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Sunday 4 December 2016

'Two of my cats have vanished' - where do missing cats go?

It's common for cats to go missing, but where do they go and what can be done?

Massimiliano and his family love cats: they see their four pet cats as part of the family. The cats are allowed to come and go as they please, via a cat flap. They are normally creatures of habit, and they are always home in the evening for supper.

In the past month, two of the four cats have gone missing, and Massimiliano is beginning to suspect that there may be an unsavoury reason for this. Could somebody be stealing cats? Or leaving out poison?

Louis was the first cat to go missing, three weeks ago. He is a two-year-old cross-bred Norwegian Forest cat, adopted from a couple in Dublin when he was eight weeks old.

He looks like a large tabby cat, with long fur. He has been neutered, and he is usually a home-loving cat, just going outside at night-time for strolls in the dark, as cats tend to do.

He behaves more like a dog than a cat, following Massimiliano when he goes out on walks with his children. He has become well-known in the neighbourhood: he's friendly, with a striking appearance.

Louis disappeared the day they started road works in a local car park behind Massimiliano's home.

He had always enjoyed hanging around the car park, and at first, Massimiliano thought that he might just have bolted after getting a fright from the machinery. But he never came home, and nobody in the area has seen him.

Willow was the second cat to vanish. She is a one year old stunning silver tabby pure bred Norwegian Forest cat, with bright green eyes. She was given to the family as a present when their fourth child was born.

Typical of her breed, Willow is a friendly, affectionate and intelligent cat, who loves cuddling up to people. She was always an indoor cat, only going out occasionally for a short stroll.

On one previous occasion, she was spooked by the wind when out on a walk, and she ended up getting stuck in a tree, needing to be helped down.

On this occasion, she didn't come back as she usually does after her stroll, and despite searching everywhere, she was nowhere to be seen.

Massimiliano was about to give up on her, when out of the blue, she strolled back into the family home, a full week after she had disappeared.

Nobody knows where she had been: her absence for a full week seems very peculiar.

It's common for pet cats to go missing. Compared to dogs, cats live adventurous, independent lives, and they are far more likely than dogs to get themselves into bother.

There are many possible reasons for a cat to vanish, including accidents, poisoning, getting shut in sheds, or even climbing into cars and accidentally being driven to a different area. Some cats just get lost in their own neighbourhoods: if they get startled for some reason, they may bolt, and once they have run more than a couple of hundred yards, some cats have difficulty finding their way back home.

It helps to have cats microchipped: this is not like a GPS device, so it will not actually help you find your cat, but it does mean that if your cat is found by a stranger, they can easily discover your contact details, simply by taking the cat to a local vet and having them scanned for a microchip.

poster

What can be done to track down a missing cat? A local poster campaign is useful, with photos of the missing animal for a one mile radius around your home.

Online resources are helpful too, with websites such as www.lostandfoundpets.ie offering free listings, and there are Facebook pages for local areas (such as Co Wicklow and South Dublin) dedicated to reuniting pets and owners.

Massimiliano is delighted that Willow has come home, but he's still missing Louis? Have you seen him?

> There are many possible reasons for cats going missing

> Microchipping is helpful so that if cats are found, they can be returned to you

> Local publicity (posters, Facebook etc) is the best way to track cats down

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