Many cat owners unfortunately at some point experience that stomach dropping feeling of returning home and realising their cat has not turned up for dinner.
It is easy to start to panic when this happens so here are a few steps to go through to try to help reunite you with your feline friend.
First of all remember it is natural for cats to wander. Especially if they find food or fuss elsewhere.
Also, some cats prefer being outside in the nice weather and will choose to spend as little time as possible inside.
Winnie, pictured, is one of these cats and tends to roam the nearby woods and the gardens of her neighbours during the summer.
She will only occasionally pop back home for an afternoon of sunbathing in her owner’s conservatory.
Next search your house and garden for your cat.
Check small spaces, cupboards, sheds and garages.
While searching call your cat’s name, rattle a treat bag or a favourite toy.
You can also leave out a toy, strong smelling food or a blanket with their scent on in the garden. This will help to entice your cat back home.
If they are not hiding at home spread your search out to the surrounding area.
Walk up your street while calling with treats or a toy and ask your neighbours to search their houses, garages and sheds. Repeat this with a family member or friend when it is dark.
Cats tend to be more active at night.
If there is still no joy then please contact your local vets, animal shelters and local Cat’s Protection branch to report your cat as missing.
Also post up flyers and put them through your neighbours’ letter boxes. You can also put a post on social media sites.
If your cat is microchipped please contact the microchip database to register them as missing and check your contact details are correct.
As a vet I really do recommend microchipping your cat and keeping your details on the database up to date.
Unfortunately we do have lost cats brought into us without a microchip or with an old phone number associated to their chip. This makes it much harder to reunite them with their owners.
They may also have injuries when they are brought in to us and microchips tend to allow us to contact owners quickly.
This is important as we are limited on what treatments we can give lost cats without their owner’s permission.
Finally please remember as much as possible not to panic.
Many cats do wander off and can be gone for days before returning home with no harm or injury.
Claire Turner is a Veterinary Surgeon at St. Vincents Veterinary Surgery, a family-owned practice providing personal care for all your pets in and around Wokingham. For more, visit www.stvincentsvets.co.uk or find them on Facebook