Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Day I Nearly Lost My Newly Adopted Cat #LostPetPreventionMonth

There's nothing much more terrifying than the thoughts of a beloved cat or dog going missing. Even indoor pets aren't immune from getting lost because accidents can and do happen to even the most vigilant pet parent, as I found out all too well in the summer of 2007.


It was late June and like every cat before her (and since), Angel Tara had adopted the screened-in bathroom window as her favorite spot for "snoopervising" her domain. I woke up that morning at 7, wandered into the bathroom, and discovered that at some point during the night the screen had broken and was now laying flat on the lawn.

Tara was gone...and did I mention that I had just adopted her 5 weeks earlier??? She didn't know anything about her new neighborhood. She wasn't even that familiar yet with her new name!!!

Always great in a crisis, I started running up and down the street (in my pajamas) yelling her name. My cat-loving neighbor, who didn't even know yet that I'd adopted a new cat, told me that at 5AM she had been awakened by a loud crash coming from my yard.

Two hours. Tara had been on her own in unfamiliar territory for two hours.

Now even more on the verge of hysterics I wandered back home into the backyard...and Tara walked out of the bushes right underneath my bedroom window.

My smart little monkey didn't decide to explore the neighborhood; she stayed right there waiting for me to come and find her.

Relief doesn't even begin to explain my feelings that morning...I don't think I'd ever felt so blessed in my entire life. Things could have turned out so differently. We were incredibly lucky.


Lost Pet Prevention Month was launched by PetHub because one in every three pets will go missing at some point in their life. They don't always get the happy outcome that Tara and I did, either. Less than 20% of dogs and 2% of cats that go missing will ever return home.

Following our scare my dad was given the task of finding out what went wrong. He discovered that the window screen clips (held in place with screws) were completely stripped. Whether this happened gradually over time or because of Tara's weight pushing on it, we'll never know. I even wonder if she may have seen another animal in the yard that night causing her to throw herself at the screen, breaking it herself.


We drilled new holes and replaced the four clips with eight new ones. We also added a piece of wire as extra reinforcement across the bottom of the screen. Now on a regular basis I check out the security of every window, screen and door in our house. Reinforcing existing windows and replacing any that are beyond repair is one of the easiest ways to ensure your cat's safety.

Another important proactive step to take is to always have some form of ID on your cat in case the worst happens. Tara didn't have any...if she had wandered off and been found, no one would have known where she lived. I couldn't have been happier that Mudpie came home with a microchip, which I immediately registered. (I think it should be mandatory for shelters to include a microchip as part of your adoption fee.) Just make sure to keep your information up to date and to ask your vet to scan the chip during routine exams to make sure it's readable and hasn't moved.


A safety collar with ID attached can also help increase the chances of being reunited with your pet. PetHub has a complete line of digital tags available which are QR code scannable and links to your pet's online profile which can include multiple emergency contacts, microchip data and critical medications. Special tags that identify medical issues such as diabetes and epilepsy are even available! In 2013, an analysis of hundreds of dogs and cats recovered through the PetHub lost pet recovery system showed that a whopping 97% made it home in less than 24 hours. In fact, 25% made it home in under an hour!

Part of being a responsible pet parent is making sure your cat is safe at all times. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so spend a little time making sure your home is completely secure, and should something catastrophic still occur, proper identification can help to ensure a happy ending.


Have you ever had a scare with a lost pet?
Tell us about it!

25 comments:

  1. I can't even imagine how distraught you were when that happened. Thank God this story had a happy ending! Ever since a client's cat went through a screen during the night, I have been paranoid enough so that I only open our windows a couple of inches wide unless I'm in the room myself. Thankfully, my client's story had a happy ending, too - her cat turned up a couple of days later.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My humans says she knows that feeling. Our microwave caught on fire and I dashed out between the firemen and stayed outside for hours. She was frantic looking everywhere and calling out my name. Finally I came back over the fence around 10 pm and miaowed from outside the bedroom window to get in. I had not been outside on my own before either, only on my harness. I had to climb on the garbage bins to get her attention.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good advice! Each of our two cats has gone out a window (one went on purpose because she is a little stinker, and the other we think fell out while napping). Fortunately we got them both back. Paisley (the stinker) went back in the same window she got out of, and I found Webster hiding under a wheelbarrow hours after he got out. But last year when our black cat, Jack, got out, we were not so lucky. We have not gotten him back, and I still feel terrible that we didn't get him microchipped. We tried a collar, but he refused (REFUSED!) to wear it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my goodness, I can imagine that you must have been shaking out of fear for Tara. Once, when my angel Rosie was young, she was sleeping in a window when the screen popped right out, and she fell right out with it. She went and hid up by the house, the smart little lady, and let me carry her back inside. I can't think of anything much more crippling than the fear that your furbaby is just going to run off and you never see them again. I am so glad your Tara was safe! And thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information with us!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Our vet always insists on micro chipping cats and checks them every time we have to visit them in case they have moved. Usually we just need to go once a year if we haven't hurt ourselves or been ill but of course they still get us stabbed in our necks even if there has been nothing the matter.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is very scary. I am glad Tara stayed in the yard. One time I tried to take Polar Bear out with a collar and leash and I accidentally dropped the leash and he ran. I was in a big panic because he is deaf so I couldn't call him. I went all over the neighborhood looking and he was in the window well of our house. I have read dogs will keep running and cats tend to stay near home.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In my history of cats, almost all of my indoor ones have escaped at one time or another (all came back)and now I am the most careful cat mom ever! Even though two of my cats are full time indoors, I have them micro-chipped and they also wear collars at all times as well (cause you really never know what could happen)and the collars are reflective just in case they escape at night. I also never leave windows open unless i am home and awake. So far so good! Hairballsandhissyfits.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have had a few instances when Bobo got out accidentally. One was late at night, he slipped through an open door. Cody has also pushed a screen on the screen door. Do you know they now make screens that CANNOT be pushed OUT from inside? I now have those on all my windows. That being said, I never, ever, ever leave the windows open when I am not home or if he is unsupervised. I DO need to get Cody a micro chip (I do NOT believe in collars for cats)...Dakota has a micro chip but Cody doesn't. catchatwithcarenandcody

