Who to Call for a Lost Cat? Essential Hotlines & Helplines

Key takeaways

We've all heard the saying, Curiosity killed the cat. But what happens when that curiosity leads our beloved companions astray?

Knowing who to call for a lost cat can make all the difference in these stressful moments. It's about more than just getting your purring friend back home - it's about prioritizing their well-being and ensuring they're safe from the many dangers that lurk in the great outdoors.

In this complete guide, we'll set out the most important people to call so you can be reunited with your missing pet as soon as possible.

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  1. Key takeaways
  2. 7 Essential people to contact for a lost cat
  3. FAQs
  4. Final thoughts

7 Essential people to contact for a lost cat

Time is of the essence when you're trying to find missing cats. Every second counts, so reaching out to the right people is crucial.
If you've found a lost cat or are wondering, Who do I call if my cat is missing? We hope this guide will be a valuable resource.

1. Local animal shelters

Animal shelters play a pivotal role when you're trying to find a lost cat. They provide safe spaces for lost pets and are often the first place people report to when they find a stray cat. Here's how you can find and contact local shelters:

Online search: Use search engines to find animal shelters in your area. Input search terms like 'animal shelter near me' or 'local animal shelter' to get a list of nearby facilities.

Directory assistance: Use an online phone directory to locate shelters in your vicinity.

Community boards: Check community notice boards in grocery stores, libraries, or community centers. They often have information about local animal services.

Local government websites: Your local government's website may have a list of registered animal shelters and their contact details.

Word of mouth: Ask your neighbors, friends, or family members for recommendations.

It's important to act quickly and stay persistent in your search efforts. Don't forget to also check in with neighbors and use social media to spread the word about your missing feline friend.

2. Veterinarians and animal clinics

Local vets and animal clinics can be instrumental in reuniting you with your lost cat. They often care for lost or injured pets brought in by good samaritans and may have information about your missing cat. Here's how they can help:

Scanning for microchips: If your cat is microchipped, vets can scan the chip to retrieve your contact information. Learn more about how to find a microchipped cat.

Lost and found boards: Many clinics have bulletin boards where people can post about lost and found pets. You can also check out lost cat signs to know what to look for.

Networking: Vets usually have extensive networks within the local pet community and can spread the word about your missing cat.

Medical care: If a lost or injured cat is brought in, they can provide immediate medical attention.

A cat being treated at the vet

3. Animal control agencies

Animal control agencies are another key resource when dealing with a lost cat. They handle reports of stray animals and are well-equipped to safely collect and care for them.
Here's how to find and contact your local agency:

Local government websites: Check your local government's website for contact information for your local animal control agency.

Non-emergency police line: If you're unsure of how to reach animal control, you can call your local non-emergency police line for guidance.

Online search: Search online for 'animal control' followed by your city or county name to find your local agency's contact information. You can also find more information on reporting a missing cat.

Directory assistance: Use a phone directory to find your local animal control agency.

An animal shelter

4. Lost and found pet websites and social media groups

With the ubiquity of technology and the power of social networks, online resources and social media are proving to be invaluable tools in locating lost pets, including cats.
These platforms provide a vast audience that can help amplify your search efforts by:

Offering a wider reach: Your lost cat notice can potentially be seen by thousands, if not millions, of people, increasing the likelihood of someone spotting your cat.

Providing real-time updates: Online platforms allow you to post instant updates and stay informed about any potential sightings or leads.

Offering_ support_: Being part of these groups can provide emotional comfort as others share their own stories and provide encouragement.

Facilitating easy sharing: People can easily share your lost cat post with their own networks, further expanding your reach.

Being accessible: Most people have at least one social media account, making these platforms a practical option for most pet owners.

a cat owner on social media
To find and join these groups, a simple search on platforms like Facebook or Instagram with terms like 'lost pets' or 'lost cats' along with your location should give you a good starting point.
Remember: You're not alone in this journey, and there are countless individuals and communities online ready to lend a helping hand. To further utilize social media and increase your chances of finding your lost cat, start a PetRadar search.

