How to Find a Lost Indoor Only Cat Outdoors

Indoor cats can escape from the house through open doors and windows. Like their outdoor counterparts, house cats are curious about the outside world and may want to check it out. A house cat that manages to get outdoors is at risk of either getting lost or finding itself in a sticky situation caused by unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances. If your indoor cat slips outside, you have to understand how the cat is feeling in order to find and bring it back home.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat treats
  • Cat food


    • 1

      Look around your home and yard, paying close attention to places the cat can hide. Carefully check under porches or decks, in and around shrubs or trees, under cars and in the garage. House cats may become nervous once outside. The unfamiliarity of the outside can turn a usually confident cat into a timid or scared animal. Once the cat leaves the house, it may look for a place to hide close by the house. If you locate the cat near the house, offer it a treat to get it to come to you. Don't expect to reach over and pick up a cat that is scared. The cat may run farther from you or even leave the yard. Talk softly while extending the treat and saying the cat's name.

    • 2

      Scour the neighborhood while calling the cat's name. If the cat is up a tree, in a ditch or hiding in bushes, it may respond when it hears your voice, but will probably not come running to you because it is scared of its surroundings. If you hear your cat meowing, follow the sound, but don't move fast. Slow down and walk gently towards the sound while repeating the cat's name. Carry your cat's favorite treat in your hand and once you've spotted your cat, use the treat to help lure your pet toward you.

    • 3

      Place a bowl of milk and soft cat food outside on a patio or deck where you can easily keep an eye on it from indoors, after you have looked around outside without finding your cat. The chances of the cat running far away are slim if the cat has always been a house cat and is not accustomed to going outside. Sooner or later your cat is going to come home to eat and sleep. Even a scared cat has to eat. When the cat comes home to eat, you can pet it and bring it in the house after it has eaten some food, which is the cat's reward for coming home.

    • 4

      Ask around the neighborhood if the cat doesn't return within 24 hours. House cats that are scared and lost may slip into a garage or shed to hide. If the garage or shed is shut the door after the cat has gotten in, it will be trapped and unable to return home. Some neighbors may have sheds, bath houses or even outside cellar doors that are left open during the day. Don't be afraid to ask everyone to check their outbuildings for your cat.

    • 5

      Post flyers in the neighborhood displaying a picture of your cat and your telephone number. Telephone and light poles are good places to place flyers, but before you do, check with the city to confirm that you can do this. Neighborhood stores or other nearby businesses are ideal places to post a flyer, but first ask the owner for permission.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cats will cross busy streets, so always check areas across the street from your house.
  • If you can't find the cat after 48 hours, call the local animal shelter to report the cat missing.
  • If there are fecal cats in the neighborhood, follow one of these cats to see where the cats hide out during the day.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

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