Celia Haddon - Cat Expert

Understanding animals through their behaviour



Some people have found their lost cats months later and 100s of miles away.

A cat lost in Cornwall (while its owners were on holiday there) turned up six months later, and because posters were still around, was recognised and rehomed. Pipsqueak, a cat in Hereford, turned up 3 years later! Oliver was lost for eight years when his owners moved house. Then eight years in 2001 later they saw a picture of him in the St Columb Cornish RSPCA and recognised him! He was in poor condition but seemed to have survived living rough – a true survivor.

Cats may be stuck in a hole, and will re-emerge when thinned down. One cat survived 45 days under floorboards. A tabby survived three weeks trapped in a sewer pipe after workmen had poured a concrete floor in a new house. Midge spent four weeks trapped into a wall cavity. Bonkers got stuck under floorboards. So ask around any building work and LISTEN in case there’s a noise.

Microchipping cats makes all the difference. Tommy kitten, who belonged Christine and Ian Hauton in Scunthorpe went missing for three years. He was discovered 200 yards up the road living under the name of Zac with Peter and Sheila Smith. He had turned up starving and they took him in. His identity came to light when his microchip was discovered and read. Also take photographs and keep them – better than nothing and useful for posters. Petlog is the best UK service www.petlog.org.uk Choose a chip that fits in with them.

Remember that sometimes cat breeds are described wrongly – ie. Abyssinian may just be put down as a brownish cat.


Put notices with photo in all local vet surgeries for at least a 20 mile radius. Contact all local animal rescue organisations including Cats Protection, the RSPCA in a 50 mile radius. This is very important. If you don’t do this, and your cat is handed in badly injured from a road accident, the RSPCA may have it put down. This happened to a reader who caught up with their elderly cat after four days, only to discover the RSPCA had had it euthanased a few hours earlier. If the RSPCA had known it was missing, they would have kept it longer. Write a letter to all local papers, free sheets and magazines with a photo. Ring the newsdesk and tell them that your other cats/dogs are pining and refusing to eat – this gives the paper a chance to photograph the remaining animal and makes an animal story. Put on Facebook and other social medias like Twitter and nextdoor.co.uk being clear about which neighbourhood.  Add photos, distinguishing marks.

  • Leaflet houses in local streets.
  • Put ads in local newsagents.
  • Tell the milkman and the postman.
  • Ask local dog walkers if they saw anything.
  • Contact your breed society and rescue organisation.
  • Contact your pet insurance. Some give help with lost animals.
  • Rung your local radio station phone in to ask everybody to help.
  • Facebook – ask only locals to look out. LinkedIn too.
  • Twitter and nextdoor.co.uk
  • Ask your local street cleaner if he has come across any corpses. Awful, but it is better to know.
  • Contact your local council’s Environmental Health department – many keep a record of cats found dead on the road.
  • Ask your local pub/shop if it has a noticeboard etc. Also the Community Centre, Church Hall, vicar etc.
  • Check local sheds, allotment buildings, barns, building sites (in case a cat is down among the floorboards or walled up by mistake), garages, attics, culverts, anywhere where a cat might get itself shut in.
  • Put details of your pet on any other relevant websites – see below,If your cat is pedigree (or looks like one!!), check Gumtree and other ‘free’ selling sites just in case your cat has been stolen.
  • Put pictures on lamp posts offering a reward, not saying how much. Give your phone number, not your address, on strips of paper in a plastic envelope under the poster so that people can take one if they don’t have a pen.
  • Be prepared for sickos who ring you up to say how they smashed your pet on the head etc. – they are disturbed. Never arrange to meet somebody who says they have your pet, without bringing somebody with you for safety.
  • Put out the litter, dirty bedding, contents of vacuum cleaner, into the garden or front step – so that the smell helps your cat finds its way back. This is very important if your cat goes missing just after a house move.



UK Missing Pets Registerwww.nationalpetsregister.
Animal Search www.animalsearchuk.co.uk
Cat chat www.catchat.org/lost.html
Cats Protection – most branches have lost and found officers.Go to www.cats.org.uk for your local branch.
Battersea Lost Dogs and Cats  line 8am-8pm 0901 477 8477, 60p a minute.

These can be helpful, if only because you can ring the local paper (having already got a story there) and get them to do a follow up story. But be prepared for all kinds of low life people to try to collect the money, without producing the right cat. And have a care for your personal safety.

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