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Lost a Cat? Found a Cat?

Weather you have found a cat or have one who is missing, it can be difficult to know exactly what steps to take.  At CPL we know this is often a stressful time so we have some good advice and suggestions to follow below, to make things slightly easier for both humans and felines.

Thomas was found and reunited with his humans after 4 years because he was microchipped
  • Try to stay as calm as possible – although this is easier said than done!  Cats are very good at picking up on our emotions and it is hard to think rationally in times of great stress.
  • Don’t just “wait and see”.  Experience shows that there is a greater chance of success when you put your best effort in during the very early hours and days, rather than taking a “wait and see” approach.
  • Microchip “Flag” your cat as missing.  If your cat is microchipped, check your details on the microchip record are correct and current – especially any phone numbers.  You can also “flag” your cat as missing so that if anyone scans your cat and checks its details the fact that it is currently missing will show up.  (Useful in case the person who finds your cat and takes it to a vet to scan for a chip, lives nearby and assumes your cat just wanders).  You can contact the microchip registry on: 
    0508 LOSTPET (0508 567 873).
  • Search your house and garden – sounds obvious, but your cat can get into the smallest places and be shut in.  Garden sheds, under decks or houses, in bushes, kitchen cupboards, hot water cylinder cupboards, under beds – cats have even been known to slice open the underside of couches and make a private hide-a-way for themselves.
  • Help your cat smell its way home.  If your cat is new to the area, leave some of its unwashed bedding outside on the clothesline.  Do not however put its litter box or used litter outside – as this can attract dominant cats in the neighborhood which could scare your cat away.
  • Leave food and water outside if the cat has been missing for more than a couple of days, or if your cat is shy.
  • Have there been “Tradies” around?  If there have been any trades people at your house (or a neighbors), could the cat have been enclosed in a wall or similar?  Could it have got into the workman’s vehicle and been driven away?
  • Check the roads near your house including anywhere a road injured cat could have hidden (roadside gardens, bushes).  This is a depressing thing to consider but you need to rule out road accidents.  You can also check with the Council that haven’t collected a body from your road.  Phone Christchurch City Council on (03) 941 8999.
  • This can be a good opportunity to meet your neighbors.  Take a colour photograph of the cat with you and ask them to have a look around.  Many cats get shut inside sheds etc as the neighbor is unaware a cat has gone in to investigate.
  • Ring your local vets and the After Hours Vet – if your cat has been hit by a car, it may have been injured and driven to them for treatment.
  • Ring or Email our Office and provide full details of your pet, including any distinguishing features, when and where it was last seen and your own contact details. We will check our registers to see whether there is a potential match and record your details.  Our Office hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday and the phone number is 03 376 6094 (option 2).
  • Ring the SPCA to check if your cat has been surrendered to them.  Please note that the SPCA advertise found cats on Lostpet NZ
  • Check the free websites for lost and found cats and place an advert including a photo;
    Lostpet NZ
    Lost Cats Christchurch Facebook group
  • Prepare flyers, preferably with a photo, giving full details of your pet, any distinguishing features, when it was last seen, your contact details and asking that they check their property.  Distribute the flyers around your immediate area and include the streets directly around your property.  Flyers can also be put up at local dairies, supermarkets, schools and on lamp posts.
  • Check the lost and found columns in the local newspapers and place a lost notice with them.  The contact numbers are; 
    The Press and Christchurch Mail (03) 377 8778
    The Star and Community News (03) 379 7100
    Buy, Sell & Exchange (03) 341 3888

Keep checking these avenues regularly and keep looking and calling, don’t give up!  We have seen cats found after years of being missing!

If you have found a cat, or if a cat has found you – there are a few things you can do to see if the cat belongs to someone.

  • Ask your neighbours if they have lost a cat or adopted a new one that you don’t know about.
  • Print out a paper collar from here and put it on the cat to see if it belongs to someone nearby.  It may just be a new cat in your neighborhood!
  • Report the cat as found.  Ring us (03) 376 6094 (option 2) and the SPCA on (03) 349 7057 to report that you have found a cat.  Someone may be looking for it.
  • Check for a microchip.  Take the cat to your local vet, us or the SPCA to have the cat scanned for a microchip.
  • Check the free websites for lost and place a found advert including a photo;
    Lostpet NZ
    Lost Cats Christchurch Facebook group
  • Advertise in the local papers – found advertisements are free in The Press, The Star and the Buy, Sell & Exchange.  The contact numbers are; 
    The Press and Christchurch Mail (03) 377 8778
    The Star and Community News (03) 379 7100
    Buy, Sell & Exchange (03) 341 3888
  • Does the cat look hungry?  If the cat is still around after a few days or it is obviously hungry, please feed, provide water and look after it while you are looking for its owner.  Some food can be provided for you to give to the cat during this period.  Please ring our office on (03) 376 6094 to arrange this.
  • If the owner cannot be located you may decide to keep the cat or request that we or the SPCA take it in when there is room.

    If you choose us please ring us (03 376 6094 option 2) as soon as possible to place your cat on the wait-list.  We will advise you on the approximate time it will take before we can begin the re-homing process with your cat.  Please ring our office before bringing any cat in to us as we may not have room for it at that moment in time.  Thank you for your patience.

Cats Protection League Canterbury