Recently, I ran across some really sad cases of guardians who lost their feline companions and did not know what steps to take to recover them. Here are some basic guidelines that were originally published in my book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You. These steps should also work for most other types of animal companions.
The following are the basic rules:
- No matter what your commitments may be at work, they can wait. The material world isn’t as important as your cat’s life. Recruit relatives to look after the kids. Tear up your dance card, postpone your wedding. Take emergency leave. Do whatever it takes to free yourself up.
- Beg, borrow, steal, or charge an answering machine so that the number you are about to plaster up everywhere is always answered.
No matter who else you are expecting to hear from, no one is more important than the person who has found your cat or has a lead to his whereabouts. Record a new phone message along these lines: “Please, don’t hang up if you have information about my missing cat. I must speak to you. If you can leave your name and number, please do so, twice, speaking very clearly, at the sound of the tone. If you do not have a number, this phone should be answered by a live person between x and y today, or you can reach (someone else you absolutely trust) at (another number you are absolutely sure of). Your call is vital to me. If I do not call you back, it means your number didn’t record clearly. Please let me talk to you. Thank you.”
- Find out which humane societies and animal control agencies exist in your area. Don’t assume there are only one or two. Ask each place you call, “Where else should I check?” then ask again and ask every time you call. Different people give you different leads. Check yellow pages; ask veterinary hospital receptionists; call pet shops; and ask the sheriff’s office dispatch clerk.