55+ Lost Pet Statistics You Should Know!

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Losing a pet is one of the most scary and heartbreaking experiences one can have. Almost every pet owner has confronted this pet-losing experience.


If your pet goes missing, what are the chances they will be found? Well, don’t worry. This article will provide the most relevant lost pet statistics and facts you want.

Lost Pet Statistics Quick Overview


  • 1 in 3 pets goes missing (30%) in their lifetime
  • Approximately 10M pet owner’s pets get lost or stolen each year
  • In the United States, less than 23% of lost pets are reunited with their owners
  • More than 80% of missing pets are never found
  • Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters annually
  • Of those, about 3.1 million are dogs, and 3.2 million are cats
  • Sadly, only about 2 million dogs and 2.1 million cats are adopted yearly
  • Approximately 1.5 million lost pets are euthanized at shelters annually
  • About 390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats are euthanized in shelters
  • 15% of pet owners had lost a pet in the past five years
  • Only 85% of those lost pets are recovered
  • 90% of the time, your pet will be found in your area in less than 12 hours
  • 15% of lost pets are reunited with their owners thanks to technologies like tracking tags, microchips, and GPS trackers
  • 16% of lost pets eventually return to their owners
  • 57% of people did not surrender found pets due to the fear of euthanasia
  • 62% of individuals were aware they could run a found-pet advertisement in the newspaper at no charge
  • 25% of lost pets were found due to information from the animal agencies
  • 24% of lost pets were found through newspaper ads

Types Of Pet Missing

There are different types of pets that can get missing, depending on their species, characteristics, and behaviors. These pets can go missing by wandering, escaping, flying away, being stolen, displaced, or abandoned. Some pets have a high recovery rate (Dogs, Cats, & Horses), while others have a relatively lower. Some of the most common types are:


  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents
  • Rabbits
  • Fish
  • Horses

Lost Dog Statistics

1. 14% of Pet Owners Had Lost A Dog In The Past Five Years

(Aspca Survey)


The ASPCA surveyed 1,015 pet owners in the U.S. and found that 14% of them had lost a dog in the past five years, equivalent to about 10 million dogs. The study also found that the likelihood of losing a dog varied by demographic factors, such as gender, income, and education level. For example, female owners, lower-income owners, and less-educated owners are likelier to lose a dog. So, these owners must understand everything about dog care and prevent their dogs from getting lost.

2. Missing Dogs Age

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)




The dog’s age is a significant factor in the likelihood of getting lost. According to the AVMA journal, 25% of lost dogs are puppies (0 - 11 months old), 40% are adults (1 - 5 years old), and 35% are seniors (5+ years old). The stat shows that adult dogs will likely get lost due to their high energy and curiosity. So, as a dog owner, you must make your dog happy and stimulate it regularly.

3. Demographics Statistics of Lost Dog

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)




The same journal also revealed some interesting patterns in the demographics of lost dogs, such as their breed, gender, and neuter status. Among the missing dogs, 62% are male and 38% are female. According to the lost dog owners, 63% are purebred, and 37% are of mixed breeding. 53% of the lost dogs are neutered, and 47% are sexually intact.

4. Dogs Had A 93% Recovery Rate Using Different Search Methods

(ASPCA)


The ASPCA study also reported that 93% of the lost dogs were recovered by their owners, which is a very high recovery rate compared to other pets. The study also analyzed the different search and identification methods owners used to find their lost dogs, finding that some were more effective than others. So, knowing where to find lost dogs is essential for dog owners.

5. Search And Identification Methods That Owners Use To Find A Lost Dog

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)




The most important thing to do when a dog goes missing is to act quickly and use multiple methods to find and recover the dog. The median recovery time for lost dogs is two days. According to the journal of the AVMA, some of the most common and effective methods dog owners use are:


  • Calling or visiting an animal agency/shelter (34.8%)
  • Contacted because of a dog license or ID tag (25.5%)
  • Contacted because of microchip (8%)
  • Posting neighborhood signs (15.2%)
  • Neighbors brought home (7%)
  • Newspaper advertisement (4.5%)
  • Others (3%)

6. 49% Of Dog Guardians Found Their Dog By Searching The Neighborhood

(ASPCA)


The most common and effective way to find a lost dog was to search the neighborhood. 49% of the dog owners found their dogs by searching the neighborhood area. It allowed the owners to distribute flyers, posters, or business cards with their contact information and a photo of their dog, which increased the chances of someone recognizing and returning their dog.

