chance of rain or harsh weather.


For more tips on creating effective flyers, check out our missing cat poster template guide.

missing cat poster

Download PetRadar's free missing cat poster

Unfortunately, over the years, we have seen how many people experience a misuse of their personal contact details when they are put on missing cat posters. From prank calls to threats, it's the last thing any cat owner needs during this stressful period.
For this reason, we have designed a free and printable missing cat poster that uses unique QR codes instead of publishing contact details.
After you report your cat missing to us (for free), we will list your lost cat on our website. If someone scans the QR code on the poster, it will take them to that listing. There, passers-by can report a sighting, and we will instantly notify you so you can stay proactive.
To get this poster, start a PetRadar search. There's no need to create a digital campaign or pay any money; simply enter your cat's details, and we'll be in touch via email!

Step 6: Contact local shelters and veterinarians

Local shelters and veterinarians play a crucial role in reuniting missing cats with their owners, even after 48 hours have passed. They often take in stray or injured animals and may have information about your missing cat.
Tips on communicating with animal shelters and vets:

Compile a list of local shelters, rescue organizations, and local vets in your area.

Call or visit each location to inquire about any cats fitting your pet's description.

Leave a flyer with your contact information at each location you contact.

Ask if they have a lost and found pet database or notification system you can register your cat with.

Be persistent and follow up regularly, as new animals arrive at these facilities every day.

If your cat is microchipped, make sure your contact information is up to date with the chip's registration company.

Top Tip: Get your cat microchipped! This will help keep them safe if they do go missing.
a cat being checked over at the vets

Step 7: Create a lost cat action plan

Having a structured plan is essential after two days of searching, as it helps you stay focused and organized during this emotional time. Creating and implementing a lost cat action plan allows you to streamline your efforts and cover all bases in the most efficient way possible.
Tip: To increase the visibility of your lost cat flyers, consider using bright colors and large, bold fonts. For more tips on creating effective flyers, check out our guide on lost kitten flyer essentials.
Here are some tips on creating and implementing a lost cat action plan:

Set goals: Establish daily objectives, such as covering specific areas, contacting a certain number of shelters, or distributing a set number of flyers.

Prioritize tasks: Identify the most critical tasks and allocate your time and resources accordingly. For instance, focus on searching for your cat at night, when they are more likely to be active.

Delegate responsibilities: Involve friends and family in the search, assigning specific tasks to each person.

Stay adaptable: Be prepared to adjust your plan based on new information or changes in the situation.

Track your progress: Keep a record of your efforts, including areas searched, people contacted, and responses received. This helps to avoid redundancy and ensures you're aware of any patterns or leads.

Step 8: Stay organized during a Search

Organization is key in an ongoing search, as it helps you manage your resources effectively, avoid duplication of efforts, and maintain your sanity in this challenging time. By staying organized, you can increase your chances of a successful reunion with your beloved cat.
Here are some tips on staying organized and managing resources effectively:

Use a planner or calendar: Schedule your search activities and allocate specific time slots for each task.

Maintain a checklist: Keep track of completed tasks, outstanding actions, and pending follow-ups.

Create a contact list: Compile a list of important contacts, such as shelters, veterinarians, and neighbors, along with their phone numbers and addresses. Don't forget to include hotlines and helplines for lost cats.

Store documents and information: Keep all relevant documents and information in one place, such as a folder or digital storage system.

Stay disciplined: Stick to your plan, even when emotions run high, and avoid getting sidetracked by impulsive actions or decisions. If you're feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking support from a cat detective or similar professional.

neighbors celebrating after finding lost cat

Coping with your cat's absence

It's natural to feel overwhelmed when your cat is missing for 2 days. However, understanding some common reasons for their absence may provide comfort:

Curiosity: Cats are naturally curious and may have ventured further than usual to explore new surroundings.

Trapped: They could be trapped somewhere nearby, unable to return home.

Injured or sick: Your cat may be hiding due to illness or injury and waiting to recover before returning home.

To cope with your emotions during this ongoing search, consider these tips:

Keep a journal to express your feelings and thoughts

Seek support from friends or fellow cat lovers who understand your situation

Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to ease your anxiety

Stay busy by focusing on tasks related to your search or other positive activities

Remind yourself that many cats have been reunited with their owners even after a prolonged absence

cat owner and cat reunited


Is it normal for a cat to be gone for 2 days?

It is not normal for house cats to go missing for 2 days. If an indoor-only cat is missing, they are probably lost. However, outdoor cats, especially male cats, may go on long adventures, taking them away from home for 48 hours.

Do cats run away if they're unhappy?

Yes, cats can run away if they're unhappy. Their fight-or-flight instinct can be triggered by ongoing stress, fear, and neglect, causing them to run away.

How do I attract my cat back home?

To attract your cat back home, leave strong-smelling items outside. This should include treats, food, water, clothing, blankets, toys, and a litter box.

Why did my cat disappear for 2 days?

If your cat disappeared for two days, they have probably gone on a long adventure. They may have been hunting or marking their territory.

How likely am I to find my lost cat?

Over 70% of lost cats are found, so you're very likely to find your furry friend.

Why do cats go missing?

Cats go missing for many reasons, including pregnancy, fear, stress, neglect, illness, and injury.

Where are most lost cats found?

Most lost cats are found at local shelters or vets. If they are found by the owner, then they are usually around 50 meters from their home.


When cats go missing, we can feel hopeless and scared, but following the steps outlined in this guide can help maximize your chances of a reunion, even if two days have passed.
Remember to remain patient and persistent in your search, and stay hopeful. Many cats return home even after an extended time away. If you haven't already, start a PetRadar search. We'll support you every step of the way and offer constant support and guidance.

Written by

Image of the author
Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

Language selection