Don’t panic if your cat is lost
In our continuing monthly feature, Bingley Hub is pleased to be bringing you up to date news of what is happening at the homing centre. We are pleased to be working with such a fantastic charity, which helps re-home unwanted cats in our region.
Here at Yorkshire Cat Rescue, we often receive calls from members of the public who have lost their cat. Cats rarely go further than their own small territory – which can be as little as a couple of gardens or as extensive as several fields, depending on how many cats are live in the locality, whether the area is rural or urban and whether or not the cat – and neighbouring cats – are neutered.
It is rare for a cat to go far, unless it is chased out of its comfort zone by another animal or a child, or unless it is moved – by getting into a vehicle or by being inadvertently moved by a person.
An example of this might be someone who sees a “starving stray” and takes it home to feed it up – the cat may well be a starving stray, but it could also be a much-loved elderly cat suffering a medical condition which causes weight loss.
For the owner of a lost cat, the trauma of not knowing what has happened to the cat can be immense – for some people their cat is the only living being who shares their life and the “not knowing” can be as intense as grief for a lost family member.
Many cats return after a short period of time, having been locked in a local building or having managed to find their way home. But some cats do require help from their owners to enable them to find their way home.
There are lots of things that owners can do – many are easy but some involve a degree of dedication on the part of the owner.
Posters and leaflets are a great way to get your lost cat into the mind of locals who may have seen it. Be careful not to fly-post but you can put posters in shops and Post Offices and of course many vets and pet shops and other animal institutions may offer to display a poster for you.
For that reason, it is a good idea to take several clear photos of your cat from all angles, particularly if it has distinguishing features which will easily identify it.
You should also hang unwashed socks and bedsheets on your line – they will smell of your home and its occupants (don’t worry, the neighbours won’t know they’re unwashed!). This is particularly good if your cat is unused to going outside, as the scent will be clear to the cat and will help direct it home.
The best time to look for a missing cat is dawn or dusk, and you should walk quietly away from your house and then walk slowly back calling and maybe shaking a box of biscuits. If you call your cat on the way out, you risk inadvertently driving it further from home.
One of the sentences we dread hearing is “she’s old, she’s probably gone off to die …” Believe us, cats really don’t do this! They may be getting a bit deaf or senile and wander off for a nap and then forget where home is, but they won’t have an intention to go off to die. It really is an old wives’ tale.
Last summer we re-homed the lovely Mischief, a geriatric black and white lad. He settled in well but after a few months we received a call from his owner to let us know he was missing. His new owner uttered the dreaded sentence and we had to persuade her that he was probably not dead, but lost. Luckily she took our advice and went off to look for him, finding him a couple of days later at the other end of the village, sitting in a garden and looking extremely bewildered. Back home he soon settled and several months later is still going strong.
If you lose your cat, remember to report it to Yorkshire Cat Rescue and other similar organisations. And you can find more help and advice on our website – advice if you lose a cat
For enquiries please call Yorkshire Cat Rescue on 01535 647184 or visit: www.yorkshirecatrescue.org