7. 6 % Of Dog Guardians Found Their Lost Pets At A Shelter

(ASPCA)


Pet owners now know to look for their pets in shelters and on social media when they get lost. Visiting or contacting shelters also allowed the owners to check the lost and found databases, which increased the chances of finding their dog. However, studies estimate only 6% of all dog owners found their lost pets at local animal shelters.

8. 9 To 23% Of Lost Dogs Were Found Due To An ID Tag

(WebinarCare)


Pet recovery often depends on the animal wearing identification. A study discovered that owners could find 9 to 23% of lost dogs due to an ID tag or microchip. Using identification tags allowed the dog owners to provide their contact information and their dog’s name, which increased the chances of someone contacting and returning their dog.

9. Microchipped Dogs Had A Return Rate Of 52.2%, Compared To 2.2% For Dogs Without Microchips

(Peeva)


A study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2009 found that microchipped dogs had a return rate of 52.2%, compared to 2.2% for dogs without microchips. It means that microchipping can increase the chances of finding a lost dog by more than 23 times.

10. 20% Of Dogs Return Home On Their Own

(Petcolove)


Another surprising fact about lost dogs is that 20% return home independently without human intervention. Their smelling ability is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a human’s nose. This incredible scent-tracking allows one in five lost dogs to return home independently.

11. 49% Of Dogs That Were Lost Were Lost Just Once

(ASPCA)


According to the ASPCA study, 49% of the dog owners who had lost a dog in the past five years had lost their dog only once, while 51% had lost their dog more than once. It means that losing a dog is not a rare or isolated event and that some dogs may be more prone to getting lost than others. So, dog owners need to take preventive measures, such as securing their homes and yards, providing their dogs with identification, and training them to obey commands.

12. Implementing Shelter Best Practices Dog  Live Release Rates From  25% To 87%

(Frontiers in Veterinary Science)


A Frontiers in Veterinary Science study found that implementing shelter best practices, such as reducing intake, increasing adoptions, providing medical and behavioral care, collaborating with rescue groups, and engaging the community, increased dog live release rates from 25% to 87%. It means that implementing shelter best practices can save the lives of millions of dogs every year.

13. 70% Of The Dogs Were Found Less Than One Mile From Their Homes

(Human Animal Support Services)


Another interesting statistic about lost dogs is that seventy percent of the stray dogs were found less than one mile from their homes. Forty-two percent were less than 400 feet from their homes. It means that most dogs stay within their home areas. So, searching the neighborhood is the most effective way to find them. However, it also means that owners found 30% of lost dogs more than one mile from their homes.

14. 52.2% Of Dogs Were Reclaimed From Around 1000 Kilometers Distant

(Bring Jackson Home)


As per the ASPCA, 52.2% of lost dogs were reclaimed from around 1000 kilometers distant. Surprisingly, more than half of the lost dogs were found in another state or country or across continents or oceans.

15. 35% Of Dogs Were Found At The Animal Agency

(ASPCA)


According to the ASPCA study, 35% of the lost dogs were found at an animal agency, such as a shelter, a rescue group, or a veterinarian. It means more than a third of the lost dogs were brought to or picked up by an animal agency. They were either reclaimed by their owners, transferred to another organization, or adopted by a new owner.

16. 7% Of Dogs Have Not Ever Returned To Home

(Bring Jackson Home)


A sad statistic about lost dogs is that one in 14 lost dogs was never returned home or found by their owners. They may have died, been euthanized, or remained homeless or stray. Studies found that the factors that decreased the chances of finding a lost dog were the lack of identification, search effort, the lack of contact with shelters or veterinarians, and the length of time missing.

17. 48% Of Dogs Had Some Identification At The Time They Were Lost

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)


The American Veterinary Medical Association’s journal suggests that almost half of the lost dogs had some form of identification when they were lost. It can be an identification tag, dog license tag, rabies tag, or microchip. These identification tags helped several dog owners track a lost dog and reunite with it.

