Lessons Learned From Losing My Pet
And How To Find A Missing Cat.
“Why me?”. That was the first thing that ran through my head when we confirmed that we lost Cinga.
My 30th birthday gift, daily faithful companion when É’s at work, pride and joy; left me – broken. I love her with all my heart. We feed her the best food we can buy. Treat her like an actual family member more than a pet.
So why did she leave us? She’s all I have in Cingapore and the universe has to take that away from me?! Everything happens for a reason but no reason would appeal in this case.
According to É, he has never seen me so sad. In my eyes, I don’t think I’ve seen him as sad either. The thought of Cinga leaving us forever, being killed by a lorry, stolen by some assh*le, getting cat AIDS, lost and starving in a drain, or watching her food bowl untouched; breaks my heart into a million pieces I can almost hear it.
The weird thing is that we found her in 24 hours. Between 3 a.m. to 8 a.m on 4th July, Cinga jumped onto our balcony railing, did a proud catwalk towards our neighbour’s balcony, smuggled into her house uninvited, hid under her bed silently like a creep, peed on her carpet, and only started meowing when she came home from partying around 4 a.m. the next morning.
When we first knocked on her door, she couldn’t care less to look at us. Gaming on her phone with a half-opened door, she turned us away and said there is no such thing.
At 4.24 a.m., É and I woke up startled because our door bell was ringing mad. “Your CAT – Get her out of my house now!”
I rushed into her room and cried profusely to see Cinga; scared, purring, confused, definitely starving too, in an otherwise girly, air-conditioned master bedroom.
What an idiot.
After all the tears, countless rounds of search efforts, pleads to disgraceful condo managements – she was just next door.
Yet not so slowly, came a stronger appreciation for each other as animal and hoomans, new lessons in dealing with what it tastes like to lose a life we love, sealed with an even tighter bond between É and myself; as we see the kind of persons we are when facing one of the saddest possible situations as a family, how well we handle it, and how strong we can be together.
A pet enriches one’s life in ways you can not imagine – until you are a pet owner yourself.
Losing a cat or pet can be extremely stressful. Here are 10 things you can do to find your missing cat.
P.S. Although not all of them contributed to our success, it certainly taught us the necessary procedures and to gauge how much the community can do if she ever escapes again. Generally speaking, you can apply these rules to domestic cats that got lost outdoors. However, this is written based on my experience losing a cat in Cingapore, so some parts might also slightly differ in other countries.
1. Act FAST.
The sooner you take action, the higher your chances in finding it. I don’t mean skip showers and meals, but HURRY.
2. Think like
a your cat.
Try to calm down and breathe. You know your cat better than anyone else. Imagine: where would you go if you were him / her? Stand where it might have left and plan out all possible routes. If you take action A.S.A.P., your domestic cat most likely shouldn’t be more than 5 houses away.
3. Search thoroughly.
Whether it is day or night, use a torchlight. Search dark areas like thick bushes, dirty drains or even above trees. If you were as small, afraid and great at hiding, where would you think are the best places to hide?
Bring her favourite toys that make noise or (for our case) a laser light. It helps to have someone with you too – I wouldn’t manage to be as calm nor efficient if É didn’t take emergency leave to hunt for our missing furry family member.
When searching, call out your cat’s name and use its toy as a bait for it to come out and play.
4. Make a poster.
Use minimal time to make a simple poster with an eye-catching headline using big bold words like ‘LOST’ or ‘MISSING CAT!’.
I prefer keeping it straight to the point; listing out obvious psychical traits rather than personality in bullets, as a cat might behave differently when it is afraid.
Use a photo that best represents it because in other’s eyes, all cats might look more or less the same.
Stick ’em posters around the neighbourhood and get the news out the best you can.
5. Report to all standard organizations.
After the first thorough search, take a break to make the necessary reports. In order:
Call and email photo to:
- Your nearest police station.
Websites and social media:
6. Inform your friends.
I am lucky to have a group of kind, supportive friends here in Cingapore who helped me share the news; which got their friends sharing it too. This is very helpful if they live within your radius as if it had been days, your cat might have roamed further than 5 blocks. The more eyes there are to help, the higher your chances in finding it back.
My friends also shared with me stories of how they found their missing pets. Though the pessimist that I am doubted if I could be as lucky, they gave me the much needed hope to not give up searching and have faith that Cinga will return.
7. Repeat #3 – day and NIGHT.
If your many attempts fail during the day, all hope is not gone yet. Cats are night animals and prefer to move around when it’s dark and quiet.
I read an article somewhere that suggests closing your eyes, thinking of your cat and trying to connect with it, before calling out its name softly throughout your search. This might sound silly but when it feels like all hope is gone, it is the next best thing you can do to praying.
If you still can’t find your cat in 24 hours . . .
8. Don’t silence your phone at night.
Someone e.g. the security guard might see your cat and wouldn’t mind calling you but mind keeping it for you in the meanwhile, so you don’t want to miss that window frame.
9. Make your rounds to see if the posters are still up, every now and then.
Almost every article or organization aiming to help you find your missing pet will suggest you #4, the poster. YET in Singapore, we were constantly challenged by our own neighbourhood to find our lost pet. The most ridiculous part being our own condo, which refused to let us stick a single poster at the property, including the bulletin board!
If we lost our domestic cat within the condo we live in, which means she is most probably still within, how are our neighbours supposed to know or help us if we can’t spread the news – at our own condo?!
Another heartbreaking example is when a restaurant employee 200 metres down the road gave us his empathy, but soon enough our poster was torn away.
10. Call and keep checking back.
Call SPCA and AVA to check if there’re any news about your pet. This is also advised by the boards; reason being they have more than just one employee – sometimes they might miss it. Now you don’t want that; or it might be too late if your pet is put to sleep!
‘Child’proof your home.
I understand now why pets are known as furry ‘kids’. These creatures, especially kittens or cats, are like children – curious, playful and silly. What are the safety measures you’d take to protect your child from running out to the streets alone? As a person who practices the preaching ‘prevention is better than cure’, I’d gladly take up the role of playing the ‘paranoid mother’. We are looking into installing spiky fences at our balcony or buying huge cacti.
Use a GPS tracker.
This is especially important if you do take your cats out to do some cat-xercise. In case the harness is not tight enough or for whatever unlucky possibilities you can’t think of right now, this way you can still have a ‘Find Your iCat’ function to get back your furry best friend. You may want to check out this beautiful shiny piece or this tiny but highly accurate tracker.
Have your cat microchipped.
This is very important because:
- anyone who found your pet can easily return it to you as the microchip number will be registered under your name and details
- anyone who stole your pet and took it to the vet will have a problem whenever they are asked to verify the previous owner’s name
Cinga is safe, happy and more loving than ever these days; rubbing herself and meowing all over our legs whenever we come home. I notice that she also chooses to stay next to me; always within reach. She does have
nightmares napmares sometimes; waking up needing to find me, which I hate to say I love how it is my turn to get the attention.
Did she learn her lesson? Yes. Will it stick? Nah, I don’t think so.
I pray that all pet owners get reunited with their missing cats / dogs sooner or later. Sending much love to everyone who went through or is going through a hard time finding their furry buddies . . . the very best of luck and may you receive all the support you need. <3