Sunday, March 6, 2011

Homeworks: Safeguarding pets that think there’s a better world outside

Metro Newspaper Services photo

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine lost her cat. More accurately, the cat went purr-using outside and got lost.

It’s not uncommon. Despite all the nurturing we give our pets — shelter, food, affection and even fancy chewy toys -— when a door opens, some will choose to bolt. A few minutes might be good for them, but a pet that is raised indoors and suddenly finds itself outdoors can get into a heap of trouble.

The biggest fear for a cat is dogs and traffic. For a dog it could be other, more vicious breeds, traffic or their own curious nature. One of our dogs came home covered with porcupine quills. Hundreds of other pets that go missing end up in shelters where, unless they are adopted, face euthanasia.

A lost pet can be devastating. In many cases, they are extended members of the family. However, there are steps that owners can take to minimize the risk. Should a pet get loose consider the following:

* If the animal has a collar it should have an ID tag featuring the pet’s name and how to reach the owner. If someone sees the tag, they can use this to catch the animal or to let the owner know where it was last seen. Cats are not big on name-calling, but a tag with contact information is still a good idea.

* Cats are big on turf, so do not look for your lost kitten in a place where stray cats hang out. Be sure to have a treat or toy on hand during your search, so you have something that will lure him/her out of a confined area.

* Dogs are known to be curious. If they see something interesting in the distance, that could be why they ran away. Others like to check out things in the neighborhood. Experts recommend searching for a dog within five or six blocks from home.

* Post fliers in the neighborhood and on Facebook. When our friend’s feline went missing, she was able to find it with the help of a flier she made up that included a photo of the cat, a description of it, that a reward was being offered, the place where it was last seen and two phone numbers to call.

* Ask your mail carrier about distributing your “lost pet” flier.

* If you find a lost pet, do not chase it. Not only could it see the chase as a game, but if it’s not a friendly pet, you could get hurt. Lure the pet with a treat. If you’re not comfortable holding it, try to read the tag and call the owner. If you find a lost pet, call the newspaper and ask about the free ad for pets that are found.

* If it has been a few hours, visit animal shelters in the area. Some animals will wander a great distance, so hit more than just the shelter near home.

* If you’re traveling with pets, use leashes and crates for transporting them to and from the car.
Finally, use caution when opening doors to prevent future mishaps.
Send your comments or home and garden tips to Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, 100 Macomb Daily Drive, Mount Clemens, MI 48043, or e-mail them to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.


The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity -- George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, literary critic.


  1. Excellent article. Thanks for the advice. My kitty getting out is a constant worry. Both of the times it has happened I was able to find her in the neighborhood.

    History of Ferrets As Pets

  2. That was a great read..ive lost my cat before and never find it thats why after that i make sure that my dogs and cats have their own tags just in case something like that happen again..

    Vanda Gould

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