Lost Cat Statistics (Latest Statistics For Kittens, Adult Cats, Senior Cats)


From 7,000 to 27,000 cats go missing each day in the United States. Because there are multiple studies on Lost cat statistics, the estimates vary widely. Factors like outdoor access, region, weather, environment, nature of cats, presence of predators, and level of protection can influence this figure.

American Pet Products Association (APPA) ran a study on cats that were lost over a 5-year period and estimated that around 12,636,000 were found whereas 3,240,000 were never found.

Because the rate of missing cats is alarming, it’s high time we increased the level of surveillance and their safety. It’s not just the cats that get lost; several pets get lost for different reasons. Experts say from the lost pet statistics that owners lose 1 in 3 pets in their lifetime. 

Frequency Of Cats Going Missing

According to the American Pet Products Association, 12,960,000 cats were lost over five years, of which 3,240,000 were never found. 

A 2012 study mentions that 15% of cats go missing in a 5-year period, and 54% of them are female. The study was conducted across 1,015 households by the ASPCA organization between September and November 2010.

Cats tend to be curious, so they love exploring the world. However, this loving trait can sometimes put them at risk of getting lost. Some may forget their way home, while some may end up getting catnapped.

If your pet doesn’t return home within 24 hours, make sure to start taking some action. Look for the cat around the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors, post it on social media, and report it to Animal Control. It’s also wise to use technology so it helps you in such cases. You can find lost cats with microchips, intelligent cameras, mobile apps, and/or GPS trackers. 

Annual Statistics On The Number Of Cats Reported Lost

According to the American Humane Association in 2019, around 10 million cats are reported lost every year in North America. That’s roughly 27,000 cats per day!

Not only does that happen in a particular NAM but also in all the regions of the US. So, annual statistics on the number of missing cats vary depending on many factors, such as area, surroundings, presence of predators, gender, weather, protection level, and the nature of cats.

There isn’t any clear data on the months when cats go missing the most, but the American Kennel Club says that pets disappear more in July than at any other time of the year. Possible reasons include mating, bad weather, and fireworks.

July is usually mating season for cats, which makes them look for partners outside. It’s also considered the hottest month in most parts of the US, while some parts witness intense storms. Hot or stormy, both conditions trigger these pets to go out. The country also observes Independence Day with fireworks and crackers that scare cats and make them run away from their homes. This is why July is observed as National Pet Loss Prevention Month.

Statistics Of Cats Returning Home After Going Missing

Because cats are curious pets and have an adventurous nature, it’s normal that they will go out. Once they are done wandering around, they are supposed to return home themselves. However, sometimes they may lose their way or be stolen by strangers, which prolongs their absence.

The latest Statistics on Lost Cats 2017 study showed that 61% of 1210 cats were found within a year, the owner recovered 34% within a week, and 75% were found within 500m of the point of escape.

APPA estimated that over five years, 12,636,000 missing cats were reunited with their owners.

Back in 2012, ASPCA stated that 75% of 73 cats were found alive. While 59% of them returned home on their own, 30% were recovered by owners within the neighborhood and the rest were through technology and shelters.

This shows that if owners conduct proper physical searches, place advertisements, create lost pet flyers, contact professional help, and use technology and ID devices, it can work to find lost cats more effectively.

Chances of Finding a Lost Cat After 24 Hours to 4 Years

  • 53% of 138 cats were recovered within five days.
  • 34% of 1210 cats are likely to be found in 7 days.
  • 50% of 1210 cats can be found in 1 month.
  • 56% of 1210 cats can be found in 61 days.
  • 61% of 1210 cats are likely to be found by one year.
  • 64% of 1210 cats can be found in 4 years.

Note that these studies have covered around a hundred to a thousand cats and don’t reflect the complete picture.

So, the recovery of lost cat statistics above may show that lost cats are more likely to be found over time, but that’s not always the case. Instead, the chance of finding cats alive becomes lower if you don’t get them by 90 days. 

Which Region Has The Highest Number Of Lost Cats? (With Statistics)

Cats.com reveals that Rhode Island has the highest number of missing lost cats, with 859 out of 151,000 population, followed by New Hampshire with 503 out of 266,000 and Massachusetts with 1,479 out of 1,012,000.

Here’s a list of regions with the most lost cats.

Age Distribution In Lost Cat Statistics (Kittens, Adult Cats, Senior Cats)

According to the Lost Cat Statistics of 2017 study, the rate of missing adult cats aged 1 to 7 years was seen to be notably high at 67%. One of the reasons could be their behavioral trait during that particular age. Adult or mature cats tend to be more active in going out and roaming around. So, once they step out, they can easily go missing.

Senior cats aged 8 years or older come next, as 24% of them were reported lost in the survey. When cats start aging, they gradually decrease their outdoor activity and increase their sleeping time. Hence, older ones are less likely to go missing.

Kittens make up 10% of the lost cats. Usually, 1 to 11-month-old kittens can be sensitive and too weak to go out. Hence, the chance of them getting lost is also seen to be lower.

The 2017 study lists the rate of cats found using different technologies among 1210 cats.

52% of cats were recovered by using Digital or Surveillance Cameras

49% of cats were found through the use of mobile apps and/or social media.

46% of lost cats were found by using microchips. 

How Many Lost Cats Never Get Found?

According to American Pet Products Association, around 3,240,000 cats were never found by their owner over a 5-year period.

In one survey, researchers learned that 25% of the cats hadn’t reunited with their owners yet. 

Local Animal Shelter Statistics

33% of the cats are found by using local animal shelters, as per the 2017 study. While 50% of pets were recovered by calling shelters, 42% of them were found by visiting.

Lost and Found Cat Organization

Around 82-85% of lost cats have returned home with the help of PawMaw. Our animal-lover teams go all out and beyond to look for your pet and assist you.

Reaching us is super easy—we are just a click away. Write about your pet to us and post it on our Website so you can connect with concerned neighbors in your area to help you find your pet. There’s a PawMaw Alert, a feature that, once activated, makes your search effort more efficient by reaching thousands of people in the area where the pet got lost. These two techniques have helped a number of distressed owners reunite with their pets.

PawMaw is a platform created just to bring lost pets and their owners back together. We use technology, upgraded systems, and effective tools that work to boost the chances of finding lost pets.

Besides the Website, we also have a Social Media Community where you can post about your pet, share it with others, and get their help.

FAQ: Lost Cat Statistics

What Are The Most Common Reasons Cats Go Missing?

Some of the most common reasons cats go missing include seeking mates as they could be in heat, wandering too far off home, getting scared by loud noises, getting trapped somewhere, and being stolen by predators. 

How Many Cats Get Lost Per Year?

Studies say that around 10 million cats are reported lost every year in the United States. 

Are Cats More Likely To Go Missing At Certain Times Of The Year?

Yes, cats are more likely to go out, explore, and look for mates during the summer and spring seasons, which increases their chance of going missing.  

What are the chances of finding a lost cat after 24 hours?

The chances of finding the lost cat after 24 hours depend on the cat’s mood, how quickly you take action, and your efforts.

Sometimes, cats may return home within a day or two after wandering outside. However, if they don’t after 24 hours, it’s better to act fast as it increases the chance of finding your pet.


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