Remember that an escaped cat is a displaced one in unfamiliar territory. An indoor-only cat or displaced cat will be traumatized by this and may remain concealed and silent. Make sure you search IN YOUR HOME, on your property and your neighbors' aggressively. There are helpful tips at

One of your best tools for recovering a displaced or indoor cat is a humane trap. BAITED HUMANE TRAPS are the preferred technique to recover an indoor-only cat that has escaped outdoors and is hiding nearby! NOTE: Do NOT place your cat's litter box outside, despite what good intentioned people tell you. See this link for why NOT to put out the litter boxy Check your local shelter for TNR groups who may assist. Make sure you let these groups know that your cat may appear feral from fear. Continue searching, cats may take days, weeks or months to show up.

Cats have an incredible sense of smell. Smell is vital to recognition. "If an indoor cat accidentally gets outside or if you move to a new location with your outdoor cat, it is very common that they will become lost - even if they are only 10 feet away from home. If they have not had the opportunity to scent mark their outdoor territory, they will not know where they are or how to return home". from

Go to this link for a more indepth look at understanding your indoor cat and how to use that information to find him/her.


























Remember that injured cats HIDE, usually within a four (4) house radius. Just because you do not see or hear your cat does not mean he is not right there! Make sure you search in hiding areas on your own property and on your neighbors'. Do not just ask your neighbor if they have seen your cat, they will likely not be willing to crawl around looking in tough areas that your cat is most likely to be. Search sheds, garages, wood piles, basements, heavy brush, and under decks.

Go to this link for a more indepth look at understanding your outdoor-access cat and how to use that information to find him/her.

from the first issue of "Scent Detectives"
MAR/APR 2005 Vol. 1, No. 01 the PetHunters International newsletter
(PetHunters International is now Missing Animal Response, )

When a cat is sick or injured, its instinctive response is to do two things: hide and remain silent. This behavior is called "The Silence Factor" and it kills thousands of cats every year. The reason these cats perish is that when they fail to come home, their owners assume they are "lost" and typically invest all of their energy in posting flyers and visiting their local animal shelters to "search" for their cat.

The cats most at risk for "The Silence Factor" behavior are outdoor cats who have an established territory. When these cats suddenly become injured or ill, they typically seek out areas that offer concealment and protection but that are familiar to them and within their territory. These include areas of concealment under a house, deck, porch, inside a shed, inside a garage, or in heavy brush. One key hiding location for injured cats is their outdoor litter box--often under a house or deck, often within a three-house radius of their home.

It is very intrusive to ask a neighbor for permission to enter their property. It is more comfortable for a cat owner to drive ten miles to search the cages at the local animal shelter than it is to knock on a stranger's door and ask them permission to poke around in their yard or even crawl under their home. But the "high probability search area" for an outdoor cat that has suddenly vanished is going to include a neighbor's property. Simply asking neighbors to "look" for a missing cat is not sufficient. Most neighbors will keep an eye out for a missing cat, but if the cat were visible it would not be missing and would be eating and sleeping at home. As nice as they may be, most neighbors are not about to crawl around on their bellies to search for someone else's cat!

An injured or sick cat will huddle in silence as an instinctive response to protect themselves from a predator. The life of a cat may very well depend on the willingness of a cat owner to obtain permission to physically search their neighbor's property. As uncomfortable as it may be, it is CRITICAL that cat owners search these areas because the "lost" cat's life may depend on it!