Mario the cat was born on February 26, 1998 and was adopted from the pet store on April 14 of that same year.
Twelve and a half years later, on August 27, 2010, Mario the cat went out and unfortunately never returned. The ensuing grief brought on by his disappearance put a sudden halt to my normal routine; I spent the majority of my days and nights searching for him.
Mr. Cat would never go far and would always come home after a couple of hours. What’s more, it was not my intention to let him out that evening but he slipped through my legs as I opened the door to throw some items into the recycling box. It was around 7:30 PM.
Since he had not returned by midnight I immediately became suspicious that something was not right. I started walking the neighbourhood in search for him but he was nowhere to be found.
The next morning I immediately had some ”Missing Cat” posters printed in both colour and black and white. I put the colour posters on every single telephone pole in the area and delivered the black and white ones to every mailbox in the neighbourhood. Naturally while delivering the posters I was able to speak in person with many of my neighbours. This substantially increased the community awareness as to my missing buddy through word of mouth, while permitting me to gather information that could still be fresh in the minds of folks who may have seen Mr. Cat. It was like a police investigation; trying to piece together what had occurred. This is exactly why it is important to act quickly when our pets are lost!
I made sure to place posters in key locations such as at the corner store, surrounding bus stops and of course the entrance to the school yard. Believe it or not, kids are great ”eyes and ears” in the neighbourhood and shouldn’t be underestimated as an asset in the search for a missing pet.
I contacted the City through the direct 311 line and requested that they search their records for any calls that may have been received from the public concerning a lost or dead cat. However, the only call they were able to trace was regarding a lost cat in a different neighbourhood.
Since the local SPCA (Humane Society) puts lost animals up for adoption after only three working days, I was sure to visit in person right away but unfortunately Mr. Cat was not there either. I sent the SPCA an email containing the ‘Missing Cat’ poster and returned to visit a second time a few days later just to be on the safe side. Again, Mr. Cat was not there.
During this time, I spent many sleepless nights walking the neighbourhood searching for Mr. Cat. I searched every nook and cranny, looked up every tree and put my ear against every garage and shed door in case he had wondered inside and inadvertently been locked-in. I also put his food and litter box outside and scattered the contents of my vacuüm cleaner bag throughout the neighbourhood so as to attract Mr. Cat back home. Humans will not pick up on these odors, but cats will. Since your vacuüm cleaner bag will mostly contain cat hair, this is perfect bait for your feline’s great sense of smell.
Electronically, I placed a free classified ad on Craigslist and Kijiji. In a more traditional sense I also placed a classified ad with a photo in the local newspaper. This cost me about thirty dollars for two days of circulation. The newspaper ad did generate some calls, but unfortunately they did not turn out to be Mr. Cat.
My posters and classified advertisements did mention a reward, and this was obviously an important way to increase the visibility of the ad while generating awareness.
Unfortunately in the end I was unable to find my treasured friend and he never returned home. It is difficult not having any closure as I do not know what happened to him. For example, was he simply taken, hit by a car or did he go off to die by choice? Unfortunately I may never know.
For the moment all that I can do is presume that he is dead. Although the grieving period was difficult, things did get better with time. Obviously his disappearance has caused an empty void in the household , but Mr. Cat will always be remembered.
I did not try this for myself, but if your pet is missing and you have the money, there is a service called Pet Amber Alert based on the concept of the Amber Alert for missing children. Depending on the package that you take, Pet Amber Alert will auto dial a set number of residences in your neighbourhood to inform them of your missing pet.
While this blog post is an outline of my personal experience, I hope that it is helpful to anybody dealing with a lost cat. Remember, it is important to act quickly as the faster that you do, the more you increase your chances of reuniting with your lost friend. Although I was unable to get my cat back, I know that I took all the necessary steps in trying to find him. While I may not have been successful in the end, this doesn’t mean that you wont be!