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh I can fully understand your desperation. I 'lost' Boo and thought she got outside and went searching for her in my pj's I was so upset. As it turns out she had gotten herself in an open closet and when I closed the door unknowingly closing her in there. It was Jinx who 'told' on her. I was so relieved and cried all over her. So it is a very frightening thing. Nothing has ever happened since.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very scary, but glad she didn't wander far! Thanks for the info and tips, too!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh me cats mommy would be terrified. So glad you and Tara were reunited and she hadn't wandered off anywhere. Mommy panics ifin she can't see us in 5 minutes, and we don't go outside. Great tips too.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

    ReplyDelete
  12. mudpie;

    de food servizz gurl noez how yur mom feeled when tara went missin.....bak in hiz day gram paw dude went... kinda missin

    de food gurl had wented two de food stor N afturr bringin in all de food frum de car; her put de garage door down sew dude could chillax out ther fora few

    de door went down, & dude went out... but de food gurl had leeved a car door open bye mizz take; when her went ta take sum thin outta de trunk, her saw de open car door & shut it....later de x boyfriend opened de garage door { noe we wont go ther } & panic en sood....afturr much seerchin.... dude was found...chillaxin on de bak seet.... ♥♥♥♥

    ReplyDelete
  13. How scary! You must have been in a real state of panic. Excellent reminder to make sure we cats can't escape!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Our beloved Tinkerbell (she was a tortie!) went missing a couple of years ago on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately we found her a little ways up the street laying on the side. We're assuming she was hit by a car but we don't know what even made her run off. She never went out of the yard and was always ready to come in at dark. We always kept an eye on her but somehow she managed to escape that day. Glad your ending was better with Tara.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Whew. I'm glad this story has a happy ending! It's a terrific post with a lot of good advise. The shelter where I volunteer - PAWS - does micro chip every cat and dog. Our Rufus the Red came with a chip from Home Again. The chip also comes with a free 24-7 Emergency Hotline with a vet and even covers the $65 Poison Control Hotline fee (Which I found out when Rufus licked the chocolate frosting off a cake).
    After fostering Rufus for a month, I drove over to PAWS to sign his final adoption papers. While I was gone, my husband accidentally left a door open and Rufus was missing when I got home! We had an hour of panic and running around the neighborhood, but then we saw him joyfully zooming around the house in full gallop. He came right inside and hasn't been out since.
    Maggie

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, we're glad that scary story had a happy end ! Great advice ! Purrs

    ReplyDelete
  17. We cringe when we see signs posted by our house for lost cats. People don't understand there are coyotes in the neighborhood. Good post
    Lily & Edward

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yikes. An indoor cat can never be prepared for the wilds outside. I am glad this ended well! ❤

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my goodness! I could feel your fear & anxiety! I would have been frantic. Years ago, my indoors-only cat, Pickles, was left outside all day. I left for work in the morning. We had a screen door and I shut both doors but didn't pay good attention. We lived in an apartment. When I came home, Pickles was outside! He was frantically meowing at me. My guess was he was in between the regular door and the screen door and I didn't notice. I was so relieved he didn't go anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, we're glad this story had a happy ending. None of us have ever gone missing...well, Wally ran outside once and climbed up a tree, but the mom knew where he was even if she was frantic to get him down. But the shelter the mom volunteers at is filled with kitties that were found some place...and more than likely were lost and their humans did not find them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. We all get collars the moment we are adopted and wear them 24/7 with an ID tag with all pertinent info. Our angel brofur Madison went missing once for three days and our angel sisfur Louise was lost for two weeks. She got in a neighbor's basement, and though we thought that's where she might be, she would hide whenever anyone entered the basement until she got so hungry the neighbor actually saw her, and Mom was able to come rescue her. Mom became more and more panicked and depressed as each day went by. A couple of us do have microchips but not all shelters and vets in our area have readers. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    ReplyDelete
  22. Whoa! That was a frightening close call. Luckily none of our cats ever went through the screens but Faith flew out a second story window while Gramma was hanging wash. I won't allow anything around my neck but I was microchipped the moment TW found out they existed.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You were indeed lucky! Sadly this isn't always the case. My #1 searched post at my blog are tips for finding lost pets.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You were indeed lucky! Sadly this isn't always the case. My #1 searched post at my blog are tips for finding lost pets.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Absolutely, one of my biggest fears. All our kids are chipped. However, I just noticed that the address on Ruby's tag has worn down and not really readable anymore. I didn't realize this could happen so always a good idea to check tags and replace them when needed.

    ReplyDelete