Lost Cat Found


Thanks to the help of a major poster campaign, and dozens of possible sightings, tips & calls from concerned West End pet-lovers, Tasia has been found after 5 weeks on the lam! Thanks to everyone in the West End who helped!

She had been hiding out in a location very close to home, and venturing out only in the wee small hours of the morning through dawn.

With the help of a stealth cam, this was all confirmed:

She was glimpsed briefly at midnight by one of the people actively searching for her, and once sighted, it still took a week and a half to capture her.

There are a few lessons in this for all lost cat owners:

1. Don't depend on other people to find your cat for you, or for it to wander home itself.
You have to get out there and search yourself --- the first 48 hours are critical, so take time off work if you have to. Get your partner or a friend to help you so you can cover more territory faster. If you don't find your cat quickly, the search can take hundreds of hours later, so consider this time spent as an investment.

2. Leave a dish of dry food and water out close to your building, and monitor/change it once a day. If you can, leave it's litter box outside along with an unwashed article of your clothing, or sprinkle some litter discretely around the bushes on your property.

3. Search close to home, especially if your cat was an indoor-only cat like Tasia was. This means stay tight to your block, across the street and across the lane. If your cat was an indoor-outdoor cat, expand your search to a 4-5 block range. Look for crawl spaces, garages, sheds, under decks and balconies and any sheltered spot a cat can get into. Meaning there's a space 4-5" high. Even after you've searched likely places once, return to them repeatedly. (We had searched the spot where Tasia was hiding a few times, and visited it repeatedly. It was only by being there often that we saw her one day by accident.)

4. Put up lots of neighbourhood posters on your block, and radiating out 1 block in all directions. (4-6 blocks for indoor-outdoor cats) protected in plastic from the elements. Include a photo (colour is best), cats' name, where & when lost (date & cross streets), brief identifying decription, and a phone number where you can be reached 24/7. Make sure you are available 24/7 to respond to calls.

Follow up on every lead, to see if the cat the person called you about is your cat. Start by hanging around where the cat was seen, and asking neighbours if they know if a cat meeting the description given, lives there. This is the "process of elimination" --- if the cat described lives there, it's not your cat, but if you can find nothing about it or cannot find it yourself, include the location on your list of search places. After awhile, you'll know which cats belong where, and you won't have to go out on every call, because you'll know by experience that the cat the person is calling about is probably not yours.

5. Search mostly after dark and at dawn, especially if you have limited time. 11:00 PM through 2:00 AM is prime time for lost cats to come out, as is just before sunrise. Use daylight hours for sussing out likely hiding spots, getting familiar with what looks safe to a cat, postering, and for talking to neighbours.

6. Once you locate your cat's hiding place, arrange to get access to the property or space through it's owner or tenant. Rent or borrow a humane trap to capture it. (Through Petsearchers, VOKRA, SPCA, etc.). Learn how to use the trap from whoever you got it from, or on the internet. Even the most friendly cat will be wary after a few days outdoors and may not respond to you at all. It has learned that silence keeps it safe. A humane trap baited with tuna is the quickest, easiest and safest way to capture it. Once set, stay close by and monitor the trap at least every 2 hours. Prepare yourself by learning how to safely release an "accidental capture;" call Animal Control if you've accidentally captured a skunk or raccoon.

7. Above all, don't give up --- your cat is depending on you to bring it home!

Don't be persuaded that a coyote or raccoon got your cat, unless you find physical or eye-witness evidence of that.

Don't assume someone else took it in --- that very rarely happens.

Do check with the SPCA and Animal Control every couple of weeks, as well as on Craigslist daily.

Here is an update from Tasia's mom:

"Tasia and I are so enjoying being together again! I appreciate, beyond words, how [VOKRA volunteers] persevered and were able to make this possible.

She stays as close to me as possible, day and night and just wants me to hold her like she did as a baby. I bought her a new red collar today and she was sitting on my lap this evening with her little front legs crossed like, "look at me: I'm a princess." It was just so cute! It's just so wonderful to have her with me again!

Must cuddle up with my little girl and go to sleep now. God's blessings on you tonight and always!"

Here is Tasia at home:

Posted by Grino on May 5, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

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