Lost Pets


August 14, 2013 at 8:57am
Understanding Survival Mode In Lost Cats

Understanding survival mode in lost cats is important factor when searching for your cat. Being aware of this lost cats instinct can help or hinder your efforts, not to mention your morale.

When cats are lost, scared or injured, they may go into survival mode. What does this entail?

Your Cat Will Not Meow

In survival mode, lost cats will not meow, because this would alert predators of her presence. Lost cats will not make a peep, though you might be three feet away calling their name and tapping a dish of stinky tuna.

Your Cat Will Not Respond To Your Voice

When in survival mode, lost cats will not respond to your voice. This single fact is hard for most people to believe. In many cases, we have such strong bonds with our cat, it’s unfathomable that they would ignore our voice calling to them. She sleeps snuggled up on my neck… he always comes running when I tap his food dish… he never leaves my side… But cats are not people, they’re cats. They have cat instincts that kick into gear when they need them, and survival mode is a cat’s instinct working to keep it alive.

Your Cat Will Find A Hiding Place And Wait

When in survival mode, lost cats will find a good hiding spot and wait. They will hunker down until they either feel safe enough to move, or gets thirsty or hungry. This might take days.

Unfortunately,  lost cats‘ survival mode instinct can get her into trouble. They may fearfully crouch in their hiding spot for so many days that they starve to death, or are too weak and disoriented from dehydration to make it home once they feel safe again. This is why it’s critical to thoroughly search your home and your surroundings as a first response if your cat is missing.

By understanding how survival mode in lost cats work, you can greatly increase your chances of recovering your cat if they’re close by, which usually, they are.

Lost Outdoor-Access Cats:

One of the most profound discoveries that we have made at Missing Pet Partnership is that the methods that should be used to search for a missing outdoor-access cat are much different than those used to search for a missing indoor-only cat!

When an outdoor-access cat disappears, it means that something has happened to the cat to interrupt its behavior of coming home. Cats are territorial and they do not just run away from home (like dogs do). Thus the tactics and techniques used to search for a missing cat should be different than those used to search for a missing dog. Lost cat posters will not always help find your cat if it has crawled under your neighbor's deck and is injured and silent. We believe that lost cat posters should be used, but that additional measures should be taken as well. If your outdoor cat is missing, consider that it may be:TRAPPED – Your cat could be up a tree, on a roof, under a house, inside a neighbor’s basement or shed. This would mean that your cat would likely be within its normal territory, usually a 5-house radius of your home. It is imperative that you obtain permission from your neighbor to enter their yard so that you can look for your cat yourself. DO NOT rely on asking your neighbor to “LOOK” for your cat—their idea of looking will be to call if they see your cat sitting on their patio! INJURED – The behavior of an injured or sick (or displaced, panicked) cat is that they will hide in silence. We have called this “The Silence Factor” and this behavior KILLS CATS EVERY DAY! Hiding in silence is a protective mechanism that cats use to protect themselves from predators. What this means is that before you print up lost cat posters or drive down to your shelter to look for your lost cat, SEARCH under and in every conceivable hiding place on your own property and on your neighbor’s property! It is quite possible that your cat is injured and in need of medical attention and you will need to use a flashlight and crawl under your house in order to save his life!

DISPLACED – Cats that are chased from their territory either by dogs, people, or other cats who beat them up and cats that are panicked by fireworks will often become “displaced” into unfamiliar territory. Many of these cats, once their adrenaline levels have subsided, will work their way back home, often showing up the next day or a few days later. But many of these cats, especially those with skittish temperaments, will be so panicked by the experience that they will hide in fear and will be too afraid to return home. We’ve seen many cases where a cat was “lost” but was actually just three houses away, crouching and hiding in fear inside a neighbor’s yard! These cats could have jumped a few fences or crossed one street and yet they behaved like they were feral cats, afraid of humans. Some meowed and let their owners pick them up—others darted and ran from their owners and had to be humanely trapped. Understand the critical importance of conducting an aggressive, physical search for your cat within your cat’s immediate territory (neighbor’s yards) in order to determine if your cat is still within the area. The failure to conduct this type of search is why so many cats are never found by their owners and end up being absorbed into the feral cat population.



