Friday, June 06, 2014

What to do if you lose your cat

Sadly, this week we've had to learn what to do when a cat goes missing.

Our cat Bogey went out on Wednesday evening and has not come back. It not unusual for him to spend the whole night outside - but usually the morning he'll be crying at the door.

But it's now been two nights, and he's still not home.

So what to do if you live in Ottawa and you've lost your pet? Here's what I've learned so far.

1. Call the the Humane Society's Lost and Found department. They will ask for a description of the pet and the area of the city where it went missing. They check that against their database to see if your pet's been found already.

2. Fill out their online lost animal report so if they find your pet, they know where to reach you.

3. Email them a photo of your pet. (So if you have pets and don't currently have a good photo of each of them, might be a good idea to get those images now).

4. Call the city. In Ottawa, you can simply dial 311. You'll be filing two reports (easily done over the phone) - one with the City Bylaw Department to find out if anyone has called in a strange cat roaming around, and the other with Road Maintenance. It's awful to think about, but it's the Road Maintenance crew that is alerted when an animal has been run over on a street.

5. Go to the Humane Society Animal Shelter to see if you can find your pet among those there. Be optimistic and bring your pet carrier with you.

6. Print up posters with a picture of you pet and descriptions of any identifying features - as well as information about how to contact you if it has been found. You may even want to offer a reward as an extra motivation. You can hang up posters around your neighbourhoud - and chat with people you meet to see if they might have seen your pet.

I'm still holding out hope that our Bogey will come home. He's a lug of a cat with some quirky habits - and he's also quite lazy. But when I find him curled up on my bed, I'll lie down and put my head on him like he's my pillow. Instantly he'll start purring. And then I'll just lay there for awhile, listening to the comforting, contented sounds of his rumbling purr. I'm really going to miss that.