18. 24% Of Dogs Had Microchips When They Go Missing

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


Studies show that only 24% of the lost dogs had microchips when they went missing. It means that most lost dogs did not have the most effective form of identification, which could increase their chances of being found and returned by more than 23 times. So, dog owners should microchip their dogs and register their information in a database to increase the chances of finding the dogs.

19. 58% Of Dogs Had Their License When They Went Missing

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


More than 50 percent of the lost dogs had their license when they went missing. It helped the authorities and the public to identify them and contact their owners. However, this also means that almost half of the lost dogs did not have a form of identification that could be easily checked and verified. Therefore, dog owners must license their dogs and attach their license tags to their collars.

20. 61% Of Dogs Had Personalized ID With Them When They Got Lost

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to research, 61% of the lost dogs had personalized IDs with them when they lost. It means that most lost dogs had a form of identification that could provide their name, their owner’s name, and their owner’s phone number or address, increasing their chances of being contacted and returned by someone who found them.

21. 70% Of Dogs Had A Rabies Tag When They Got Lost

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


Researchers found that 70% of the lost dogs had a rabies tag when they lost. This tag could prove that they were vaccinated against rabies, preventing them from being quarantined or euthanized by the authorities or the shelters. Also, this identification could prove they were healthy and safe. For this, lost dog founders feel safe after recovering them.

22. 11% Of Dog Had No Identification When They Went Missing

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to the studies on lost dogs, 11% had no identification when they went missing. These dogs had no way of being identified or contacted by anyone who found them, which could drastically reduce their chances of being recovered. Therefore, dog owners must provide their dogs with any form of identification, such as a collar, a tag, or a microchip.

23. 1% Of Dogs Found Dead After They Went Lost

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to some studies, only 1% of the lost dogs were found dead after being lost. This statistic shows that most lost dogs survived and were recovered. So, lost dog owners must maintain hope and search for their dogs.

24. For Those That Did Not Find Their Dog, What Did They Try?

(ASPCA)


According to the ASPCA study, the owners who did not find their lost dogs tried various methods to find them, but they were unsuccessful. Here’s what they tried after failed finding their dog:


  • 75% of lost dog owners waited for the dog to return
  • 75% searched the neighborhood
  • 75% of owners contacted local animal shelters
  • 50% placed posters in the neighborhood
  • 50% placed an ad in the newspaper
  • 50% of lost dog owners searched for their dogs online
  • 38% of owners called local veterinarians



The study also found that the owners who did not find their lost dogs spent less time and effort searching than those who did find their lost dogs. Therefore, dog owners need to search for their lost dogs as soon as possible, use multiple methods to find them, and not give up on their search.

Lost Cat Statistics

25. 15% Of Cats In The Went Missing Once In Five Years

(ASPCA Survey)


ASPCA examined pet owners and found that 15% had lost a cat in the past five years, equivalent to about 9 million cats. Like dogs, female, lower-income, and less-educated owners are likelier to lose a cat. So, owners of those demographics should learn the basic cat care tips to keep their cats happy and stop them from getting lost.

26. Missing Cats Age

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)




A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that the cat’s age was a significant factor in the likelihood of getting lost. According to the survey, 10% of lost cats are kittens (0 - 11 months old), 67% are adults (1 - 7 years old), and 24% are seniors (8+ years old). It reflects that adult cats are likelier to get lost than kittens and seniors. It’s basically because of their playfulness and wanderlust potential. Owners should provide basic training and a secure environment to prevent them from getting lost.

27. Demographics Statistics Of Lost  Cats

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)


The same study also disclosed some interesting patterns in the demographics of lost cats, such as their gender and neuter status. About 57% of lost cats are male, and 43% are female. Of these cats, 96% are neutered, and only 4% are sexually intact.



28. Geographical Statistics Of Lost Cats

(IAABC Foundation Journal)


Studies suggest that 75% of lost cats are found within one-third of a mile from where they escaped, and 18% are hiding directly outside an entrance to their home. According to Missing Pet Partnership’s statistics on lost cat behaviors, 84% of 128 lost outdoor-access cats and 92% of 158 lost indoor-only cats were found within a five-house radius of their home.



