Lost Cat Signs: How to Spread the Message of Your Missing Pet

Key takeaways

Finding a lost pet can feel impossible. But the most important thing to do is spread the message. The more people on the lookout, the more likely you are to find your furry friend.

An effective way to do this is through lost cat signs or posters. In this guide, we'll explore how to create an effective flyer to catch the eye of passers-by.

We'll also look into other effective search methods and explain how you can get your free, expertly-designed missing pet poster from PetRadar.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. What are lost cat signs?
  3. How to create a lost cat sign
  4. Where to stick a lost cat sign?
  5. PetRadar's lost pet poster
  6. FAQs
  7. Final thoughts

What are lost cat signs?

Lost cat signs or lost cat posters are printable flyers that spread the message of a missing cat. You'll often see these on street lights, in local parks, and in veterinarian practices.
They're a great way to notify people in the area about lost cats. This will mean a missing pet won't be mistaken for a stray and will instead be reunited with their family as soon as possible.

Are missing cat posters effective?

According to a recent study, the most effective method is through a thorough physical search. However, looking at the survey of pet owners, 73% distributed missing cat flyers around their neighborhood, and over 50% of those owners' cats were found alive. (source) This indicates how using these posters can increase the chances of finding pets.
The majority of lost cats were recovered from the local animal shelter or animal control agencies. So ensuring these shelters and organizations have a copy of your missing cat poster is essential.
As well as creating and distributing posters, use the following search methods:

Physically search for them: Using a flashlight, strong-smelling food, and gently calling their name, search nearby parks, streets, woods, yards, and outbuildings. Many cats are often found in the neighbor's garage, so ask permission to search their property, too.

Lure them home: Cats have a natural homing instinct, which means they are able to find their way back home within their territory. However, if they have become lost this may be difficult. To help them, leave food, treats, water, and their litter box outside to lure them home.

Start a PetRadar search: A digital high-tech search can greatly improve your chances of finding your beloved pet. We'll distribute a sponsored post of your missing kitty on Facebook and Instagram that will show up on the social media feeds of over 4000 of your neighbors. They can then report a sighting, send it to a friend, or save it for later.

Pet owner searching for their lost cat

How to create a lost cat sign

When you create a lost pet poster, you need to ensure it's designed to be as effective as possible. The main aim is to catch the eye of your neighbors and deliver lots of information in an easy-to-understand way.
Top Tip: If you're worried you don't have the right resources to do this, most office supply stores will have what you need.

Choose clear photos

Photos are an essential element of your poster. This will be the main way people in the area will recognize your kitty and know to report a sighting.
When choosing your pet's photo, consider the following:

Does it show memorable physical features? A photo that shows specific and recognizable features will help your neighbors identify the right cat. These can include markings, eye color, and tail length.

Does it show their breed? If your cat is a specific breed, then a photo showing their coat length, color, size, and distinctive look can help people in your area find them.

Is it a clear photo? A blurry black-and-white photo doesn't help anyone. Make sure you include multiple sharp photos that are easy to spot.

A phone with photos of a cat on

Make it eye-catching

Unfortunately, the majority of people won't even notice a lost cat poster in their neighborhood. To make it engaging, eye-catching, and bold, use the following tips:


Write a bold title: A title in a large, bold font that takes up at least a quarter of the page is an essential element. To make this even more effective, try to think of interesting wording that will grab the attention of passers-by.


Use primary colors: Bold colors that imply emergencies, like yellow, red, and orange, are useful in signifying the poster's importance. Naturally, more people will be attracted to the poster.


Don't use too much text: Lots of small-font text will often put people off from stopping to read your poster. Use only essential information and format it in bullet points.

Stylized eye-catching missing cat poster

Ensure it's waterproof

There's nothing worse than seeing a pet owner's poster unreadable in the rain. The ink will run, and the paper will disintegrate, making it useless.
To avoid this, try the following:

Print on waterproof paper

Put the poster in a plastic wallet

Laminate the poster

This will also ensure longevity. Sometimes, these searches can go on for weeks or even months. For this reason, you want a poster that will last, constantly reminding your neighbors to look out for your kitty.
A missing cat poster on a lampost

Include essential information

It's easy for worried pet owners to write everything they possibly can about their cat to try and get them home. However, it's best to stick with quality over quantity.
The most important information to include is:



Physical description

Description of personality traits (shy, aggressive, fearful, confident)

Where they went missing

How long they have been missing for

Contact information to report a sighting \

Where to stick a lost cat sign?

The most important consideration when choosing the location of your missing pet posters is footfall. You want to try and target areas with the highest footfall possible to increase your chances of the right sighting being reported.
Some common places that can effectively spread the message throughout a community include:

Community bulletin boards



Animal shelters



Communal areas of apartment blocks

Expert Insight: Every country has different laws about distributing posters, so be sure to check your area's laws before you begin.
high footfall area

PetRadar's lost pet poster

Creating these posters can take up a lot of your precious time, especially when you want to focus on searching for your cat. This is why we send our expertly designed, personalized, and printable missing cat poster to anyone who reports their cat missing to PetRadar for free.
When you start a PetRadar search, we'll send a support pack. This will include top tips for finding lost cats, constant support and guidance, and our poster.

QR codes

Unfortunately, we've seen pet owners' personal contact information misused. Once this information is made public on your posters, you don't know how people will use it. Prank calls and harassment are common.
This is why we use QR codes instead of phone numbers or email addresses. We list your missing pet on our website and create a unique QR code on your cat's poster so passers-by can simply scan it with their phones and be taken to the website.
Here, they can report a sighting, and we'll notify you immediately. This keeps your personal data safe and makes it easier for your neighbors to report sightings.
To get your poster, start a PetRadar search now.
PetRadar team


How do you know if a cat is lost?

You will know if your cat is lost if they don't return home when they usually do. You will know if they are lost and not hiding if days go by without any sign of them.

What do cats do when they get lost?

When cats get lost, they will likely hide out of fear. However, during the night they will try to find their way home, find shelter, and hunt.

How far can a cat travel when lost?

A cat can travel very far when lost. While most cats usually only roam within 0.2 miles of their home, when they are lost, they can roam for miles.

Do lost cats usually come home?

Many lost cats do come home, thanks to their advanced homing instinct. However, most lost cats are found through a thorough physical search or recovered from an animal shelter.

How do I attract my cat back home?

To attract your cat back home, leave strong-smelling food, treats, water, and their litter box outside. They will be able to pick up the scent of these items from far away.

Final thoughts

We hope this guide has helped you get one step closer to being reunited with your furry friend. However, if you're still looking for your buddy, start a PetRadar search.
We've already reunited over 10,000 lost pets with their owners, so you're in good hands! We'll support you every step of the way and do all we can to get your furry friend home.

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.

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