Losing a pet is a terrifying, heartbreaking and desperate experience. Every time I see a missing cat or dog poster I think about it all day, everyday, until I am finally driven to write an article about it. I have scoured the internet for my favorite helpful tips and advice, which I have compiled here along with many links to help anyone out there who may be in need. Take care, and hug your kitty today! :)

Preventative measures:

Always use a secure carrier when heading out to travel with your cat and never open the carrier in the car unless all of the doors and windows are closed. Cats can become spooked very quickly and easily by sudden sounds or sights. They can wiggle through the smallest of spaces if they are panicking and determined.

Fit your feline with a breakaway collar that has your phone number easily visible, and it is wonderful to consider having your pet microchipped so that you may be reached if they are found without a collar and tag. This is an especially a good idea for cats that regularly go outside. Sometimes cats make friends with other families that may decide that they want to take kitty with them when they move. (I have seen this happen more than once!) Make sure to update your contact info.

Consider purchasing a GPS pet finder to aid in locating your hiding cat. (see link) www.pettracker.com. I personally use a cell phone for my dog. I find that it is more cost effective to use the family map feature offered by my cell phone provider to locate him via GPS. I attach the smallest phone available to his collar. If he is scared and hiding (as has happened on 4th of July 2009) I can call the phone to find him (hiding from loud fireworks under my neighbors porch) and if someone were to find him before me, they can just use the phone to call me.

Tips for Lost Kitties:

Don't delay looking for your cat. The longer a cat is missing, the farther away they may be. Statistics show most owners don't start looking for their cat for several days.

If possible, leave your cat's litter box in front of your house. Your cat will be able to pick up on the scent and might hang around longer.

Call your cat. Tempt your cat out of hiding or back home by calling it and shaking the normal box of dry food or treats. If your cat is an outdoor cat or if it's possible it got loose outside, place some of its food in a dish outside of your door. Make the sounds that usually get it to come to you, however, be aware that most cats in a state of distress will not break cover to come to your calls. Try these steps in the late hours once it is quiet outside. (Usually after 10pm)

Narrow the search. When cats find themselves in unfamiliar places, they usually become scared and hide. Start looking for the first visible hiding place from the point of exit. Indoor only cats usually hide very close to the house. Check underneath cars including up in the nooks of the engine and wheel wells. Check under porches, patios, grills, and stairwells. Look in piles of leaves and any debris near your house and around the garbage cans. Look behind tall plants and trees, especially those growing near your house. Move the tall grass around.