LOST CAT KIT: prep for July 4th fireworks (cat specific advice)

As a professional pet detective and lost cat finder, I’ve seen the results cats escaping during the chaos of holidays and July 4thfireworks. The owners are often in a panic over situation that could have been avoided or planned for in case of emergency.

Here are my Top 10 precautions to take BEFORE it comes down to an emergency. First, make sure your cat is micro-chipped AND wearing a collar, preferably orange as it is the most visible color to the human eye. 

Below are additional preparations you can make in case your cat ever gets out or ends up missing.

Lost Cat Kit Coaching Plan
















HAVE THE SEARCH ZONE READY
If you have an indoor- only cat, be ready with a map of where to search. Since cats hide in fear, they are usually within a 500-foot radius. Use Google maps to outline your home and search circle so you're ready and focused if they get out.


SAFE TRANSPORT
This sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how many pet owners put their cats at risk. A cat inside a car can escape when involved in a traffic accident, or jump out prematurely when a door is opened (see the case of this cat slipping out at gas station at night). Cat carriers have been known to break open during traffic accidents, in vet parking lots, and on conveyor belts at airports. No matter how crabby your cat becomes with confinement, make sure you transport him/her in a secure carrier.

HAVE PHOTOS READY
Keep a recent photo of your cat on hand showing their face and body markings in case you need it for a lost cat flyer or missing cat poster. The ideal picture for a lost cat poster is a side view, sitting or standing, looking at the camera: essentially, in a position strangers would see them out in the world.


PREPARE A LOST CAT KIT
Store photos, microchip number and a mock-up lost cat flyer where they’re easy to access. Should you ever need them, this kit will save you precious time and stress. The best preparation is to the ebook and on-demand video, How to Find a Lost Cat” so you can swing into action immediately with the appropriate steps for your situation. Also key is avoiding the common mistakes of putting out food or cat litter. You can order a full lost cat search kit plus strategy coaching at my website www.LostCatFinder.com where anyone in the world can get professional lost cat advice.
GPS cat trackers are only one option











GPS TRACKING COLLARS
It seems like GPS on a collar would be good for those adventurous cats who like to roam, but so far, they are still bulky and easily foiled. There are several devices on the market including the unwieldy Whistle, but based on my clients’ lost cats, I’ve found that RF technology works the best in terms of finding a cat’s exact location. GPS only works under open sky, and cats are often under things where satellite cannot reach.



ID & MICROCHIP
Even if you never let your cat out, you never know when an emergency will happen and your cat is lost. A visitor may leave the door open, cat carriers can break, a visitor could leave a window open or a burglar could break into your home, leaving the door open for your cat to escape outside. Paramedics could have to go to your or a relative’s home, and leave the door open during an emergency procedure.
We’ve even seen pets ejected from cars in traffic accidents. Most people never think these events are all unlikely. But even indoor-only cats should wear a collar, tag and microchip because if they escape outside, they’re at risk of ultimately ending up in an animal shelter long after you have stopped searching.

Use a breakaway collar or a stretchy cat collar with Velcro that a cat can back out of if it becomes snagged.
Micro-chipping is equivalent to implanting a serial number in your pet as a means to return property to their rightful owner. Microchips are not GPS trackers they are for Identification, detectable with a microchip scanner used by shelters, veterinarians, and rescue groups. Make sure your cat is micro-chipped and especially make sure that chip is registered to YOU at your CURRENT address and phone number.

PROOF OF OWNERSHIP
Be able to demonstrate proof that you own your cat, as there is no guarantee the person who finds your pet will be willing to give it back to you. You will need to have something to show an officer to prove that this animal belongs to you. The best method to show proof of ownership is to have your pet micro chipped. Check with your local shelter, rescue groups, and veterinarians to have this simple procedure performed (a shot where a microchip the size of a rice grain is implanted under your pet’s skin). If your pet has any special markings, markings inside their mouth, scars, tattoos, etc., photograph these areas and keep these photos in a special location with your cat’s vet records.

KEEP PHOTOS WITH YOUR VET
It is a good idea to keep a set of records and current pet photos with your veterinarian (they can be attached to your pet’s file). This way, your pet’s photo will be available should your home be destroyed (during fire or flood) or if the photos you kept at home get lost or destroyed.











JULY 4th, THANKSGIVING,  AND NEW YEAR’S EVE 
There are the main days of the year when your cat is especially at risk of escaping. Put your cat in a safe room with all creature comforts and lots of places to hide and blankets to drown out noise and keep them feeling safe from the sounds of fireworks parties and strangers.


BE NEIGHBORLY
Make sure your neighbors know you have a cat whether your cat is indoor only or outdoor access. That way, if your cat ever escapes they will know who it belongs to and will be more likely to rescue and return it to you when they see it. Also, being a good neighbor will increase the chances that your neighbors will be your friends when your pet becomes lost. If your cat routinely roams and stalks birds or poops on your neighbor’s property, make sure you have preempted any complaints by asking neighbors to let you know if your cat is a problem for them in any way. Be a responsible cat owner.

SECURE YOUR PROPERTY
Check carefully along perimeter of your fence for spaces or holes that you can fit a hand or fist into. Cats can get through tiny spaces, so add rocks or pack dirt to close them up. You’ll prevent your cat’s potential escape, as well as keep other critters from popping under for a visit. For those who let their cats out into the backyard, be warned; I’ve had many cases of cats who “always stayed in the backyard” yet vanished. Cats can jump five times their height, so unless you have secured the holes AND have a catio or roll-top fence, your cat may unpleasantly surprise you with ninja escape abilities.

