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.
Full guidelines and check sheets can be found at www.petsonthenet.co.nz who also provide a free lost and found service where you can advertise your pet, or see if someone has listed it as found.
The League will hold details of you and your cat in our registers until we are advised that the animal has been located. The registers are reviewed regularly and we will contact you if a similar cat has been found - however remote the possibility that this is your cat.
We have been successful in reuniting cats who have been found at opposite sides of the city and in the unlikeliest places, even after extended periods.
We want to help and it gives us great pleasure to see a cat returned to its owners.
What do you do? The following section provide the basic suggestions.
As soon as you think your cat has gone missing:
- Search your house and garden - your cat can get into the smallest places and be shut in.
- If you have had any work done at your house, can 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 and the house and gardens of your neighbours. Shaking a cat biscuit box or bag of treats can attract a cat's attention if they are hiding.
- This can be a good opportunity to meet your neighbours. 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 neighbour 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 Cats' Protection League 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 hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday and the phone number is 03 376 6094.
- Ring, and visit if necessary, the SPCA to check if your cat has been surrendered to them. Please note that the SPCA advertise found cats on www.petsonthenet.co.nz.
- Check the free websites for lost and found cats and place an advert including a photo; www.petsonthenet.co.nz
- Update a photo and information to the facebook page 'Lost Cats Christchurch'.
- If your pet is microchipped, contact the NZ Companion Animal Register and ask them to "flag" your pet as lost. They can be contacted on 0800 LOSTPET (0800 567 837).
An unpleasant job but one that must be done, is to ring the council to see if a cat matching yours has been collected off the road. Ring the Christchurch City Council on (03) 941 8999.
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 street behind your property as cats are just as likely to wander this way as well.
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!
If you have found a cat, there are similar things that you should do:
- Ask your neighbours if they have lost a cat,
- Download a paper collar to put around the cats neck to check if it has an owner; http://www.spcacanterbury.org.nz/animal-care/stray-cat-advice/
- Ring the Cats' Protection League on (03) 376 6094 and the SPCA on (03) 349 7057 to report that you have found a cat,
- Take the cat your local vet or the RSPCA to have the cat scanned for a microchip,
- Check and advertise on the free websites www.petsonthenet.co.nz and www.trademe.co.nz,
- Advertise in the local papers - found advertisements are free in The Press, The Star and the Buy, Sell & Exchange.
If the cat is still around after a few days or it is obviously hungry, please feed and look after it while you are looking for its owner. If the owner cannot be located you may decide to keep it or request that we or SPCA take it in when there is room.
Some food can be provided for you to give to the cat during this period. Please ring the office on (03) 376 6094 to arrange this.