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The Nine Scenarios

Below are the nine scenario for missing cats. The scenarios are similar as those experienced by dogs but the likelihood of probability in each scenario is different with each species.

The Cat that is RECOVERED by CITIZEN

Outgoing, gregarious cats that are trusting of people are the most likely pets to experience this scenario. This situation generally happens with cats that are considered unique, different or of value but can happen to any friendly cat. Within this Scenario are five situationals.

A cat that has been recovered by citizen can be:

  • Found by a Good Samaritan whose intent is to find the cat's family.
  • Found by an individual who intends to keep the cat.
  • Recovered by an individual or rescue who re-homes the cat.
  • Recovered by someone who intends to re-sell the cat. This is more likely with dogs but has happened on occasion with a rare or unique cat.
  • Is found and held for Reward by the finder. 




 The Roaming Cat...

The STARS Cat... Shy, Timid, Aloof, Reserved or Skittish

Cats can roam for a variety of reasons but the most common occurence is when a shy indoor cat finds itself in the world beyond with no idea what to do. That said, we have had ten year old cats who have never roamed go on walkabout as well as the adventurous youngster in search of fun. Intact toms have gone off in search of friends while shy cats have become frightened and bolted out of fear finding themselves very lost. This scenario is one of the most probable for a STARS cat or a cat that goes missing in an area that is not its home territory.


The Cat that MEETS with a PREDATOR

This is an ever increasing problem in the United States.  Certain areas of the country are more likely to experience this situation than others but coyotes, the most common predator, can now be found in every corner of the U.S... even in Central Park in Manhattan, New York. Predators taking pets is now a nationwide problem and smaller to medium sized cats are the most common targets. The predator most commonly involved is the coyote although the bobcat and foxes may occasionally be the predator involved. In the Northeastern regions, we have  experienced isolated cases of the fisher cat attacking cats and small dogs. When a pet disappears in any area with an adjacent open space, this scenario can be a consideration. 



These pets are unable to respond and return because they have accidentally entered a vehicle or object that has moved and is now in another location outside their home territory. For cats, the most common situation is when a cat jumps into a service van or other vehicle with the windows rolled down or doors open and the driver is unaware of its presence and drives away with the cat inside. In one instance we worked on a case where the cat had climbed onto a mobile home that was in transport. The missing cat jumped off the transport two hours into the trip. Fortunately the driver in the transport's pilot car, saw the cat jump off the trailer and noted where he ran to. It took several months but the traveling cat was finally captured after spending several weeks in a feral cat colony located inside a restricted government facility.



This is one of the least likely scenarios for missing cats... although many people initially believe this is what has happened to their pet.

When a cat is stolen it is generally for one of these reasons:


  • For resale- if it is a desirable breed or is unique in some way
  • or an individual has an interest in the pet
  • or as revenge to hurt or cause the pet owner distress.


When a cat is stolen it generally because an individual has an interest in the pet and it is generally NOT a random act.



The CAT that is experiencing CONFUSION, ILLNESS or PAIN (CIP)

This scenario is not to be confused with a pet that has become injured or sick as a result of escaping. This animal is already experiencing these afflictions prior to going missing. This is one of the more common situations for cats especially those on new medications or that are experiencing urinary tract complications. Anytime a cat wanders off and it has been showing signs of a health or behavior issue, this scenario is highly considered. These felines are generally not hungry so attracting them can be more difficult. A tiger line search of the area by several people can be very effective. Scent dogs trained specifically to find the live scent of a cat can be effective for this recovery.





This pet has wandered or fell into a situation where he has become trapped and cannot get out. This is common with missing cats especially those that have outdoor access and are curious. The kitty trapped in the neighbor's garage or shed is the situation we see the most. Anytime an outdoor cat goes missing, this should be one of the considerations. A thorough search of nearby garages, sheds, buildings, cars, dumpsters, etc should be initiated when a cat that has a normal outdoor routine, comes up missing. 



This cat has been unable to return home because it has been displaced from its environment intentionally by someone either known or unknown to the pet's owner. Again, not as common with dogs but seen more often with cats. The most likely is the disgruntled neighbor that traps cats and takes them to a shelter or to a wilderness area and turns them loose. Cats that are considered stray because they are off their owner's property may be captured by animal control or taken to a shelter fall under this scenario.


The Cat that MEETS with an ACCIDENT

This cat has met with an accident and is unable to return home as a result of that accident. With a cat that has access to the outdoors on a regular basis, this is one of the scenarios we consider first as the cat has went outside his normal routine.

Tracking dogs are always considered if it is felt this scenario is likely.




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