Here Kitty, Kitty: 8 Tips to Find Your Lost Pet

A cat with pet health insurance hides in the bushes.

Having been a veterinarian as well as the founder of the pet insurance industry in the US, I’ve lost (and found) many pets. And I know that losing a pet can be emotionally devastating. Here are a few quick tips that can help you locate your furry friend, should your dog or cat go missing:

1. Look around the vicinity
Your pet may have wandered off and become confused.  Be sure to leave a garage door or back yard gate open should they return while you’re out looking. Time is of the essence in finding your pet before they stray too far.

2. Expand your search
Look in areas that are easier for pets to travel through, such as green belts where a confused and lost pet may seek refuge.

3. Call for your pet while searching
Your voice may bring them out of hiding. Remember to call in calm, soothing voice; otherwise they may think they are in trouble.

4. Post signs
Be sure to include a photo, description of your pet and your contact information. Many pets are picked up by good Samaritans who may contact you if they see your sign.

5. Contact your local humane shelter
Visit them and leave a poster of your pet. Contact them often– call a few times each day, as they may become busy and won’t necessarily call if there is no identification, such as a microchip or tag on your pet.

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Or Call 877-738-7237 to speak with a Pets Best Insurance Agent to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy

6. Place an ad in your local paper
You can also post pictures of your lost pet to social media forums. Consider a reward if you don’t find your lost dog or cat on the first day.

7. Shake your pet’s food bowl
Nothing gets a pets’ attention like food! Shake your pets’ food bowl or crinkle their treat bag. The noise could send them running back into your arms!

8. Repeat your search
Look for hiding places you may have missed in your previous search. It’s also a good idea to be sure your posters are still up after a few days. If they’re not, hang new ones.

Hopefully you have microchipped your pet, but even if you have, it’s still important to have a collar and tag on your pet with your updated contact information.

For more great pet tips or to learn about pet insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.


  • Carolyn

    My kitten fell out of a window when a friend of mine was babysitting her for the weekend in an apartment she had never been to- we were looking for her for 12 hours and what finally made her come
    Back was putting the clothes I had been wearing all
    Day around the yard. She finally smelled me
    Came out of hiding.

  • Dan

    You left off one of the most important places to check: your vet. And for that matter, all local vet offices within a 5 mile radius. This is the first place you should check. I recently lost one of my dogs and did not find him the first day. I did not go to the vet to look for him because I assumed that since he had up to date tags on him, if he was found and taken there, I would get a call. What I didn’t think about was the possiblility of him getting out of his collar and losing his tags which is exactly what happened. It turns out that if I had gone there immediately after discovering his was gone, I would have had him back right then. I went the next day after someone suggested I check. I’m glad I listened because he was already at the pound and they had him all fixed up for their adoption event that was kicking off that weekend. I could have lost him forever if it weren’t for that person who pushed me a little to check with the vet (which by the way was not my vet but was the closest one to my home…they are now my vet though!). And yes, after that nightmare, both of my dogs are microchipped. But if that were to ever happen again, I would check with my vet first before doing anything else.

  • Katherine

    Don’t forget posting to Cragislist under both the “Pets” and “Lost & Found” sections. It’s free, you can load in photos, and a lot of people check there.

  • Connie

    That was brilliant!! I’ll use that if I ever need to!

  • wendy

    Check with your neighbors. My next door neighbors indoor cat got out and crawled under the fence and hid in our bushes. If your neighbor allows, look yourself. When I looked the cat didn’t come out and I wasn’t able to find her but my neighbor checked later and discovered her. Also, my dog always goes to visit his buddies across the street when he gets loose and when my next door neighbors dogs got out they came over to visit. i put them in my backyard while I went to find leashes to walk them back home. Animals tend to be creatures of habit so check routine walking routes or play destinations.

  • wendy

    Display missing dog posters at your local dog park too in case any dog lovers took in your wandering dog and didn’t feel comfortable taking it to the animal shelter. There are so few no kill shelters. Also, check with local and breed specific animal rescue groups especially if your dog isn’t microchipped. These rescue groups usually have a large online member network and they often visit various shelters–almost like an Amber alert for your pet.


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