Last week, my best friend of 2 years went missing. She is a 6 year old, indoor apartment cat named Mya who has been the most affectionate, sweet presence in my space since I brought her home! It all happened so fast – she was in a tote bag getting some fresh air on a tour around the block for about 10 minutes before she was spooked, and jumped out and away from sight.
Since then, I have not been able to rest. Whenever possible, I am on the lookout for her – both online and offline. Mya turned me from a cat-disliker to a cat-lover pretty quickly when we first met. She is the kind of companion to wait for me on the bathroom floor while I shower, to always snuggle right beside me on the couch, and to wake me up in the morning to more nuzzles! Not to mention, the comedic relief she offered me throughout COVID-19 self-quarantine became essential to my well-being. Saying I miss her is an understatement.
Given this, I know it is not exactly on-brand for me to be creating this post on Fourth Floor Flora, but I want to help whoever this applies to. Since I live in Parkdale, Toronto, this info will be most beneficial to those within my neighbourhood.
For anyone going through something like this, I want to provide some clarity among the panic. I know you will be overwhelmed with all sorts of tips that come in waves, and a desire to know you are doing everything you can, so here is a one-stop-shop for your first week of havoc.
- Search the area immediately. Ask neighbours if you or they can search under porches, in sheds and garages, in bushes, in construction sites (after working hours), up trees, in drain ditches, under parked cars, and any other possible hiding spots. Ask friends to join your search as extra eyes always help.
- Scatter his/her litter around the block to give them a sense of “territory”. If you have access to ground level, keep their litter box outside as they can likely smell it. Keep your worn clothing or their favourite items (ex. gym bags, towels) outside to attract them.
- 311 and complete a lost animal report.
- If he or she was microchipped, call the agency which did so and report your cat as missing.
4. Post Online:
- Create a Kijiji post with as many photos as possible under Pets/Lost & Found.
- Create a Craigslist post under Pets/Lost & Found.
- On Facebook.
- On the following applications:
- Nextdoor Neighbourhood
5. Keep open tabs of the following pages, refreshing often:
6. Post Offline:
Create a poster with a title in at least 65-pt font, and at least 21-pt for description & contact. Include 2 clear, large photos of your cat, and print in colour if your cat is not exclusively black and/or white. It is not recommended to include a reward offer a this attracts the wrong type of attention and scammers.
Print at least 250 copies (this will save valuable time if you don’t find your cat right away). Buy plastic sleeves from the dollar store in order to shield your posters from weather. Bring along a stapler and clear packing tape, post 2 posters per intersection within a 2 km radius. The sooner, the better, so definitely ask friends and family for help!
7. Stay hopeful. The odds of finding your cat actually increase as time passes. Maintain a calm demeanour when looking for your cat as they can sense stress and will stay away from it!
Wishing you the best of luck!!!
24 distress-filled days after going missing, Mya was found. I would have to credit my incredibly helpful neighbourhood and my own vigilance of postering for the return of my little friend. I put up and distributed over 400 posters over a 3-week period, and in the end Mya was found by someone who recognized her from the posters. She was just around the corner, locked inside a gated porch! We are both feeling incredible blessed to be reunited.