5. Local police departments

While it might not be the first place you think of when your cat goes missing, your local police department can be a valuable resource. They often receive reports of found pets and could have information about your missing cat.
Furthermore, in some areas, police departments manage animal control, making them a key contact if you've lost a cat.
Remember: To contact them, find the non-emergency number for your local police department and call to report your lost pet.
It's important to provide a detailed description of your cat, including their color, breed, size, and any distinguishing features. Also, remember to update them if your cat is found to ensure their records are up to date.
Use the following checklist to make contact with the police:

Non-emergency call: Don't dial 911 for a lost cat. Use the non-emergency number.

Provide detailed information: The more information you provide, the easier it will be for them to identify your cat if they're found.

Follow up: Keep in touch with the police department and let them know if your cat is found.

Be polite: Remember, they're helping you out in their spare time. A little gratitude goes a long way.

6. Local Pet Stores

Involving local pet stores in your search can be a game-changer. After all, these establishments are frequently visited by fellow pet parents and animal lovers, making them a hub for potential leads.
Reach out and let them know about your missing friend, providing a clear description or even a picture, if possible. Here's how you can maximize this resource:

Drop by in person: There's nothing quite like a heartfelt, face-to-face conversation. Swing by your local pet store and share your situation. They may allow you to leave a flyer or even post one in their window.

Make phone calls: If the stores are too far to visit or if you're pressed for time, a phone call can be just as effective. Don't forget to follow up with an email that includes a photo of your cat.

Leverage the store's social media: Many pet stores have a dedicated social media presence. Ask them to share your lost cat's information on their platforms to reach a wider audience.

Connect during community events: Pet stores often host events like adoption drives or pet-friendly gatherings. These can be perfect opportunities to spread the word.

Maintain regular contact: Keep the communication lines open with updates, and don't forget to show your appreciation for their help.

Involving local pet stores in your search can be a game-changer. These establishments are frequently visited by fellow pet parents and animal lovers, making them a hub for potential leads.

A cat owner looking for their lost cat
Expert Advice: If your cat is missing for an extended period, learn how long a cat can go missing and still come back to keep your hopes alive.

7. Postal workers and delivery drivers

Now, let's not underestimate the power of the network of postal workers and delivery drivers. They cover extensive ground on their routes every day, making them potential allies in your search for your lost cat.

Approach them politely: A friendly conversation can go a long way. Explain your situation, and if possible, provide them with a flyer or a photo.

Utilize their regular routes: These folks are familiar with their regular routes, and they might have seen your cat in their travels. Ask them to keep an eye out.

Ask for their advice: They might have helpful tips or advice based on their local knowledge.

Offer a token of appreciation: A small token of appreciation like a cup of coffee or a thank you note can encourage them to join your search actively.

Keep them updated: Regular updates can keep them engaged and aware of your situation.

a cat near a delivery driver's car


Should I call the police about a lost cat?

Calling the police about a lost cat can be helpful, as they can put you in touch with animal control agencies. However, remember to use the non-emergency line.

How do I report a missing cat?

You should report a missing cat by calling local animal shelters, vets, and animal control.

What to do when you have a lost cat?

If you have lost a cat, report them missing to local shelters and vets immediately. Then, start a thorough physical search of your area and notify your neighbors.

Should I offer a reward for my lost cat's return?

Offering a reward can motivate more people to help. But remember, it's not a must.

How long should you wait before reporting a cat missing?

You shouldn’t wait to report your cat missing. At the first sign of a lost cat, call local animal shelters, vets, and animal control to make them aware of your missing kitty.

How far away can a cat find its way home?

A cat that’s used to the outdoors can find their way home from far away. A cat’s usual territory is between 40-140 acres, so they will be able to navigate their way back from that distance.

Who to call about a lost cat?

If you find a lost cat or have lost a cat yourself, call local animal shelters, animal control, and the local vet.

Final thoughts

It's clear that knowing who to call for a lost cat is vital. It's about more than just a phone call. It's about taking immediate action, reaching out to the right people, and utilizing a variety of resources.
If you are currently missing your pet, start a PetRadar search. We have successfully reunited over 10,000 pets with their families using sponsored advertisements on social media. We alert over 4000 of your neighbors with a digital missing cat poster that pops up on their Facebook and Instagram feeds. They can either report a sighting, send it to a friend, or save it for later.

Written by

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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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