Brexit -- Catexit -- Lost!
Did you know that in the U.S., more cats are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year? Noisy fireworks, outdoor activities such as barbecues with guests going in and out of the house, it’s a cat’s purrsonal nightmare. Your email and Facebook feed were probably bombarded by tips on how to keep your pets safe on the 4th, but accidents happen, Whiskers made his own Catexit and got out – now what?
First – don’t panic. Whiskers’ whiskers are very sensitive, and he will become even more stressed and possibly disoriented if you are stressed. How would he possibly know? Because – chances are, he’s not very far away. Most indoor cats become disoriented when suddenly outside (even without all the noise and confusion of fireworks, guests, etc.) and “go to ground” – that is, find a hiding place not very far away from the very door at which they made their exit.
Put food outside – preferably your cat’s favorite food, even better if it’s something with a strong smell (time to break out the tuna!). You could even put your litter box out, to remind your cat where he belongs. Then, when it’s quiet – even if you have to set your alarm for 2:30 a.m. – go outside and softly call your cat. If you see him, but he’s skittish and won’t come to you, consider getting a live trap.
Call all the animal shelters in your area – ALL of them. It’s possible that Whiskers, disoriented and frightened, hitched a ride in or under a guest’s car and is now further away from home. Not only call, but GO to the shelters, because the receptionist may not have seen all the cats brought in, and the written descriptions may not be accurate. And don’t just go once, but every few days.
Put up signs, post notes to neighborhood listservs or Facebook groups, and talk to the children playing in the street. Those children know far more about what’s going on in your neighborhood than the Neighborhood Watch does (but talk to them, too).
Finally – if your cat didn’t get lost, or if he did, once you have him back, consider both a collar with a tag, and a “chip”. The chip enables shelters/vets to quickly ID a cat, it’s easy to have inserted under the skin by any vet, but requires that someone know to have the cat scanned. A collar is immediate identification, but make sure the tag indicates that Whiskers isn’t just another indoor/outdoor cat.
Oh – and speaking of Catexit – in case you were worried, Larry, the official cat of Number 10 Downing Street, is not making his Brexit with exiting Prime Minister David Cameron but, as an official employee, will be remaining on staff.
Photo of Larry Flickr Creative Commons
You can read more about Larry here.