So you’ve done everything you possibly could to find your lost cat. You posted a lost pet listing, put up flyers in every corner, checked with vets and animal shelters, and did a thorough physical search of the neighborhood with the help of family and friends. You may have even set up CCTVs, a baby monitor, or a safe trap and finally, it happens.
You see that familiar furball slowly trot around the corner and come towards your direction. Your missing cat has come home! Your pet cat returning home is indeed worthy of the grandest celebration. But don’t forget some important things you need to do first to ensure that your cat is in the best of health, and never ever goes missing again! Here’s what to do when your missing cat returns home.
1. Feed him moderately.
Your first thought upon getting reunited with your lost cat is to feed him his favorite food and give him all the treats he wants. Cats behave differently when they are out alone to fend for themselves. Of course, you’d want to make them feel safe again and one way to do this is to feed them and care for them.
However, remember to take it slow at first. Don’t let him indulge right away. Even water must be given moderately or it might make him sick, especially if he has experienced starvation. Starvation causes imbalance in electrolytes in the body, and may cause serious liver damage. In the first 24 hours, feed him in small amounts and see how he reacts. Give him high-fat and high-protein meals if he is hungry and doesn’t vomit.
2. See the vet.
Your cat may look okay but you want to make sure that he hasn’t sustained any injury or got infected by parasites during the time when he went missing. A trip to the vet will help deal with any potential health problems and ease your mind. If your cat shows any sign of having been in a fight or looks weak, the vet should be the first person you ask for help. He will take blood and fecal samples for analysis and give you professional advice on the next steps to take to restore your cat back to full health.
If your kitty appears to be in critical condition or if he refuses to eat, he may need IV or injectable vitamins. IV fluids and intensive care are usually enough to sustain serious diseases or injuries. The vet can also provide details on a feeding schedule that would be best depending on your cat’s health condition.
3. Update your lost pet listing.
When you have the time, don’t forget to tag your cat as found in all the websites you reported him as missing. This way, it will be easier for other owners who are searching for their pets and people who are reporting lost cats to narrow down their search matches. The success of reuniting lost cats with their owners highly relies on updated information.
4. Have your cat microchipped.
On your trip to the vet, you might also consider having your cat microchipped, so it’s a little easier for you in case he goes missing again. Having your pet microchipped is one of the best precautions you can take. It may not serve to track the real-time location of your pets, but it does help to identify missing pets faster.
5. Secure your home.
Now that your missing cat has returned and safely back in your arms, you must do everything possible to keep him from ever escaping again! Outdoor cats are more likely to get lost than indoor cats so if your cat has a certain fondness for the outdoors, you might want to reconsider raising him indoors from hereon instead.
Installing a cat door might be a good idea if you want to keep your cat safely contained. A cat door can be locked or unlocked as needed. Pet supply stores now even have electronic door specifically designed to allow your cat access only to specific times of the day. A cat door would help you make sure that your pet never goes out of the house unsupervised.
Creating a safe, secure space in your yard would also be a great way to keep your cat confined, especially if he likes the outdoors. Cat sanctuaries have grown extremely popular as they provide a way for your cat exercise while being exposed to the exciting sights and sounds outdoors.
6. Update collar and ID tags.
All major retailers have pet ID tags available. You can have these engraved with your cat’s name, your address, and other important information. You also have the option to buy a rabies vaccination tag, which can come in handy as these are sequentially numbered and can be traced easily in case your cat gets lost again. Regardless of the tag you use, as long as it’s updated and can withstand fading, the tag will serve its purpose. The important thing is to remember to update pet tags every time you phone numbers or addresses.
7. Spay or neuter your cat.
Cats that are spayed or neutered are less likely to roam compared to cats that aren’t, who tend to wander looking for a mate. Spaying/ neutering also comes with health benefits, such as reduced risk for diseases like cancer.
Nothing is more rewarding than being successful in finding your lost indoor cat. When you get reunited with your fluffy friend, it’s also vital that you know what to do when your stray cat returns home. You need to be extra careful when feeding him. With the help of the vet, you can follow a feeding schedule, especially if having gone lost caused him to starve or made him ill or injured. Safety precautions should also be put in place to avoid any more incidents of losing your cat in the future. Make sure he has a safe and secure space at home. Put up barriers if necessary, especially if you have a feisty cat who loves to explore.