Look carefully from a low level: push on all boards to see if any are loose. Humans typically look downward and don’t see what our pets see. Pets have the time and interest to look, poke, and push in their efforts to escape. From their level, they may have found a small hole or loose board you did not see. Remove any items leaning on or next to your fence. Woodpiles, garbage containers, kid toys, boxes, etc. next to a fence are a great springboard for cats to get over any fence, so make sure you are not offering an easy route out.

TRAIN YOUR CAT to come when you call, let you pick him up when outside and to enter a baited humane trap. Humane traps are one of the primary tools to recover an indoor-only cat. If you know that your cat will never be allowed free access out- doors, then teach your cat that humane traps = food and safety.

Order a humane trap (available here) and secure open both ends with a bungee cord. Feed your cat inside the trap every day for a week until he enters and leaves without fear. If your cat should ever escape outdoors, you will increase your chances of recovery as your cat associates traps with food and is not afraid to enter. DO NOT train your cat to enter a trap if you live in an apartment complex in case the manager or a pest company sets up traps to remove feral cats.

COLLECT AND STORE SCENT & DNA
In the event your cat becomes lost and you need an animal trained to track lost pets, you’ll want to have a clean unadulterated sample of your pet’s scent. Save whiskers especially as they have a root attached which can be used to determine DNA. If no whiskers are available, put on a rubber glove, use a sterile gauze pad and wipe your pet’s body – wipe back, tummy, and mouth. Place the gauze pad inside a plastic bag. Write the date and your pet’s name on the outside of the bag. Try to have your cat’s DNA on hand in case it’s needed for making a positive ID. Collect a whisker, toenail clippings, and a few hairs that you have pulled from your pet which include the root. Shed hairs will not do– you need the root (which contains the DNA). Place all of these AND your gauze pad into the bag and place the bag in the back of your freezer. If you have multiple pets, make separate bags for each of them.

BIRD ALERTS
Should your cat ever escape, listen to the birds. They will issue raucous alarm sounds to let others know there is a predator in the area. Even if you just want to know where your outdoor access cat is at the moment, learn to listen to bird language to know when your cat has been spotted by these air spies. Blue jays and mockingbirds are very vocal when they spot a cat and make a specific call you can learn and tune into.

Examples of bird alarms on cats are included in my ebook, How to Find a Lost Cat as well as a chapter on tracking, coyote signs and clue assessment.

This ebook comes with a new "How to Find a Lost Cat" video available on-demand at www.LostcatFinder.com

 
Kim Freeman, “The Cat Detective”



Lost Cat Pet Detective from Austin Texas also available in Atlanta

If you're looking for an Austin Pet Detective for your lost cat, please know I can still help you even though I'm now headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

I do lost cat search and rescue in 46 states and 17 countries, so if you'd like an in-person search or some quick email advice and a strategy, contact me via www.LostCatFinder.com for assistance.

Henry my search cat is still going strong and can be seen in action here finding a cat under a shed: https://youtu.be/L8v2q8aKomQ



Kim Freeman
Cat Detective
www.LostCatFinder.com

Lost cats found in Austin, TX

If you've lost a cat and need hope & inspiration to keep looking, check out these amazing videos of lost cats I've  found despite difficult circumstances:




Lost Cat Pet Detective YouTube channel

Kim Freeman / Lost Cat Recovery
"more cats found = fewer in shelters."

Lost cats found: Happy reunion stories of missing cats found in Austin --and all over the US.

I'd love to show you the hundreds of lost cats I've found over the years here, but it would mean doubling the efforts of my Facebook page! 

So please come see the happy reunion pictures, videos + stories on my "Lost Cat Finder Pet Detective" Facebook page at:

http://www.lostcatfinder.com/lost-cats-found

If you need help, inspiration, tips or guidance finding your lost cat, visit my main website at www.LostCatFinder.com

Here's a preview of what you'll find on the Lost Cat Finder "happy reunions" page:

A few of the many Lost Cat Finder happy reunions!

Cat Behavior Expert

"Why does my cat do that?"
For anyone in need of some expert cat behavior advice, check out Dr Kim Kendall -- one of the world's leading veterinary experts in "Feline Friendly Care (www.felinefriendlycare.com) and behaviour. She also runs in Sydney, Australia, home of Cafe Purrfection, the world's first ethical cat cafe where it's all about the cats, not the coffee (or humans). Check out http://thecatpalace.com.au and www.felinefriendlycare.com

Dr Kendall is now my GO-TO cat lady for when we get a lot cat home and have behavior issues, reacquainting issues and calming down after being lost and starving. Her advice works, plus she has that cool Aussie accent to boot!

Lost Cat Finder: International Pet Detective based in Austin

Hi! Looks like you've landed on my local blog page (which has now been updated to a national website). Also new: a Facebook page where I log my cases and happy Lost Cat reunions. Please come Like and let me know if you need my help.

Kim Freeman, Pet Detective
www.LostCatFinder.com


Lost Cats Found Facebook Pag

Austin Lost Cat Finder Pet Detective interviewed on KEYE morning news

After helping Erica Brennes (the traffic reporter on the local news) find her missing cat Skittles, KEYE contacted me to do a feature  on the morning news.

Here's the "Lost Cat Finder"  interview, held onsite at 6am on a rainy Austin morning. Apparently, I am now dubbed, "the Cat Detective."

Lost Pet Finders - Lost and found cat tips on KXAN "My Pet" Segment


"Help me find my cat!" Yes, that's what I do as a pet finder for lost cats. I'm a pet detective in Texas, based in Austin and offer missing cat tips & coaching to lost cat owners all over the country.