29. 78% Of Cats Had Never Been Lost Before

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)


According to the journal of AVMA, 78% of the cats had never been previously. It means that losing a cat is not a common or frequent event. However, it also means that some cats may be more adventurous or curious than others and that they may explore or escape from their homes.

30. 69% Of Cats Were Lost Just Once

(ASPCA)


According to the ASPCA study, 69% of the cat owners had lost their cat only once. It means that losing a cat is not a recurring event, and most cats are careful of their surroundings. But owners should still be careful and look after their cats properly.

31. 17% Cats Had Been Lost 1-5 Times Previously

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)


AVMA’s journal displays that 17% of the cat owners who had lost a cat in the past five years had previously lost their cat 1-5 times. This statistic means that losing a cat is a rare or occasional event and that most lost cat behaviors are stable and consistent. However, some cats may be more unpredictable or erratic than others, and they may disappear or run away from their homes.

32. 5% Cats Had Been Lost More Than 5 Times Before

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)


The same journal shows that 5% of the cats had been lost more than five times before. It reflects that a few cats are lost due to their personality and wanderlust potential. But owners still need to be cautious and take care of their cats.

33. 15% Cats Have Microchips When They Went Missing

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to some studies, only 15% of the lost cats had microchips when they went missing. It means that most lost cats did not have the most effective form of identification. Therefore, cat owners need to microchip their cats’ register information in a database and update it regularly in case of any changes.

34. 21% Cats Had Their License When Went Missing

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


The same studies display that 21% of the lost cats had their license when they went missing. It means that only a fifth of the lost cats had a form of identification that could help the authorities and the public to identify them and contact their owners.

35. 25% Of Cat Have Personalized ID With Them When They Lost

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


The studies also found that 25% of the lost cats had personalized IDs with them when they lost. It means that only a quarter of the lost cats had a form of identification that could provide their name, their owner’s name, and their owner’s phone number or address, increasing their chances of being contacted and returned by someone who found them.

36. 27% Of Cats Have A Rabies Tag When They Were Lost

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


The research found that 27% of the lost cats had a rabies tag when they lost. It shows that more than a quarter of the lost cats had a form of identification that could prove that they were vaccinated against rabies.

37. 56% Of Cat Have No Identification When They Went Missing

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to some research, 56% of the lost cats had no identification when they went missing. It means that more than half of the lost cats had no way of being identified or contacted by anyone who found them, which could drastically reduce their chances of being recovered.

38. 2% Of Cats Were Found In Public Buildings

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


Research shows that only 2% of the lost cats were found in public buildings, such as schools, libraries, or offices. It means that very few lost cats ended up in places where they could encounter many people and were more likely to hide or avoid human contact.

39. 4% Of Cats Were Found In Owner’s Own House

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to some studies, 4% of the lost cats were found in their owner’s own house. It means that only a small percentage of the lost cats hid or trapped inside their homes. These cats were eventually discovered by their owners after physically searching properly.

40. 2% Of Cats Were Found Dead After They Went Lost

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)


According to surveys, only 2% of the lost cats were found dead after they went lost. It means that most cats that were lost survived and were recovered. However, this also means that some cats that were lost died, either due to natural causes, accidents, injuries, illnesses, or predation. So, cat owners must prevent their cats from getting lost, search for them quickly and thoroughly, and contact local authorities and organizations.

41. 41% Of Missing Cats Were Indoor-Only Cats

(ASPCA Survey)


While many believe indoor animals don’t need collars, approximately 41% of all owners searching for a missing cat stated their animal was an indoor pet. It means that almost half of the lost cats never went outside. They may escape from their homes through open doors, windows, or vents.

42. 75% Of Lost Indoor-Only Cats Are Found

(WebinarCare)


According to WebinarCare, 75% of the lost indoor-only cats are found, while 25% are not. It means that three-quarters of the cats that were lost never went outside. Indoor-only cats may be more likely to get lost than outdoor cats, as they are less familiar with their surroundings.

