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What To Do If It Happens To You
The single most effective way of getting your cat back is through the use of humane traps. It is imperative that you begin the trapping process as soon as possible after losing your cat.
At The SPOT, we recommend the use of two traps strategically placed, baited and set nightly for at least four weeks.
In Calvert County, we have humane traps available for your use for a fully refundable deposit of $50.00 for one trap or $100.00 for two traps.
Text: 410-586-1209 if you are in need of a trap.
Here Is A List Of Action Items:
The silence factor. A lost indoor-only cat WILL NOT come when called, will not answer an owner's call, and will not meow until the 7th to 10th day. They will not show themselves, will not emerge during daylight hours, and will not allow themselves to be seen or found during this time. In the few instances where owners or neighbors have gotten a glimpse of their lost cats, the majority of cats immediately fled. This behavior in some cases will continue up to seven weeks, possibly longer.
They're closer than you think. Research indicates that most lost indoor-only cats are hiding much more closely than most people realize, generally within a 2-3 house radius from their home. They hide in sewers, under storage buildings, between fences and under decks - in the smallest and most unlikely places you can imagine. These cats are frightened and revert to feral cat like behaviors - hide, stay quiet, and don't move.
Begin the Search Immediately
Do not wait for a dog to come home!
The sooner you start, the greater the chance that your dog will be returned uninjured.
Also, never assume your dog was stolen!
Call for Help
Contact animal control offices, veterinarians, and animal shelters within a 30-mile radius.
Give them current information (color of collar, tags, current pictures, breed, etc.).
If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip company to make sure your pet’s registration is up-to-date with current phone numbers and contact information.
Search Your Home
Start in the house and look in every closet, cabinet, bureau drawer, and under beds. You should also search behind appliances, in the hollow under reclining chairs, under the couches, and the bottom of drapes or blankets. Consider looking behind clothes washer and dryer, in any hidden recesses, basement crawl spaces, and under decks.
If your dog bolted out of your electric fence, please turn off the electric fence so your dog will be able to get back into his or her own yard.
Check your bushes, garage, under the vehicles, and other small den-like areas on your property to see if your dog is frightened and hiding.
Check With the Neighbors
Have your neighbors check their yard, under porches, garages, open basements, sheds, under boat docks, wells, barns, broken down cars, and chicken coops. Remember to ask permission before entering their property.
Bring a Leash
Don't go out anywhere without a leash on your person. You would be amazed how at many people forget this one simple item and lose the pet again after capturing it! Also don't forget the stinky treats, such as hot dogs, etc.
Consider Where Your Pet Was Last Seen
Place a blanket/crate where your dog was last seen and put a bowl of smelly food or human food near the blanket. If you have a hunting trail camera, set it up in this location.
Please put out an article of your clothing (socks, dirty t-shirts) at the location where your dog was last seen. There is a good chance that your dog may return.
Set Up a Perimeter
Looking at Google maps, draw a circle in a 3-mile radius around the last sighting, and send out flyers heavily in this radius. Never assume that your dog will not cross a highway, pond, railroad tracks, or power lines.
Distribute Pictures, Posters, and Flyers
Create a simple flyer with large type, and print 250 copies to start (color can be expensive, so at the very least use color paper). Your flyers should be kept simple and readable.
Please put in plastic sheet protectors with an opening on the bottom and be sure to staple in all four corners, facing the direction of travel.
People take lost pets to local veterinarians, police stations, shelters, animal hospitals, kennels, groomers, even pet stores. Make sure all local places where your pet might turn up have your missing dog poster.
Ask businesses to put your flyers up in their windows. Be sure to canvas all the local drive-thru restaurants and bank tellers. Ask for the manager and request they leave some flyers for in break room or drive-thru window.
Send shelters within a 30-mile radius a poster of your dog along with details for returning him/her if someone should bring your dog to their facility.
Give copies of your flyers to people that walk their dogs in the area. Remember that placing posters in mailboxes is illegal.
Enlist Your Friends and Family
It takes a village to find a lost pet. Go out and create the village by talking to your neighbors. Recruit family, friends and other volunteers to help you in printing posters and posting them as quickly as possible.
While friends, family members, and well-meaning people will want to "physically search" for the dog, it is actually the wrong thing to do. This will create additional fear in the dog as he or she may feel threatened or hunted. This will send the lost dog further and further away. It is best to get the posters up in the area as quickly as possible so you can start getting calls with sightings. Remember to record all sighting of the dog with time, date, and exact location and direction of travel.
Instruct everyone that is helping you not to call or chase your dog. This will prolong your search. If your dog is seen, you may sit, or lay down (no eye contact) and gently toss out treats to lure your pet in. Soft talk to them using a cute nickname you have for them at home.
Lost dogs use their natural instincts in order to survive. They have only three things on their brains: food/water, shelter, and keeping themselves safe, even to the point of staying away from their owners. Every time people are out searching in the area where your dog was seen, they think of this as a threat, which then increases their fear towards people and causing them to move out of the area.
Dogs lost in stressful situations such as car accidents, changing fosters homes, veterinary clinic, groomers, and rescue transport: these dogs usually do not travel far unless they are pushed out of the area, chased, or when search groups go out searching. 75% of these dogs are eventually recovered on the property they bolted from.
Remember, if you spot your dog, do not whistle, chase, or call him. This could cause him to panic and run into traffic, causing great injury.
Man Your Phones
Your telephone should be manned 24 hours a day. If your dog has an ID tag with your phone number on it, you may very well get a call.
If you have a lost dog reported with us we use our toll free answering service number on lost dog posters unless otherwise requested. Once messages or sightings are received we forward all information immediately to the owners. This ensures you will never miss a call.
What NOT To Do
1. Don't panic.
2. Don't wait.
3. Don't believe everything people tell you.
4. Don't call the name of a lost dog.
5. Don't chase a lost dog.
6. Don't give up!