What do you do when you've Lost or Found a Pet? How do you Safely check for news, spread the news, and more?
Well, a friendly white and black female cat, green eyes, about 1 year old*, strolled up to our front stoop to visit our cat Hillary, who was in a cat stroller, earlier this week. Unfortunately, this kitty found near the Merrick-Bellmore border doesn't have a collar and ID tag, so we don't know her name and address.
- *Update 7/25: 'Cat Found in Merrick' is Back with Family! (more info near end of post)
She is very affectionate, so she is, or was, part of a loving family, which she must miss.
Check for News - Spread the News
Sad but Important: If you lose a pet, immediately tell your neighbors, and then contact all the public/town animal shelters in a wide area around you. (For ex, I'd contact all L.I. public shelters, starting with close ones.) Because of serious overcrowding, many shelters do NOT have a No-Kill policy, so time is very important! When we found kitty, one of the first things we did was post "Found Cat" flyers, which include her photo and basic description, in the area. These are FREE ways to spread the news, and check for news - whether it's online posts, flyers, email, or phone calls - about a lost or found pet.:
- Craig's List - Long Island - Lost and Found
- Public Animal Shelters, such as Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter
- Private Animal Shelters
- Veterinarians and Animal Hospitals
- News Bulletin Boards at Community Social and Sports Centers, Places of Worship
- News Boards at Stores that sell Pet Supplies and more
- Websites of your Community and groups you belong to (On my Facebook page, I shared this blog post with photo. North Merrick Community Association posted this on its website news.)
- Online Newspaper in your area might run a free Lost Pet or Found Pet notice (Merrick Patch ran my Found Cat notice with photo)
Your SafetyWhether you've lost or found a pet, protect your safety and guard against scams meant to get your money. If you create a separate email account to use on flyer and online ad, you can avoid posting any personal information. Make an email address that is easy for someone to remember or copy down correctly. Do not agree to pay to have your pet shipped back to you. In fact, if you lost your pet, do NOT send money in any form for any reason. Some Tips from the Petfinder.com section on avoiding would-be scammers:
- Anything that sounds too good to be true, probably is. (Listen to your gut feeling if something seems wrong, no matter how much you want to believe it.)
- Stay local and avoid dealing with anyone who says pet needs to be shipped
- Avoid playing into the cruelty of false lost pet responses. Some mean, dishonest people purposely target the sad, vulnerable owners of lost pets.
- Do not wire funds, do not use cashier's checks, do not use money orders, do not give out any banking or financial information.
Pet ID Tags and moreIt's very important your pet wears a collar with an ID tag and/or has a pet identification tattoo. Pet ID microchips are good extra protection, especially in case a collar with ID tag comes off, but have something visible to the unaided eye also. Kitty wasn't wearing an ID tag, so during her first visit to Merrick Veterinary Group, Dr. Allison Villa carefully ran the microchip scanner up and down her several times. Like 99% of cats, kitty is not microchiped, but it was definitely worth checking.
HealthIf you already have pets in your family, and then find a lost pet, keep them separate until a vet tests for contagious parasites and infectious diseases (and then pet receives medical treatment, if necessary), and finds pet safe to be in contact with other animals. Update: During kitty's second checkup at the Merrick Veterinary Group, Dr. Allison Villa gave her treatment and medicine for a problem, tested and found her negative for FIV, FeLV, de-wormed her, and gave her a Rabies shot update.
Indoor Cat VS Outdoor CatWondering if your cat should be an indoor or outdoor cat? An indoor cat lives about 12 years, and sometimes up to 20, but an outdoor cat lives an average of only 5 years. This information came from Merrick Veterinary Group, the Humane Society of the United States, Cat World, and Catster: Dangers for Outdoor Cats
- Being hit by a car or other vehicle on street or in parking lot.
- Animal Cruelty - Please visit the Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA if you are interested in learning about how to help stop animal cruelty.
- Poison - anti-freeze and some types of fertilizer are two of the often fatal poison risks
- Other animals (cats, dogs, wild animals) hurting or killing them - 10 wild animals that attack house pets
- Infectious diseases from other cats - Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukemia (FeLV), and Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (URI).
- Parasites such as fleas, ticks, ringworm
- Getting lost and/or getting picked up by animal control.
*Update 7/25/10:Only a small percent of lost pets are ever found by their family, but here's great news:
We found kitty's loving family - a nearby neighbor we didn't even know had a cat, let along one so precious - and she returned home today. Her name is Patches - how cute!Patches looks young for her age, for she's around 8. The rest of Patches' story is interesting, even surprising, and I'll post a new blog entry about it. Also, I've updated the original title of this post - "Cat Found in Merrick" - to avoid giving anyone who's lost a cat false hope.
Adopt a Pet♥ We heard about a wonderful family who wanted to adopt "Found Cat" if her family stayed lost. ♥ Adopt a Pet. Please open your heart and home to a shelter pet. You can click this text to go to Adopt-a-Pet.com which helps you find the animal shelters in your area. For example, I went to AdoptAPet.com and entered "Massapequa, NY" + chose a distance of "within 50 miles" + selected "Any type of pet" and it listed about 500 shelters on Long Island. ~ ~ ~ Comments: Please leave a comment below, especially if you would like to share a story about a lost or found pet, or if you have info about pet safety or pet adoption.