43. 33% Of Lost Outdoor-Only Cats Are Found

(WebinarCare)


The same studies show that the percentage of lost outdoor-access cats found is 33%. It means that only a third of the lost cats regularly went outside. These cats may have wandered off or were taken by someone. Outdoor-access cats may be less likely to get lost than indoor-only cats, as they are familiar with the outside world and can return home on their own.

44. 75 Percent Of Lost Cats Were Recovered

(ASPCA Survey)


The ASPCA study also reported that 75% of the lost cats were recovered by their owners, which is a relatively high recovery rate compared to other pets. The study also analyzed owners’ different search and identification methods to find lost cats.

45. Search And Identification Methods That Owners Use To Find A Lost Cat

(Lost Pet Research & Recovery)




Most owners use multiple search and identification methods to find and recover their lost cats. NCBI suggests that 57% of cats had at least one form of identification when they went missing, and the median recovery time for lost cats is five days. According to the journal of the AVMA, some of the most common and effective methods to find a lost cat are:


  • Yard/Immediate area (92%)
  • Walked around the area (90%)
  • Spoke with neighbours (82%)
  • Drove around the area (68%)
  • Missing cat fliers (55%)
  • Used social media (52%)
  • Called shelters/rescue groups (49%)
  • Searched online postings (48%)
  • Posting neighborhood signs (47%)
  • Searched neighbor’s property (46%)
  • Reading newspaper (43%)
  • Contacted animal control or police (41%)
  • Posted on missing pet databases (27%)
  • Posted on online classifieds (26%)
  • Advertising in the newspaper (18%)
  • Used a humane trap (18%)
  • Help from pet detective (14%)

46. 30% Found Their Cat By Searching The Neighborhood

(ASPCA)


Searching the neighborhood is the most common and effective search method for lost cats. This method accounted for 30% of the recovered cats and was especially useful for cats that escaped from their homes or wandered off. Letting the neighborhood know about lost cats increased the chances of someone recognizing and returning them.

47. 33% Of Lost Cats Are Found Within A Week

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)


Approximately 33% of lost cats are found within a week, according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2018. It means that one in three cats are found in a relatively short time. It also reflects that searching for them quickly and intensively can increase the chances of finding them.

48. 61% Of Cats Was Found Within One Year

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)


Another surprising fact about lost cats is that 61% of them are found within one year, according to the same study. It shows that more than half of the lost cats are found in a relatively long time. Also, some cats may survive and adapt to their new environment for months or even years.

49. 34% Of Cats Recovered Alive By The Owner Within 7 Days

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)


National Center for Biotechnology Information studied that only 34% of them are recovered alive by the owner within seven days. Only one in three cats are found alive and well by their owners within a week. Sadly, very few cats are recovered alive after 90 days. They may die if lost for a long time, suffering from injuries, illnesses, or predation.

50. 2% Of Cat Guardians Found Their Lost Pets At A Shelter

(ASPCA)


Only 2 percent of cats in shelters without microchips or tags are reunited with their owners. With 3.2 million cats entering shelters every year, only 90,000 join their families. It reflects that most cat owners don’t contact or check animal shelters in search of their missing cats.

51. 19% Of Cats Recover Because They Were Wearing Identification

(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)


19% of lost cats are recovered because they were wearing some form of identification, such as a collar, a tag, or a microchip. Using identification allows the owners to provide their contact information and their cat’s name, which increases the chances of someone contacting and returning their cat.

52. Cats Return-To-Owner Rate At 38.5% Due To Microchipping

(Peeva)


An American Veterinary Medical Association study found that microchipped cats had a return-to-owner rate of 38.5%, compared to 1.8% for cats without microchips. It means that microchipping can increase the chances of finding a lost cat by more than 20 times.

53. Implementing Shelter Best Practices Cat Live Release Rates From 35% To 92%

(Frontiers in Veterinary Science)


Some shelters have implemented best practices that have significantly increased the live release rates of cats in recent times. The cat live release rate was 35% in 2017. After implementing the best shelter practices, it has significantly risen to 92%.

