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My intention is to share a few things I've learned through a personal experience
of losing/finding my pet cat, with the goal of helping to eliminate a degree of suffering
for both animal and owner.
Losing a beloved pet is one of life's most difficult and agonizing experiences.
You have my sincerest sympathy.
It is a painful time, but your actions right now may determine
whether your pet lives or dies.
Finding your pet IS a type of personal emergency that requires focused expediency
(for a relatively brief period).
The odds are in favor that your pet is actually hiding out within a mile of your house.
(I read this statistic but never believed it since I had constantly searched nearby.).
My advice: Signs will work for you. If you can, place your letter sized
sign in a sleeve of sheet protector then tape this onto flourescent poster board
Try and tape cardboard (posterboard or matboard) on the back for sturdiness.
Do not have concern about what anybody thinks of your unusual activities.
Your goal is to find your lost pet, and time is of the essence for your pet's survival.
Don't listen to well meaning loved ones who say that your pet has probably been adopted
or met an untimely death. Those are possibilities, but there is a strong possibility that he
is disoriented and struggling to stay alive nearby in the great outdoors.
If you do not have a photo of your pet, or time to make printouts, for goodness sakes...
just write a large description and large phone number on cardboard and get them up now!
This basic signage should be enough for caring people to connect the dots
and contact you. Pre-identify and plan which nearby intersections to post your signs.
Write REWARD on top of the poster if you are able to.
If you don't have access to a printer, or are rightfully concerned about speediness,
Walmart sells a mega sized Sharpy black market for about $3. Post sign at stop light
intersections and on/near mailboxes.
Lost Pet Templates available here:
Take along a bag with supplies: tape (duct or other lasting tape) thumbtacks, nails, scissors.
If your city workers take the signs down, more people will see your signs
if they are put up on Friday after 4:30, so they are likely to at least stay up until city
working hours on Monday.
Even though you may be tempted to get another pet right away to ease your pain,
you owe it to yourself and your loyal pet to give this your best shot! Your pet is likely still alive
and waiting for you. Dig deep. Taking action also helps despair.
One important tip I found said that one of the biggest mistakes is that owners give up
just a little bit too soon. Yes, it takes resolve and grit but continuing to take action
every day is simply necessary for your pet right now.
It will not be easy, but buck up and go find him.
Do not give up looking because of the weather. Dress appropriately before
going out to put up signage.
It is possible that your pet may yet find his way home.Don't give up!
My personal experience (with losing, finding, then losing my pet cat).
Though I am not one to go on about my own experiences, I don't know how else
to share a strong motivation message about the urgency in searching for your pet.
We live in BentTree, a quiet subdivision in NW Lee's Summit, off Chipman.
My cat escaped through a window while we were away for a week.
I was devastated.
I was fortunate to have ample computer research time and followed the advice as much as possible.
Every single day I took productive actions to find Oscar. I had became extremely
discouraged and ready to give up looking just before finding him two days later.
I immediately made flyers and posters and tacked them up on poles on main streets
within a 10 block area.
I put a lost ad in the Lee's Summit Journal (kindly at no charge). I checked the
local pound once a week and their website daily for new arrivals. Checked
other nearby cities pounds websites and called. Posted and checked craigslist daily.
Walked neighborhood and approached people. Most people are helpful and nice.
Twice a week, I rang our doorbell for twenty times, simply to cause our dog
to bark loudly. Oscar would have recognized her bark if within hearing distance.
My husband commented that I was nearly obsessed and I should give up,
but my kitty was very, very dear to me and searching felt completely necessary. He believed that
my friendly cat had been adopted by someone glad to find such a nice cat
(was he ever wrong on that one!).
I am a graphic artist by trade, so creating the letter sized and larger posters was
a fairly simple matter. Still, it was very time consuming and increasingly stressful.
Frustratingly, when I'd post the signs, sometimes a city worker would quickly take them down.
(Fercrying out loud. This wasn't a retail business poster-just a poster sign made
by a taxpaying citizen working hard to try and locate a beloved pet!)
