How to Find and Handle a Frightened Cat

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Tips For Finding a Scared Cat

There is a variety of reasons a cat might be frightened or scared. When a cat is frightened, it makes the task of finding them in an emergency very difficult. For example, maybe your cat got out accidentally or is hiding while you have guests. It could be that you had a house fire and need to get your cat out of the house immediately, but alarms are going off and scaring him or her. Trying to handle an upset animal can be upsetting for you both, so below are some tips for finding and handling a frightened cat.

How to Find a Frightened Cat That Is Outside

It can seem impossible to find a scared kitty who has escaped to the wide world outside, but keep these things in mind:

  • Look close by. Unlike dogs that can run for miles, cats generally stick in the same area where they were lost. Look carefully in a small radius around your home (typically 2 to 4 buildings away from yours).
  • Look in and under shrubs and brush that has grown up as well as under porches and parked cars and in open garages. It helps to take a flashlight on your search.
  • Don’t expect your cat to come when called; many cats won’t because they are too scared. When you call them, speak calmly and gently and don’t yell.
  • Talk to your neighbors and make sure they know your cat is missing. Show then a photo of your cat and let them know that he got out. Give them your contact information in case they see your kitty, especially if he or she does not have a collar or microchip.
  • When you finally find your cat, gently and cautiously pick him or her up. Ideally, you will want to have a towel and place your cat in a secure carrier. Another option is to gently scruff your cat (picking your cat up by the loose skin at the back of the neck, similar to a mother cat) or scoop them up in a towel if necessary. Bear in mind that towels are not as ideal because cats can get free if something else scares them.
  • Once you get your cat home, do a physical examination. Take your cat in a small room such as the bathroom and carefully and gently unwrap them if necessary. Make sure there are no wounds, bleeding, lameness, or other medical issues. Offer them some food or water, and make sure they behave normally.
  • If you see any problems, see your veterinarian.

How to Find a Frightened Cat Inside Your Home

Common questions cat lovers ask is “Where can I find my hiding cat?” and “Is it best to put them in their cat carriers or find a blanket or anything that is quicker?”

Reaction time matters in an emergency, so it helps to be prepared. Many cat lovers keep carriers or a stack of pillowcases (for multicat households) by the door. Carriers are preferred but take up a lot of room, so some cat parents prefer a pillowcase or carriers that are soft and collapsible for easier storage.

Here’s how to find a frightened cat who’s inside:

  • You can try “calling” your cat, but they often won’t come if they are scared and there is a lot going on (such as sounds or people) in the environment.
  • To find your scared cat in the house, think about where your cat or cats hide when they are upset. What do they do if something breaks, repairmen come into the house, fireworks go off, or another event your cat deems “scary” happens? Look there. The most common places for cats to hide are in closets, under beds, in basements, and in laundry rooms. Under and behind large objects are favorite spots too. Cats seem to go to the farthest point from scary sounds, so keep that in mind.
  • Keep some flashlights around, including stashing mini flashlights in a few rooms at different places in your home or apartment. If an emergency happens, you will have light to look under beds, behind furniture, in closets, etc.
  • If possible, place your cat in a secure carrier once you find them.
  • The same advice holds true for “scruffing” and wrapping your cat in a towel. Be sure to hold them gently but securely.
  • Entice your cat with a favorite food or treat; some may come out of hiding spot with the promise of a snack. Shaking the treat bag or rattling the container may also help you locate them if they are normally motivated by food.

I hope these tips have helped you find your lost and scared cat.

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