How to Lure a Cat Out of Hiding?

Some cats are more confident or sociable than others. Be patient and persistent to get good results. Use toys, catnip, and treats or wet food to encourage your cat to come out from under the couch, bed, or basement rafters. Place these lures near his hiding place, but make sure he has to come out a bit to reach them. Shake the bag of treats every time you give him some to condition your cat to respond to the sound. This can give you an easy way to “call” your cat when needed.

The dreaded moment for every cat owner: your cat has escaped or has not come home after a night out. At such a moment it is often panic and you do not have time to find out what exactly you are doing best. That is why we have made a short guide with do’s and don’ts, a template for your MISSING flyer, and some explanation about the method that many owners and cats have reunited.

1. Prevention

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that your cat is chipped! Every year numerous animals end up in the shelter that clearly has an owner, but it is often impossible to find their owner. So much animal suffering can be avoided by chipping. This is important for outdoor cats, but even more so for indoor cats. An outdoor cat is used to dealing with the dangers she can encounter on the street. When a cat that never or rarely goes out suddenly walks into the street, he/she may be startled and run away.

Make a flyer in advance. It may seem lurid, but it is not nice to lose time making a flyer when your animal is missing. At the bottom of the article, you will find a template that you can use, at point 4 there is a bit more explanation. Make sure you have some clear photos ready.

2. The first steps

Your cat did not come home. Should you panic immediately? No. But if your cat is used to coming home in the evening and suddenly he/she is not there, then it is best to check with the neighbors. Don’t wait for it. The faster you talk to your neighbors, the more likely you are to find your cat quickly. The first few days the cat will hide in your neighborhood, so those first days are crucial.

Place a litter box outside the door, a basket with a blanket on which the cat has slept. Also, put food outside at the same time each time, but don’t leave it on all day or night. This allows you to attract other cats that are a threat.

A cat that is not used to coming outside often hides in a radius of 100m. Cats are the perfect para commands. They can hide so well that you hardly see them. Any opening large enough to get through with their cup is a shelter. So look carefully in cracks, basements, dark places, under cars, and under bushes. Use a flashlight, which will make the eyes reflect more easily. The ideal times to start looking are around twilight just before dark, in the middle of the night when it is quiet or very early in the morning.

Ask the neighbors if you can take a look in the basement, garden, or gazebo. The cat knows your scent and voice very well, so that can cause her to respond. Don’t assume she will meow when she hears you. A frightened cat will often keep quiet. But you know your cat best, so you are also the best person to look for.

Finally, cats also dare to climb on roofs or to crawl in trees. So definitely look up!

3. Take along during your search

During your search you are best prepared as well as possible. Bring wet food, granules and candies. This can sometimes lure an animal. Also bring a blanket that he / she slept on. The familiar smell can calm an animal. And of course also the carrying basket. If you have recently moved, please let the new occupants of your old house know that your cat is missing. Some cats can walk for miles to their previous home.

4. Make a flyer

In times of social media, people often think that spreading online works best, but the MISSING flyer is definitely the best way to find a cat.

Below the article you can find a preview of the data that indicates your best if you can this use. Always try to have a clear photo at hand.

Data (example):

  • Name: (Wolf)
  • Gender: (Hangover)
  • Age: (4 years)
  • Chip: (Yes) / No.
  • Colour black)
  • Appearance: (Long hair, a small cap in his left ear, a hazelip)
  • Character: (nice to people, but quite scared)
  • Health: (he is ill and needs medication)
  • How to approach: (if he doesn’t know you he will walk, so don’t approach)
  • Missing Since: (01/07/2017)
  • Where: (Papegaaistraat 69/001, 9000 Ghent)
  • Contact details: (Lana – 0491/112233)

NEVER put a reward or amount of money on your MISSING flyer!

You undoubtedly have a library of adorable photos, but choose the one where your cat is clearly recognizable. Especially photos with specific features can help in the search.

5. Strategic plan for the search

When carrying flyers around, we recommend using the following tactics. Start with the block where you live. Don’t just put the flyers in the bus, ring the doorbell. Tell people about your cat. That way they are involved and they will contact you faster if they see something. Also ask them if they want to hang the flyer by the window and if you can take a look in the garden or basement.

When you have done the block, you can do the same block the next day, but across the street. Also take a look to hang flyers in places where many people come. For example at the local bakery, tram stops, parks, post office.

If there are vacant buildings or construction sites in your area, pay extra attention to them. These are places cats prefer. Talk to the people on the yard or try to find out who owns the vacant property.

Once you have done the streets around your block, you can expand to the surrounding blocks. Work systematically and indicate on a map where you have all been.

6. Social media

Although contact with the neighborhood is still the best way to find a cat, it can always be beneficial to turn on social media. Of course first on your personal accounts, but also take a look at the local group for your neighborhood. Nowadays there are a number of online platforms on which you can communicate with the neighborhood, such as Hoplr or Peerby.

You also have various Facebook groups and websites to report missing animals. You can of course make a call on all platforms, but this is usually not effective.

7. Vet and shelter

Also notify your own vet and insert flyers at the veterinarians in the area. You can also email the local shelters with your flyer, so that they can also keep an eye on things. Do not expect a response from the shelters or that they share the information. But of course it is interesting to let us know. Be proactive yourself and regularly check the animals for adoption.

If your cat has disappeared a little longer, go and see the animal shelter for yourself. Only adoptable cats are listed on the website. A cat that has been found will only be able to be adopted after four weeks. So it is best or just to go to the shelter yourself and ask about the person responsible for the cats. He can then tell you which animals are in quarantine. So don’t just stop by and check to see if your cat has been found.

There are also stray cat projects in the cities. Check with the organizations whether there is a feeding place in your area, and whether the responsible person can look out for your cat.