Posters proved to be the most effective for sighting tips. They resulted in
three calls from people who sighted him nearby but Oscar must have moved
before they could get him. The route that my cat followed seemed to follow
a large "U", first out to Lowenstein Park directly park to the east (within 6 blocks), then turning around
back west closer to home.
Exactly 45 days after my cat got out of a window, a neighbor woman three blocks away
called and said they thought they had him. Once I recognized him (not easy), my heart
was jubilant but frantic. The woman explained that he'd been hanging around her outdoor dogs
(protection from other cat attacks I learned) for over 2 weeks and today he looked
much weaker. He had been hanging close to and within their backyard's small bamboo patch.
He looked like a nice enough cat she said.
They didn't want to feed him because they have two cats and didn't want another.
Oscar could barely stand. They had planned to take him to the shelter on Monday,
but remembered my mailbox sign and (finally) called me. If they would have taken
him to the LS shelter I would have found him as I was checking it every week.
If they would have cared enough to simply inquire at the local shelter, I would have
found him since my information was there. Shelters have a neighborhood notebook
with information and flyers about local lost pets. A lost pet report is kept on file for
30 days, at least in Lee's Summit.
BrookRidge Estates subdivision has a long, tall wood fence on the street side very near our house.
My cat was likely too weakened to climb the fence and was basically trapped in BrookRidge
for a few weeks while a few uncaring neighbors watched him starve.
I took Oscar home and tried to give him droplets of water and turkey baby food.
He wanted to sleep but I wondered if he would wake up (surprisingly he was purring). I took him to the
Lakewood vet ER where they whisked him away. They put Oscar on oxygen
and an IV and he quickly had cardiac arrest and died.
WHY? 1) My own mistake in not double checking the windows.
2) Because most people don't care about "strays". They don't connect a "stray"
as someone's lost beloved pet and mostly ignore them in hope they go away.
Even other pet owners ignore them, not wanting another.
Behaviors that may have saved my beloved pet (and a few additional tips):
Since my time/energy was limited, I would have posted at least hand created
marker/cardboard posters every Friday (about 4 at a time).
I would not have taken my cat to an after hours Emergency
but to a caring local vet who makes house calls. Strother's Veterinarian
in Lee's Summit was highly recommended by a neighbor posthumously.
I most definitely would not have let the hospital whisk my beloved pet away
to die without me, his best friend (insist on staying with your pet or go elsewhere).
My cat was pampered and ultra healthy when he left. Oscar was also a great hunter
of birds, bugs, and rodents which I thought might make a difference.
(There was evidence that he had eaten a large bird on our porch. There is
a disease cats often get from eating birds and this may have sickened him).
I inspected his body closely. Just outdoors for 45 days and Oscar had evidence of severe
suffering from cat fight(s), fleas, new disease, severe dehydration and starvation.
Other cats protect their territory, and dogs and cats instinctively make outcasts of sick animals
(when searching, look and listen carefully when near other cat and dog homes).
As difficult as his death was, I am very grateful for the very brief time together
and at least knowing his fate. Grieving was easier, especially after seeing his condition.
Not knowing and looking everywhere was by far the hardest part.
Animals are spiritual beings. I believe they know, they feel whether their beloved owners
are looking for them. After a month I was in despair. I found this mantra on the internet and used it.
Deeply pray this mantra, believe it and repeat as needed:
"I will keep searching for you because I will find you. I will find you because I will keep
searching for you. I will keep searching for you because I will find you. I will find you
because I will keep searching for you. I will keep searching for you because I will find you.
I will find you because I will keep searching for you."
My darling cat was found on day #45. He was in bad shape but held on,
perhaps knowing I would find him. Then he let go.
~ compassion to all ~
Useful Lost Pet Links:LIST OF REGIONAL ANIMAL SHELTERS websites and phone numbers. Visit your shelter to fill out a descriptive paper about your lost pet. If you find a lost pet, please call your area's shelter and inquire whether someone has reported a similar breed as "lost". It is a beautiful humanitarian service to reunite owners/pets through a simple phone call to the local shelter.
Lost DOG Behavior
Lost CAT Behavior
CAT lost website
Pet GrievingFOUND Pets Great Plains SPCA