54. Cats Can Find Their Home From A Distance Of 1.5–4 Miles Keen Sense Of Smell

(Catster)


Another impressive statistic about lost cats is that they can find their home from a distance of 1.5–4 miles using their keen sense of smell. It means some cats can find their way home to their owners by following their scent, memory, or instinct.

55. For Those That Did Not Find Their Cat, What Did They Try?

(ASPCA)




Many owners tried various methods to find their lost cats, but none of them were successful. Studies found that after they failed to find their lost cats, they tried different methods. Here’s what they tried:


  • 73% of lost cat owners waited for the cat to return
  • 67% searched the neighborhood
  • 22% of owners contacted local animal shelters
  • 16% placed posters in the neighborhood
  • 10% of owners called local veterinarians
  • 6% of lost cat owners searched for their cats online

Other Lost Pets Statistics

  • Britain has lost 73 million birds over the last 50 years due to habitat loss, climate change, and predation.
  • In less than a human lifetime, 2.9 billion breeding adult birds have been lost in the United States and Canada.
  • Reptiles are among the most popular exotic pets in the U.S., with an estimated 9.4 million reptiles kept as pets in 2016.
  • Reptiles are less likely to be microchipped or wear identification tags than dogs or cats, which makes it harder to reunite them with their owners if they get lost.
  • Fishes can escape or get lost easily due to their small size, agility, and curiosity.
  • Fishes are less likely to be microchipped or wear identification tags than dogs or cats, making reuniting them with their owners impossible if they get lost.
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 1.5% of horse owners reported losing their horses in the past five years.
  • According to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report 2023, 7% of rabbit owners reported losing their rabbits in the past five years.
  • The RSPCA Australia reports in 2020 that they received 2,419 rabbits, of which 1,021 were reclaimed or rehomed and 1,398 were euthanized.

Lost & Found Pet Statistics Based on Research Papers

Summary of this Research:


A cross-sectional national random digit dial telephone interview was conducted between September and November 2010. There were 1,015 households that had owned a dog or cat within the past five years. Of these 817 households owned dogs and 506 owned cats. Fourteen percent of dogs (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 11–16%) and 15% (95% CI: 12–18%) of cats were lost in the past five years. No owner demographic variables were associated with losing a pet. Ninety three percent (95% CI: 86–97%) of dogs and 75% (95% CI: 64–85%) of cats were recovered. For dogs, searching the neighborhood and returning on their own were the most common methods of finding the dog; 14% were found through an identification tag. For cats, returning on their own was most common. Dogs were more likely than cats to be lost more than once. Cats were less likely than dogs to have any type of identification. Knowledge of the successful methods of finding dogs and cats can provide invaluable help for owners of lost pets. Since 25% of lost cats were not found, other methods of reuniting cats and their owners are needed. Collars and ID tags or humane trapping could be valuable approaches.


Reference Link: [https://doi.org/10.3390/ani2020301, Weiss, E. M. Slater, and L. Lord. 2012.]


Key Notes:


  • 86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs are owned in the U.S.
  • 11-16% of dogs and 12-18% of cats went missing at least once in the past five years.
  • 86-97% of dogs and 63-84% of cats in the study in the U.S. population were found.
  • Dogs were more likely than cats to be lost more than once (P=0.05).
  • 6-19% of dogs and 44-68% of cats had no form of ID when lost (P<0.001).
  • Most dogs were found by searching the neighborhood (38-59%). Followed by (13-29%) returned home on their own. Only (2-12%) were found by visiting or calling animal control, and (9-23%) were found with an ID or microchip.
  • Most cats returned home on their own (45-72%). Followed by (18-44%) found in the neighborhood. Only (0.04-10%) were found due to ID or a microchip, and the same were found due to visiting or calling animal control.

Search Methods Used to Locate Missing Cats and Locations Where Missing Cats Were Found


Reference Link: [https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010005, Huang, L., M. Coradini, J. Rand, J. Morton, K. Albrecht, B. Wasson, and D. Robertson. 2018.]


