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Cats, by nature are very curious and, when given the opportunity, can escape and get lost without even meaning to. There are steps you can take to not only prevent this from happening, but also to find your cat if he or she is missing.

What should I do if my cat is gone?

As soon as you can, contact the local animal shelter and give them a description of your cat. Someone might have taken it in and you will want to find him or her quickly to prevent your cherished pet from being put to sleep. You should also tell everyone in your neighborhood, including the mailman and your children's nearby friends to be on the look out for your absent feline. Show them a picture if you have one. Calling as many local veterinarians as you can is also a good idea. If your cat was injured, someone may have taken it in for treatment.

Should I hang posters around the neighborhood, too?

Absolutely. Make sure they have all the important information in clear bold letters, so drivers can read them from a distance. You should include a picture, a description, and phone numbers where you can be reached at any time.

Is there anything else I should know when trying to find my cat?

Well, cats will usually try to find their way home in the early morning and the early evening just before dark so these are good times to walk or drive around your neighborhood.

What can I do to prevent my cat from running away or getting lost?

You can get your cat some sort of identification tag. These are available at the pet store and come in small sizes for your cat's collar. There are even micro-chip implants available from vets which are embedded comfortably under the skin and contain all the cat's identifying information. I.D. tags are great, but the number one thing you can do to prevent a lost cat is to have it spayed or neutered. Cats who are looking for mates are apt to run away during mating season. If you prevent that urge through spaying or neutering, your pet is much less likely to wander off.

I like to let my cat go outside, how can I prevent it from running away?

Some people walk their cats just as dog owners would. Harnesses, which fit snugly around the cat's body, are available at pet shops. Attach a leash, and you're ready to go!