A couple of evenings ago, I received a frantic phone call from one of my cat-owning clients. Their young cat, Huckleberry, had been missing for a couple of hours and had not come to the kitchen at his appointed dinner hour.
When my clients discovered him missing, they took immediate action: opened all the room and closet doors in their apartment in case Huckleberry had accidently been shut in or out of his favorite hiding places, checked the dryer for a cat toasting in a pile of warm, clean, fluffy towels and looked in the hallway outside their apartment door. They even went so far as to disassemble some electronic devices. But, no Huckleberry.
Alert the Veterinary Community
I emailed the front desk and the Emergency Service at The Animal Medical Center alerting them to a possible “injured stray cat” meeting Huckleberry’s description. The front desk in turn emailed Huckleberry’s photo and microchip number to all of the 24 hour emergency hospitals in our area and gave Huckleberry’s home phone number in case a good Samaritan found him and took him to a local animal emergency room.
Use Social Media
Next, I tweeted Huckleberry’s photo, giving his New York City neighborhood and The AMC’s phone number in case someone recognized the little guy on the street looking for a way home. If I had a “do over” I would use a neighborhood hashtag and would have tagged some neighborhood and cat Twitter handles. Still, over 5,000 people got the tweet.
A Happy Ending
This story has a happy ending. After ten hours of searching, Huckleberry was discovered, hungry and in serious need of a litterbox, in his apartment building’s freight elevator. His family speculates the curious cat hopped a ride with a repairman earlier in the day.
I hope none of my readers ever have to search for a missing pet, but the hunt for Huckleberry brings up some important points and ideas for finding lost pets:
- Be sure your pet has a microchip and the information in the microchip database is up to date.
- Keep a current photo of your pet readily accessible for making “lost/missing” posters, emailing and posting on social media.
- Use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to broadcast photographs of your missing pet. The wider you broadcast, the greater your chance of finding your pet.
- If you live in an apartment building with security cameras, ask the building staff if you can review the security tapes for clues to your pet’s whereabouts.
- Check strange places like inside a box spring or an electronic device with an open area inside the case.