Summary of this Research:


Missing pet cats are often not found by their owners, with many being euthanized at shelters. This study aimed to describe times that lost cats were missing for, search methods associated with their recovery, locations where found and distances travelled. A retrospective case series was conducted where self-selected participants whose cat had gone missing provided data in an online questionnaire. Of the 1210 study cats, only 61% were found within one year, with 34% recovered alive by the owner within 7 days. Few cats were found alive after 90 days. There was evidence that physical searching increased the chance of finding the cat alive (p = 0.073), and 75% of cats were found within 500 m of the point of escape. Up to 75% of cats with outdoor access traveled 1609 m, further than the distance traveled by indoor-only cats (137 m; p ≤ 0.001). Cats considered to be highly curious were more likely to be found inside someone else’s house compared to other personality types. These findings suggest that thorough physical searching is a useful strategy, and should be conducted within the first week after cats go missing. They also support further investigation into whether shelter, neuter and return programs improve the chance of owners recovering missing cats and decrease numbers of cats euthanized in shelters.


Key Notes:


  • 75% of cats were found within a 500 m radius of their point of escape.
  • Up to 75% of cats with outdoor access traveled 1609 m, further than the distance traveled by indoor-only cats (137 m; p ≤ 0.001).
  • Cats are 13 times more likely to return to owners by means other than a visit to a shelter
  • Most of the cats in the study resided in the USA (59%), Australia (20%), and Canada (14%).
  • Most cats were male (57%), most had been neutered (96%), and had been acquired from a shelter or rescue (33%) or from family or acquaintance (18%).
  • Among the 1210 cats that went missing, most were indoor-outdoor cats (69%), with 46% of all cats being allowed outdoors unsupervised, and 28% of respondents reported their cat was kept strictly indoors and never allowed outdoors.
  • There is about a 33% chance that a missing cat will be found within 7 days and about 56% by 2 months.

Lost Pet Recovery Organizations

Losing a pet can be a devastating and stressful experience for any pet owner. There are many organizations and resources that can help in the process of finding and recovering a lost pet. Let’s learn about some of the most popular and effective ones.

PawMaw



PawMaw helps pet owners find their lost pets by using the power of the internet and the community. PawMaw’s lost and found pets service allows pet owners to create and share a lost pet report, including a photo, description, location, and contact information of a pet. It also allows users to search and view the lost pet reports and contact the owners if they find or see their pet.


PawMaw also sends alerts and notifications to the owners and nearby users when a lost pet report is created or updated. They have over 85% success rate finding lost pets by reaching 1000s of neighbors. PawMaw is free and has helped countless pet owners reunite with lost pets.

Lost Dogs of America

Lost Dogs of America is a network of volunteer-based organizations that helps dog owners find their lost dogs using the power of social media and the community. They allow dog owners to create and share a lost dog flyer. Lost dog owners can search and view the missing dog flyers of this organization and search their dogs.


Lost Dogs of America also posts and shares the missing dog flyers on their Facebook pages, which have millions of followers and reach. They have successfully recovered over 20,000 lost dogs.

Social Media Community



A social media community allows pet owners to create and share a post, a tweet, a story, or a message and share them across various social media platforms. These platforms help pet owners find their lost pets by using the power of the internet and the community.


Social media communities also allow users to like, comment, share, or retweet posts, tweets, stories, or messages, increasing the lost pet’s visibility and reach. Social media communities are incredibly effective in finding lost pets.


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Get Your Pet Back Home

Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year. You can report your missing pets with PawMaw.

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Lost & Found Pet Tips
May 20, 2024 Pawmaw

Lost Dog Facts And Statistics 2024 Update

Annually, 10 million dogs go missing, yet there's a 93% recovery rate. Protect yourself by knowing these statistics and understanding the facts surrou...

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Lost & Found Pet Tips
May 13, 2024 Pawmaw

How To Prevent Your Dog From Getting Lost

Prevent your dog from getting lost by using identification, technology, or training them if you do not want to lose your beloved furbaby.

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Lost & Found Pet Tips
May 5, 2024 Pawmaw

How To Use Social Media For Finding A Lost Pet?

Learn how to utilize social media effectively in finding a lost pet. Get expert tips on leveraging online communities for a swift reunion.

Get Your Pet Back Home

Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year. You can report your missing pets with PawMaw. We can notify thousands nearby within a minute.

Report Lost Pet
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