There are few experiences more tragic than losing a pet. No cat owner wants to endure the heartbreak that comes with losing their beloved pet, but sadly, many do. Whether you have experienced this grief or not, you can work to prevent such losses in the future by recognizing Lost Pet Prevention Month.
Lost Pet Prevention Month is observed through the month of July. Its purpose is to raise awareness of missing pets and prevent the loss of more animal companions. This campaign is a valuable part of ensuring that our beloved cats do not become a part of a tragic statistic.
Why Was National Lost Pet Prevention Month Established?
If you had to guess what the busiest day of the year for animal shelters was, what would you pick? It may seem strange to think that there is one day out of the year that sees a consistent, massive increase in surrendered or stray animals, but it’s the truth.
In the United States, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. It is largely because the loud celebrations of the Fourth of July can startle pets, causing them to flee at a moment’s notice.
In addition, families take more trips during the summer. Pets that are taken along for the ride may be stressed by their new environment, causing them to run away. The frequency of lost pets during this month caught the attention of PetHub, an organization dedicated to creating tools that track down missing pets.
In 2014, they launched the first-ever Lost Pet Prevention Month to spread awareness and prevent more pets from getting lost. Lost Pet Prevention Month helps inform and equip cat owners with resources to keep their pets safe.
The Tragic Reality of Lost Cats
Each year, around 6.3 million animals are delivered to animal shelters nationwide. Out of this total, 3.2 million of them are cats. Most of the cats are strays, surrenders, and rescues. Due to the immense flood of incoming cats, only 2.1 million are adopted annually. Other worrying statistics include:
- Out of 810,000 shelter animals returned to their owners, only 100,000 are cats.
- 530,000 cats are euthanized each year
- Twice as many animals are delivered to shelters as strays or lost pets compared to the number of those surrendered by their owners
- Cats make up over half of euthanized animals in shelters each year.
The statistics are concerning to any animal lover, but especially to cat owners. To prevent your beloved pet from becoming such a tragic statistic, you can take action to prevent your cat from becoming lost.
How to Prevent Your Cat From Getting Lost
There are plenty of ways to keep your cat safe. By checking off the following steps, you can rest easier at night, knowing that your cat is unlikely to become lost.
1. Keep Your Cat Indoors
There are many benefits to making your cat an indoor-only cat. First, the risk of physical dangers decreases significantly since they are unlikely to encounter wild animals, territorial cats and dogs, unkind humans, or cars. In addition, indoor cats are less likely to develop infectious diseases.
2. Put Collars and ID Tags on Your Cat
Even if your cat is indoor-only, it is best to have some form of identification on your cat, just in case. Cats can be sneaky escape artists when they want to be, so don’t rule out the possibility of them slipping through the door. Cats with collars and ID tags can be easily returned home if found by a stranger.
Make sure that your cat’s ID tag has their name, your name, your address, and your telephone number. This ensures that whoever finds your cat can contact you and bring them home.
3. Microchip Your Cat
Pet owners should also have their cats microchipped. Microchips contain codes that can be read at vet offices or shelters, telling them who the cat belongs to. Just be sure to have your cat’s microchip updated if you move!
4. Be Aware of Your Cat in Chaotic Environments
Cats can become easily frazzled, especially when their home is overrun with chaos. If you have visitors in your home, your cat may feel threatened and bolt out the door. To prevent that, plan ahead.
Keep your cat in a quiet, secure room where visitors will not enter. Depending on the length of the visit, give your cat toys, food, water, and a litter box to ensure all of their needs are met. This will reduce their stress and encourage them to stay right where they are.
5. Ensure Your Home is Secure
If there is a way for your cat to escape your home, they will find it. Make sure all windows and doors are securely latched. Your cat should not be able to push their way through.
If you let your cat go outside, ensure they are kept in an enclosed area with no means of escape. This means examining your fences or other barriers to ensure that there are no weak points.
6. Use a Carrier or Leash When Leaving the Home
During vet appointments or other events that cause you to leave the home with your cat, be prepared. Use a carrier or leash to transport your cat to and from the home.
7. Train Your Cat to Come When Called
Cats may be independent and aloof, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be trained. By training your cat to come when called, you can maintain better control if they begin to wander.
8. Have a Plan for Emergencies
Natural disasters can happen at a moment’s notice, so having a plan in place can keep you and your cat safe. Having animal first aid kits, feline travel supplies, and microchipping your cat are great ways to keep them safe in an emergency.
No pet owner wants to experience the grief that comes with losing a beloved cat. That is why Lost Pet Prevention Month exists; it provides pet owners with the resources needed to keep their companions safe. When July rolls around, consider getting involved with Lost Pet Prevention Month by posting on social media or volunteering at your local animal shelter.
Featured Image Credit: StockMediaSeller, Shutterstock
- Why Was National Lost Pet Prevention Month Established?
- The Tragic Reality of Lost Cats
- How to Prevent Your Cat From Getting Lost
- 1. Keep Your Cat Indoors
- 2. Put Collars and ID Tags on Your Cat
- 3. Microchip Your Cat
- 4. Be Aware of Your Cat in Chaotic Environments
- 5. Ensure Your Home is Secure
- 6. Use a Carrier or Leash When Leaving the Home
- 7. Train Your Cat to Come When Called
- 8. Have a Plan for Emergencies
- Final Thoughts