Finding Your Lost Pet

by Bonney Brown

In the blink of an eye your pet can become lost. While it’s very distressing, there is a good chance that you will recover your pet if you move quickly and don’t give up.

Generally, an indoor cat will hide when they escape outdoors. The disappearance of an outdoor cat indicates that something has happened to prevent the cat from coming home. While posters and shelter searches are important, they will not help if the cat is injured and hiding in silence, as cats tend to do. There is no substitute for a thorough physical search of the area—looking under and in every conceivable hiding place in your yard and in your neighbors’ yards. Simply asking others to look is not sufficient. Many cats can be found within a five-house radius.

A lost cat is usually so fearful that they will not come out from hiding even if they hear or see a much-loved person. Instinct drives them to keep hidden and silent. A humane trap is often the best way to recover the cat.

Dogs can go missing for a variety of reasons—from an opportunistic journey when a gate is accidentally left open to panic that can set in when a dog is frightened. A frightened dog will travel fast and likely be unresponsive even to someone they love and trust.

Recovering a lost dog is all about launching an effective marketing campaign. Creating large bright posters with brief wording and a photo is far more effective than letter-sized posters.

In your flyers or ads, withhold at least one identifying characteristic you can use to verify that a person has actually found your pet. Do not include your name, address, or a specific reward amount. When you go to claim your pet, take someone along and do not pay any reward until you have your pet back. Sad to say, there have been scams perpetrated on people eager to be reunited with their pet.

Don’t take a wait-and-see approach. The first few hours can be critical in terms of finding the pet and connecting with people who may have seen the pet.

Don’t give up too soon, either. Pets are recovered weeks and months after they are lost. Persistence pays off!


Microchips are a huge asset in getting pets back home. For a limited time, Washoe County Regional Animal Services is offering FREE microchips to all Washoe County pet owners. Visit their website at


Upcoming Events that Help Animals

Time 2 Shine Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Adopt a Shining Star Pet with fees waived through May 31. Other adult dogs are $50, adult cats are $25, and kittens are $60. Open for adoptions seven days a week from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays. Shelter located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.


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