Keeping you feline from getting lost and what to do if they are
By Kristie Bulger
A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.
Right now there are over a dozen cats at Newaygo County Animal Shelter. Every one of these cats used to be someone’s pet. How do I know? Because feral or semi-feral cats act very differently from pet cats. Every one of these shelter cats probably used to live in someone’s house. If they hadn’t gotten or been put outside, these cats would still have homes. They would not be lost strays. I think that in a perfect world all cats would spend their lives in warm, loving homes. They would be inside-only cats. They would not suffer from any of the harm that befalls cats that live outside nor would they be able to inflict harm on the wild life around them. Yes, I know stories about outside cats that have lived a long time…..but those stories are very rare indeed.
The best way to keep cats from getting lost is to keep them inside all the time. I understand that for some cats, especially older cats that are used to going out, it can be challenging to keep them in the house full time. Here is a list of suggestions from a friend who is very involved in recovering lost pets:
* Spray bottles of water at all doors, to spray towards them if needed when opening doors.
* A jar of coins at all doors, to shake and scare them when opening doors.
* Baby gates at the doors can help deter them. Childproof knobs and locks so a child doesn't just open the doors and let them out. These things also keep everyone in the house mindful of the cat's location when doors are opened.
But sometimes accidents happen. Contractors, visitors, small children, have all been known to let cats get out. The first thing to do is carefully search your home. Cats are masters of hiding and many a panicked owner has found their cat inside their home after hours of searching. If your cat is shy of strangers and you don’t see her/him after you have any kind of visitors, remember to search your home thoroughly.
If it appears your cat has gotten outside, here are some suggestions:
* Put their bed/blanket in their carrier, soiled items of the owners clothing (socks, shoes, coat) on top of the carrier, and put the carrier outside the door. When it's rainy/snowy weather, check the items often for water/ice.
* Report missing to the shelter; email photos, location details, and contact information. Physically search the shelter (mainly large cities).
* Notify neighbors and mail carriers. Ask neighbors to search their property; sheds, garages, etc. Also ask neighbors to review their home camera footage and keep an eye on their cameras, if they have them.
* Get large bright colored posters up all over the area and a large sign in the yard near the road.
* Post to Nextdoor.com, Pawboost, local lost/found pet pages, and community Facebook pages.
* Cats typically stay close to home, they will hide during the day, and come out at night when it's quiet. Searches at any time are great. Go outside after Dusk, throughout the night, and before Dawn. Have a flashlight and quietly call to the kitty. Shake their toys/treats. Search under decks, porches, vehicles, tarps, bushes, up trees, and other spots where they could be trapped or hiding.
* A live camera is a great tool for sightings. A live trap can be used but has to be monitored at all times.
* No litter or litter box outside. Cats bury their waste to ward off other cats and predators. Putting the litter box outside will attract other cats and predators and deter the resident cat from returning home.
* No food outside unless it's monitored at all times with a camera to see who is eating it.”
(I’d like to thank Robin for helping me with all this recovery information)
Here are links to Newaygo area lost/found FB groups:
Here in Newaygo County, we are very lucky to have an Animal Control that works hard to help all stray animals, including cats, to find homes. Some county shelters don’t take in cats any more because there are so many. Some places and organizations consider outside cats to be a feral invasive species. Our shelter keeps found cats for 7 days (just like dogs) and then they are put up for adoption. Always contact NCAS to see if your lost cat is there. Unlike dogs, cats have no leash laws or license requirements but it is highly recommended that you get your cat microchipped. All cats that are found and taken to the shelter are immediately scanned for a chip. Bellwether Harbor in Fremont has inexpensive microchip clinics available during the summer. The cost is only $17 for dogs and cats. Their next clinic will be June 4th. Keep an eye on their FB page for updates. Here’s the link:https://www.facebook.com/BellwetherHarbor.
Here’s a link to our FB page "Friends of Newaygo County Shelter” where you can see all our available animals:
The adoption fee for dogs is $90.
This fee includes spay/neuter, deworming, heartworm test, rabies & DHLPP shots, flea & tick treatment and license.
The adoption fee for cats is $65
This fee includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, feline distemper combo vaccine, FIV/FELV testing, deworming and flea/tick treatment.
Newaygo County Animal Shelter
78 N. Webster
White Cloud, MI 49349
Monday - Friday 11-1
Appointments welcome and available upon request
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