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Missing Cats Day

- Posted by in Pet Discussion
Missing Cats Day

Having a cat go missing can be devastating, especially as they are often so much harder to trace than dogs and livestock.

In the UK, it is generally accepted that cats have a ‘right to roam’ as the laws governing the control of dogs and livestock by their owners do not apply to cats. This means they are free to come and go as they please, stray into other people’s homes and gardens as the mood takes them, and venture into extraordinary places they would be unlikely to be found.

Being natural roamers, it is fairly common for cats to disappear for days on end. But days can soon turn into weeks, and even months, with no sign of your dearly loved cat. Maybe they have strayed too far and become lost, are trapped somewhere they can’t escape from, or have simply re-located to a new home and family.

In the latter case, where do we stand in the eyes of the law when it comes to re-claiming our kitty? What can we do if a new family ‘adopts’ our cat without asking?

Cats are regarded as their owner’s ‘property’ in law, which means that their theft will be covered by the 1968 Theft Act and treated the same as if they were an object being stolen.

Therefore, if a neighbour or stranger takes in your cat without your permission, theoretically this is theft of property, although the police tend to view it as a civil matter which makes prosecution difficult.

It all comes down to who owns the cat and, unfortunately, proving ownership is very difficult. Having your pet microchipped will help, but it doesn’t count as definitive proof in an ownership dispute. If you have a cat that frequently roams outside, microchipping is invaluable as very often it is the only way a missing or stolen cat can be traced back to you.

Tip: Remember to update your microchip as and when you move (, and get your vet to check it at your next visit to make sure the chip is still there and is still working.

Sometimes a change in circumstances will cause your cat to re-locate, such as a new baby or pet, building work or even a change of address. These sorts of scenarios can cause undue stress to cats who then flee the scene and find somewhere more favourable to live.

A calming product like Feliway can help your cat adjust to the new situation by creating a supportive environment through the release of synthetic pheromones. These ‘happy markers’ are naturally left by cats when they feel safe and content at home, so Feliway works to replicate this mood and provide the same calming effect.

Equally, your cat may be being fed elsewhere, which is often motivation enough for it to re-locate. You can buy collars that read ‘Please do not feed me’ which may go some way in deterring people from offering your cat a tasty morsel.

Those who own particularly rare or expensive cats tend to keep them inside for their protection, as these are prime targets for opportunistic pet thieves. Breeds such as Maine Coons and Russian Blues can be stolen to order and change hands for a lot of money.

Ownership disputes can also arise when a relationship breaks down, so make sure you are both fully aware of who is going to ‘own’ the cat before buying/adopting it and, if possible, get something in writing. A microchip is not always enough to settle a dispute.

Lastly, one of the best ways to prevent your cat from straying too far is to have it fixed. This will remove its desperate drive to find a mate, which should therefore keep it closer to home and make it less likely to roam into other people’s gardens and homes where other cats reside.

If you have any comments on this topic, or experiences you would like to share, please post them here or email me directly: [email protected]

Written by: Hannah Dyball


23rd Mar 2018
Customer Since: January 2012
From: Middlesex, United Kingdom

I have been very lucky and none of my cats have strayed. I have a male feline lodger who has lived with me for almost six years. My cats don't particularly like him, but he really dosn't mind that. His owner visits him practically daily, so everyone is happy!!!

23rd Mar 2018

I lost my beloved Freddy nearly two years ago now. And not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, or live in the hope that one day we will be reunited. I moved home, kept him in for two weeks and three day, but then he escaped from a kitchen window. That was the last time I see him. I have made many calls to different charities and vets. I put posters and flyers up all around my area, to no avail. I hope he has found a new home, and is laying on some old ladies lap somewhere, in front of a crackling open fire. My Freddy had been chipped. And he had a collar and tag. I just want to know he is ok. I’d be blessed if he had found a new home. As long as he was ok. Miss my boy.

24th Mar 2018

I would also highly recommend the use of a gps tracker, for cats that consistently roam & go missing. My young ginger male, despite being castrated, took to disappearing for days at a time, causing me hours of anguish & searching. I invested in a Weenect tracker & now I can always locate him. From the tracker I discovered he could travel up to 5kms in a surprisingly short time & would end up a very long way from home. Now I can see where he is & go & find him, if needed. Excellent!

24th Mar 2018

Hi everyone. Having been brought up since a very young child with both dogs and cats, I know the importance of having your beloved pets spayed or neutered. I have supported Hollyhedge Sanctuary for many years and watched as the kitten season approaches and they are overwhelmed with pregnant cats. Unfortunately now good homes are not in abundance and they end up staying in the cattery for many months.
We have to be responsible and make sure that our pets do not reproduce. The irresponsible people on this earth that will never learn will more than enable people to have a pet without having your own pets reproduce. PLEASE PLEASE have your animals doctored and do not add to the many homeless little waifs and strays that are already out there looking for a good warm and loving home.

Thank you

24th Mar 2018
Customer Since: August 2016
From: Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

My daughters cat Max, during his 14 years has gone off several times during his life time. He was missing for 8 months once but was finally traced, living with an elderly eccentric lady. He was returned home but was never really content because of my daughters noisy children. She moved again 3 years ago to near where I live, and, during those 3 years had gone off but returned after a couple of days, however he went off again about 9 weeks ago, and although he appeared in her garden a couple of times during this time we have not seen him since. My daughter does not have a cat flap and goes to work from 8.15 till around 4.30, so even if he did come back there was no way he could get in anyway bless him. I posted a comment on our village Facebook page asking for information about him and saying if you or anybody you know has taken in a long haired black cat with in the last 8 weeks please can you let me know, I don’t mind, all I care about is that he was indoors warm and safe and not shivering under a car or bush during the beast from the east when we had that bitterly cold freezing weather. I said we won’t take him away from you if he has settled with you, we just want to know he is loved, warm and safe. I had a response and he has decided himself that he is happier and settled in the new home. I visited him and he is very settled with a lady who lives on her own so very quiet and peaceful which is what he was craving. She said we can visit him any time we want to. This to my mind is the best thing that could have happened to him. He can now live out his twilight years in peace, AND she has a cat flap so he can come and go as he pleases. I miss him very much, more so than my daughter and I will always love him. Have a happy life Max.

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