Cat relaxing in a basket in the sunshine

How to find a lost cat

Team Walmart Pets

June 1, 2021


min read

“Oh no… My cat is lost!” If you’ve never had that moment of dawning dread, consider yourself lucky.  For indoor cat owners, the realization that their cat may have escaped outside can be frightening — especially if they’re not wearing their collar with an ID tag, which they should always have on. 

If your cat goes missing, try and relax, and follow these steps. Here’s how to find your lost cat:

Start inside your house 

People often think their cat has gone out an open door when in reality the cat, using their trusty cat logic, has in reality simply decided the open door was scary, making them hide in a closet. Before you start searching the yard, check EVERYWHERE in your house. A good thing to do is shake their favorite treat container. Hearing the sound could be what they need to come out from hiding.

Next, check outside

Cats who have just gotten out are more likely to immediately hide rather than to cover lots of distance. The best approach is to leave your door open in case your cat wants to return, and search the area around your house. Don’t run, as sudden movements may cause your cat to flee. Search under nearby cars and behind bushes, trash cans, etc. Leave an open can of your cat’s favorite food near the door in case she gets hungry and decides to wander home to eat. 

Finally, get help

When you’re sure your cat is not in your house, but actually outside and on the run, it’s time to call the cavalry. Show your neighbors a photo of your flighty feline and ask if they’ve seen her. Also, be sure to alert local authorities, animal shelters and lost cat rescue services so they know who to contact if your kitty is found. Many towns and neighborhoods have online communities set up on social media devoted to helping locate missing pets.

Once you assemble a search party, make sure to blanket the surrounding area for places your cat could be hiding. It can also be helpful to search at dusk when cats are more likely to hunt. Their eyes will reflect light from flashlights, making them much easier to spot.

Cat Parenting


Photo by Eric Han on Unsplash