One of the worst nightmares for a cat owner is answering one important question, “Where is my cat?” Your beloved indoor cat sneaks out and doesn’t come back in the evening, or if you have an outdoor cat, it’s been over 48 hours since you last saw her.
You check around your home, ask the neighbours, and even put up missing cat posters. After days, or even weeks of searching for your missing cat, you find her or perhaps you see her slowly appear from around the corner and come towards your direction.
What should you do when your missing cat returns home? Well, the most important things to do is to ensure she’s in the best of health, both physically and mentally, and ensure she never goes missing again.
Keep in mind that it will take time for your cat to recover, depending on how long she was away and the state she came back in. But with love, care, and patience, she will be fine in no time.
The disappearance of a pet is a situation none of us wants to imagine, let alone experience. But the truth is cats get lost every day. Indoor cats, for instance, may escape to have some freedom and will likely get lost since they are unfamiliar with their new surroundings.
If your outdoor cat disappears, chances are something happened that interrupted their regular behaviour of coming home. Either way, your British Shorthair faces many risks with each passing moment that she’s away from home.
The return of a lost cat is worth celebrating. After that, comes the hardest part: helping her recover and ensuring she doesn’t get lost again. Fortunately, I have the answers you are looking for. Let’s get right into it.
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Steps To Take When Your Missing Cat Returns Home
Feed her moderately
Your first instinct upon reuniting with your lost cat is to spoil her with her favourite food and give her all the treats she wants. But remember to take it slow. Chances are your cat was starving while she was wandering the streets. She may be tempted to eat a lot of food, which could cause a lot of health issues and even result in liver damage.
Even water should be given in moderation. Feed her a small portion of her regular food within the first 24 hours and monitor how she reacts. Ideally, the food should be high in proteins, grain-free, and wet.
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Give her a quick bath
This will help get rid of any unnecessary things that may be lurking in her furs like dirt and fleas while leaving her feeling fresh. If she’s been away for weeks, a full grooming session may be necessary.
See the vet
Cats are so darned adept at hiding their medical issues until they are too advanced. You don’t know what your cat was up to while she was away or what might have befallen her. While you can check for injuries and parasites yourself, she could have a hidden injury/wound or perhaps she picked up an infection that you can’t diagnose. A trip to the vet will tackle any potential health problems.
The vet will perform a thorough physical examination and take faecal and blood samples for analysis. He/she will then give professional advice on the next steps to take to restore your feline friend to full health. This might include treatment options for any diseases/injuries, as well as a diet plan and a feeding schedule that is best for your British Shorthair cat’s condition.
Update collar and ID tags
ID tags are available in all major retail shops and you can have them engraved with your cat’s name, as well as your phone number or address. That way, in case your cat ever gets lost again, she can be traced back to you. You can also get a little tracking device that can be attached to the cat’s collar.
Microchip your cat
This is a very small computer chip that is implanted under your cat’s skin by a vet. Every microchip has a registration number that consists of the owner’s name and contact information. A microchip is permanent, unlike tags that may fall off or break, and offers definitive proof of ownership. It also has other functionalities that you can take advantage of like the fact that it can open the cat flap when your cat approaches its door.
Secure your home
Now that your lost cat is back, you’ll need to secure your home to keep her from sneaking away again. For outdoor cats, you might want to consider raising them indoors from here on. Start by installing a cat door –this will help keep her safely contained. Be sure to keep the doors and windows closed. If your pet loves the outdoors, you can install a cat sanctuary or a catio. And, if you have outdoor space like a garden, ensure it is safely secured.
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De-sex your cat
Unspayed or unneutered cats will likely roam around the neighbourhood searching for a mate and get lost in the process. De-sexing your cat is one way to prevent roaming; plus, it offers a number of health and behavioural benefits.
Changes in Cats after Being Lost
If your cat was away from home for some time, its physical appearance is likely to change. Depending on where your cat got lost and the conditions, she could get bigger if her hunting skills are good. A timid cat, on the other hand, is likely to have lost weight with its fur looking thinner, patchy, and somewhat different in colour. Cold weather conditions will make your British shorthair cat’s fur much thicker than usual, not to mention, frostbite ears are a possibility
It’s not just the physical changes that you have to watch out for. Your cat will likely behave differently after a long adventure outside. Your cat’s personality will change depending on how long she was lost and what happened to her. Most are usually more mellow and affectionate when they return. But if she’s become more aggressive, never punish her for angry outbursts since she could just be stressed and frightened. It may also take longer for your cat to rest before she can get the energy to go back to her normal cheerful and playful self.
The change in behaviour could be temporary or permanent. The most important thing is to be patient with your cat and give her as much time as possible to adjust.
Reintroducing Your Cat to the Household
One of the biggest concerns for owners whose cats have gone missing for a longer period is whether or not their pet will recognize them. Don’t worry, she will. Cats have a keen sense of smell and usually recognise their owners through this. She will also recognise your voice.
If your British Shorthair has been missing for a while, both of you will need time to readjust. She might be a little disoriented or shaken upon her return; therefore, it’s best to give her some time alone away from other members of the household. Put her in a safe, comfortable, and quiet place for a few days and before you know it, she will be back to her usual self. Once she’s well-rested, you’ll need to gradually introduce her to the rest of the family as you would a new cat. This means reintroducing her to other pets as well.
The most important thing is to give your cat time to adjust. Be sure to provide all the necessities, including food and affection. If there’s a specific reason that pushed your cat to escape, ensure that issue is addressed. Making your cat feel safe, loved, and well cared for is the most important antidote to prevent her from escaping. And if you have an outdoor cat, it’s about time you trained them to return.