Lost "Indoor-Only" Cats":

If your indoor-only cat has escaped outside there is good news--your cat is probably not lost at all! That is because it is likely that your cat is hiding and, depending upon the terrain, may be closer than you think! When an indoor-only cat escapes outside, it is a case of where is the cat is likely hiding (usually near the escape point) in fear. That is because cats are territorial and your cat's territory was inside of your home. Once a cat is transplanted into unfamiliar territory, it seeks shelter because it is afraid. A cat that is afraid (and cats that are injured) will seek areas of concealment such as under a deck, under a house, under a porch, in heavy brush and they will not meow! Meowing would give up their location to a predator. It has nothing to do with whether the cat loves you, whether it recognizes your voice, or whether it can smell you--it has everything to do with the fact that a frightened cat will hide and be silent!


Put litter box outside with box  for shelter and something that smells like home ,make sure you put  food, water .. can rub cat food in trees  to get smell out there { you may get a few other cats come by } and scatter some dirty litter around corners of property .  walk at night when it is real quiet about 2-3 am  shaking treats calling softly , your cat may not come out right away but follow you home . and be on the porch in the morning . repeat every night .  indoor cats are usually with in 3 houses from yours. if you see your cat  do not get excited  be calm bend down low  talking calmly throw few treats in front of you  wait till cat gets real close to grab you may want to have gloves on in case they scratch you . some cats coming running some do not.


The method that Missing Pet Partnership has pioneered that has resulted in the recovery of many "missing" indoor-only cats is the same method used to capture feral cats--the use of a humane trap. We call this “trap-and-reunite” or “TAR”. These wire cages are available for rental from your local shelter or veterinarian or for sale at hardware stores, pet stores, or on-line at www.animal-care.com.  Humane traps have a trip mechanism that when triggered by a cat, will shut the door and contain a cat inside.


Sadly, cat owners are being told to post flyers and to drive twenty miles to check the animal shelter cages but they are not being instructed to set humane traps in their neighbor's yard where their indoor-only cat might be hiding in fear. They are being told to place an advertisement in the local paper but they are not being told that injured cats will likely be hiding within their territory in an area of concealment and that they will not meow.

I lost my Pet! What do I do?


Remember Time is crucial! You need to report and put the word out ASAP!

  • Report to local Veterinarian's and have found pets scanned for a chip. This service is FREE
  • Report  to ALL of your local Animal organizations:
  • Fixed Fur Life - E Mail at quinsey@sympatico.ca as Voice mail often full or log onto our Face book group at www.facebook.com/fixed.furlife
  • Loyalist Humane Society 613-476-4951
  • Quinte Humane Society 613-968-4673
  • Thomas the Silver Tabby thomasthesilvertabby@hotmail.com
  • Tweed /Marmora/Tyendinega Animal Control Shelter 613-478-3547
  • Madoc Stirling Animal Control 613-771-2600
  • Prince Edward County Canine 613-476-7666
  • Quinte West Animal Control 613-398-0222
  • Northumberland Humane Society (905)885-4131
  • Post pictures on the Lost Cat Network or the Quinte Lost dog network on face book
  • Log on to www.helpinglostpets.com and post. This is an amazing resource for finding your pet
  • Post on Kijiji and Twitter and Face book...
  • Notify Radio stations
  • Speak to your local Postal walker (mail person) and crossing guards, as these individuals walk and man their areas their area's each and every day and will be able to tell you if he or she has spotted a new cat or dog.

Have your Pets Micro chipped!!
FFL sells them year round for $25.00. Contact us if you are interested...