Tips for Finding a Lost Cat

Tips for Finding Your Lost Cat

Use Petco Love Lost

The first step you should take in reporting a lost cat: use Petco Love Lost! Petco Love Lost uses facial recognition technology to match photos of the cat with its widespread database. You can share the Found Pet profile to your local social media pages, and you can even use Petco Love Lost to make flyers to post in your neighborhood! To get started, select the button above. Please note: this button will redirect you to Petco Love Lost’s page.

File a Lost Cat Report with ASAP

Visit the shelter if possible and file a Lost Cat Report. Please bring a picture of your lost cat to the shelter with you. An ASAP volunteer will look in the “new arrivals” area for your cat. You will be shown any possible matches. If you cannot come to ASAP in person, you can either call the shelter to report a lost cat or file a Lost Cat Report here.

Post Lost Cat Posters

You can obtain a Lost Cat Poster here. Fill out the information on the Lost Cat Poster, include a picture of your pet if you can, and make copies to post around your neighborhood. Most cats are found within a few blocks of home. Check areas where cats can hide (i.e., thick vegetation or under houses) or be trapped (i.e., sheds or garages). Many “lost cats,” especially those who have been mostly indoor cats are not actually lost, but hiding nearby. For excellent and detailed information about looking for a lost cat, see this link:

Keep in Contact with ASAP

While ASAP volunteers make every effort to reunite cats with their owners, it is the owner’s responsibility to actively look for a lost cat. After you have filed a lost cat report with ASAP, we recommend that you check back with us on a regular basis. Do let the volunteer you are in contact with know that you have already filed a lost cat report.

Check Craigslist

ASAP volunteers post photos and descriptions, including the location where a cat is found, of most new arrival cats on this Craigslist page.

Please check this site frequently for information on new arrival cats. Please note that to avoid “cat theft,” photos of purebred cats are not posted on Craigslist. Instead, we ask the owner to come to the shelter and provide identification (i.e., photo or vet records) proving ownership of the cat.

Check Animal Services

Unfortunately, Animal Services personnel do bring in cats that are DOA. While it’s not the type of news that you want to hear, you may want to contact Animal Services to ascertain if they have received a cat matching your cat’s description and location.

Other Ways of Looking for Your Lost Cat

If your cat is not at the shelter, don’t give up — there are other ways to increase your chances of being reunited!

  • Cats generally don’t venture far from home. Continue to search close to the house, especially at dawn or dusk. A shy cat will feel safer coming out of hiding at these times.
  • Common places to hide include under houses or in crawl spaces, in heavy brush, or in basements or garages. A flashlight will help you see the reflection of their eyes.
  • Post numerous Lost Cat Posters throughout your neighborhood (note that posting notices on trees is illegal). Make sure the poster is large and easy to read.
  • Knock on neighbors’ doors, with a photo in hand, to ask if they have seen your cat.
  • Check for “Found” signs in your neighborhood.
  • It is possible a finder took your pet directly to a veterinarian. Send or fax copies of your poster to local vets.
  • Post a free notice in the Santa Barbara lost and found section of Craigslist (

Other Things to Check

Your pet may still be in the house. Cats can hide in the most amazing places!. Be sure to check places like in the chimney, inside the torn lining of a boxspring, or behind the unopened drawers in cabinets or dressers.

  • Have any neighbors moved recently? The cat could be locked in a moving van
  • Could your cat have gotten into someone’s car or delivery truck and gone across town?
  • Could the cat be locked inside the garage or house of a neighbor who is out of town?
  • Is there any home construction in the area?
  • Are there any new cats in your neighborhood who might have chased the cat off?

For More Ideas on Finding your Lost Cat, visit

When you find your cat, we ask that you share your good news with ASAP so we can update our records.