How To Find A Lost Cat | What To Do If Your Kitty Runs Away From Home

Losing your beloved feline furball is among every pet parent’s worst nightmares.

Cats are notoriously unpredictable and curious. And when they get adventurous they may want to flee the safety of your home’s confinement.

Unfortunately, we can’t tend to our fluffy friends 24/7. Purchasing a GPS tracking collar doesn’t automatically guarantee your pet will be safe and sound out there on the streets.

Busy traffic, feral cats, other stray animals, diseases… the list of dangers in the outdoor world goes on and on. What’s worse, when most cats run away, the chances of finding them shortly after the escape are slim.

Today I want to focus on some of the best techniques pet parents can lean on when they’re trying to find a lost cat.

Or in other words, to talk about what you can do if your kitty runs away from home, regardless of the type of area you’re residing in.

Because even if you’re living in a secluded area without any busy traffic, your precious furball’s safety will still be compromised by the great unknown outdoors.

The first and most essential thing is to not panic.

You need to remain calm and check every single corner of your home for your pet.

Cats tend to use the most puzzling areas of a house or apartment as their hiding spot. There’s a pretty good chance your pet hasn’t left your home at all.

Use treats, food, toys, and a soft, soothing voice to lure your kitty out of hiding.

If the cat has indeed escaped, you’ll need to arm yourself with patience, calmness, and readiness to search outside.

Taking The Next Essential Steps

Even if you’ve allowed your pet to roam your yard in the past, it will still be scared, confused and stressed out if it’s lost somewhere on the streets.

Felines have excellent instincts, but indoor cats aren’t used to surviving on their own, unlike feral ones.

Here’s what you need to do to increase your chances of finding a lost cat – prepare to make phone calls, prep your home if your kitty manages to find its way back on its own, learn where to look for it and understand how to look for it.

Finding a scared runaway on the streets is trickier than finding it in its hiding spot at home.


You’ll need all the help you can get to find your kitty as soon as possible. Here’s a list of the people you need to call before you start searching outside:

  • Friends
  • Family members
  • Neighbors
  • Animal Control
  • Local animal shelters
  • The staff of your pet tracker’s service

You must alert your neighbors because there’s a chance the cat could have sneaked into their yard, garage, house or apartment, especially if they have other animals.

Plus, if there’s an appealing scent coming from their home (food, a cat in heat, antifreeze, etc.), the kitty might be there.

Call your relatives. If you have recently moved with your cat to a new home, it could be trying to go back to its previous home.

What’s more, you’ll also need someone to stay at your place and await your pet’s probable return.

The same goes for calling your friends – they can stay at your home, as well as help you search the outdoors.

Check with Animal Control and any local shelters. If the cat has been missing for a day or so, it could have ended up there.

And if you’re using any sort of pet tracker, you must call the service’s staff immediately. They might be able to help you even if for some reason you can’t track the cat on your own.


Prepping your house or apartment for your cat’s return is crucial. Ask somebody the cat is familiar with to stay over.

Multi-pet owners should remove other pets from the premises if the missing cat isn’t on good terms with them. This means having the dog stay over at somebody else’s home for a while.

Leave the door and some windows open, especially the one from which the cat has escaped in the first place. Warn the person staying over about the open windows and that he/ she needs to keep an eye on them.

Leave your cat’s toys or some of your worn clothes in the yard/ on the window. This way the kitty will be able to smell them if it’s nearby. Familiar scents have a chance of luring out a scared cat.

Do not leave opened cans of food around! This will attract feral felines, raccoons, seagulls, and other stray animals.

Not only will they occupy the area, but they might also bring parasites and diseases. What’s more, their unfamiliar scent will probably scare your already stressed-out pet if it’s nearby.


You’ve already checked every single corner of your home and your furry friend isn’t there. Here’s where it might be hiding:

  • Neighbors’ home or garage
  • Around shops, cafés, fast food chains, and diners
  • Near a feral cat in heat’s lair
  • The places where you take your cat for a walk
  • Under parked cars
  • Among dense foliage
  • In high spots like rooftops and trees
  • In tucked crawling spaces like vent shafts and porches

As you can see, there are a plethora of hiding spaces. Moreover, there’s also a chance your pet could have been driven away if it hid in an unsuspecting driver’s vehicle.


Many pet parents think that if they shout the kitty’s name loud enough, their furball will come out of hiding.

Being obedient in your home is one thing, but being lost in the outdoors is overwhelming, to say the least.

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to look for a lost cat the right way.

  • Call out the feline’s name in a calm, playful and soothing voice. Your pet will be able to sense that you’re scared, panicking or even angry. This may prevent it from coming to you even if it’s nearby. Use common phrases the cat knows. Things like “come here”, “dinner time” and “Does Fluffy want a treat?” will help provoke the kitty to come out of hiding.
  • Listen carefully. If your furry pal is trapped or just too scared to show itself, it still might respond to you verbally.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking the cat is nearby. Just because it doesn’t know its way around doesn’t mean it won’t try to hide in another neighborhood. On the other hand, don’t rule out the possibility that’s it’s still in your home’s area.
  • Prepare to search after nightfall. Cats are nocturnal creatures. Chances are your pet will be more willing to be active and come out of hiding during nighttime. Arm yourself with a flashlight, unwashed clothes and your pet’s favorite cat toy. Look under cars and inside crawlspaces, as well as on high hiding spots.

The guys over at Statesman Journal have some excellent tips and tricks on how to prevent indoor felines from escaping their home’s confinement.

Head over to their website and check them out if you want to decrease the chances of losing your feline furball due to its curious and adventurous temper.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!