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What to do When an Indoor Cat Gets Outside

We have three indoor cats and recently our oldest cat, Charley, who is six years old got out of the house when someone had the door open, and she was gone for five days. This post will touch on what to do when your indoor cat gets outside. We sadly didn’t even realize she got out until it was too late and she was off exploring. But hopefully what I did will help someone else in this type of situation. All my life I’ve had indoor cats. I don’t personally believe in letting cats outside. For multiple reasons but the number one reason is there are way too many cats outside and I firmly believe a cat is part of the family. They should be treated as such.

Like I mentioned, our cat Charley got out. I went crazy searching for her – I contacted rescues and groups that specialize in lost and found pets. I checked the groups daily, and called around to try to find her. No luck. Day 5 at 930pm my husband comes into my bedroom where I was nursing the baby to sleep and says, “I think I have Charley in the garage” I got up and ran into the garage as fast as I could. I looked high and low. Nothing at first I thought he was playing a cruel joke on me but then I realized she may have gotten out before he got the garage closed as she isn’t a big fan of men. So, I ran inside and got dressed, put my parka on and went to the side of the house. I called her name and instantly heard a meow. My heart burst.

I ran to the fence where my backyard is kicking a bucket, which then made her run back to the backyard on top of the fence. I got to the fence – softly called her and she came running to me! Meowing, and she jumped down into my arms.

She was so skinny and seemed so happy to see me. I got inside as quickly as I could and got her into the laundry room where her food and water was, she chowed down. I couldn’t believe how skinny she was. She had really red ears and her nose had a little scratch on it but beyond that, she seemed really happy, and relieved to be home.

Could I have done more? What did I not do to find her sooner? How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

So many questions. Then I realized this happens.

Cats get out. It happens. They are curious, they are hunters and like to explore. There’s nothing I didn’t do to get her home short of going to every single house door, backyard and garage in a ten block radius.

I believe what I did do helped get her home. I went out often and multiple times looking for her. I’d call her name even if I was just sitting on my step, and I firmly believe even though it’s the dead of winter and it snowed a few nights ago – this helped bring her home.

The snow has been melting and it’s a lot warmer out that day than it had been in the prior 5 days, so I believe she could find her way home.

What do you do if your indoor cat gets outside? Here is what I did:

  • Go out looking: Multiple times a day or week. Walk different areas, as well as the same around your house. Call our your cats name and remember cats are very smart.
  • Post on lost and found boards: There are several on Facebook. Your local OSPCA would probably have one as well. Kijiji if you are in Canada is also a great place to post a photo and have people on the lookout.
  • Call your local shelters and OSPCA: Let them know the location of where your cat escaped and the name, age, and description. You may also be asked to email them a photo. Do it, and they’ll give you a call if they locate your cat.
  • Collars and Tags: Always make sure your cat has a collar with up to date tags on. This was our big mistake. Hers had frayed and we took it off this past summer. I failed to update and get a new one on her. Although I don’t think this time around would have helped if someone would have found her it would.
  • Alert Neighbours: This is a smart one. Let your neighbors especially ones right around you know so they can be on the lookout.

The most important thing is not to panic or give up. Keep calling, and checking the local pages. Keep an eye out when you are out and about. Hopefully, they’ll come home on their own! I am aware that isn’t always the case, but always keep an open mind!