Lost and Found Cats

Tree House is a proud partner of PetCo Love Lost, a tool dedicated to reuniting pets with their owners. Not only can it help you with a lost or found cat, it helps reunite us with lost Tree House cats!

Do these things right away:

Report your lost pet on PetCo Love Lost, a national lost and found database where shelters and neighbors post found pets.

Look Around
Most house cats will not wander far from home. Look around the area they were lost and check with your neighbors.

Create lost pet signs and hang them in your neighborhood. Share them on social platforms including local Facebook groups.

Other Resources & Recommendations:

  1. Call your cat’s microchip company to alert them of your cat’s missing status.   
  2. Post signs in/around your neighborhood and at nearby veterinary clinics. Include a detailed description of color, size, and demeanor, as well as a photo of your pet. Use color copies and include where your pet was lost. Be sure to include your contact information. 
  3. Post announcements online on local/neighborhood social media groups. Include copies of your flier. Try Lost Cats Illinois on Facebook and talk with neighbors.
  4. Place ads on websites and in newspapers like craigslist.com and petfinder.com. Beware of people answering your ad and asking for reward money before they return the pet – this is almost always a scam. Be sure to also read the Found ads in the same newspapers and websites just in case a caring person found your cat and is trying to find you. 
  5. Set up an outdoor feeding station on your property with your cat’s favorite food or treats as well as some familiar scented items such as a blanket, towels, litter box, or pet bed. If your pet should return while you are asleep or away, food and shelter may save his life. 
  6. Look for your pet when it’s dark and streets are quiet as they may be too fearful to come out during the day. Take a flashlight with you and search under parked cars, in yards, under bushes, and in alleys. Take food and treats to attract your pet. Once lost, your pet can become wary or frightened of any human voice and may not recognize you or come immediately when you call. Call to your pet with the kind of voice that you normally use to greet them and listen for a reply. 
  7. Call animal shelters and veterinary hospitals in your area, starting with the municipal animal control agency. Check continually and frequently until your pet is found. Some Chicago shelters that accept strays are:
    • Chicago Animal Care and Control, 2741 S. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL, 312-747-1406
    • Animal Welfare League, 6224 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL, 773-667-0088

Once your pet is home, it would be a good idea to take them to your veterinarian to check for bite wounds, cuts, or scrapes that may require attention. Keep them separated from other pets in the household until you have determined that they are healthy and reacclimated to their environment. Ask your vet to check for infectious diseases and parasites. Be sure to have your vet insert a registered microchip if your pet still needs to get one. 

You found a stray cat… now what?

Is the cat sick, injured, or in danger?

Yes: You can take the cat to Chicago Animal Care and Control or an emergency medical facility for immediate care. If the cat is stable but suspected to be sick or injured, contact us for an appointment.

No: Great! It is very possible that they belong to someone or they are a community cat.

What if they are someone’s cat?

Cats and their owners are much more likely to find each other if the cat stays in their neighborhood. To help with the reunification, you can post flyers and talk to neighbors. Like many veterinary clinics, Tree House will provide a free microchip scan to help identify an owner. If a cat has been abandoned, take it to Chicago Animal Care and Control, where it can be transferred to one of 50+ organizations for adoption.

Can cats live outside safely?

Yes, community cats thrive outside and have many natural resources to help them do so. They grow thicker coats of fur in the winter, use their claws to protect themselves, and rely on their excellent hunting abilities. Community cats often become ill or deteriorate when brought to a shelter due to fear and stress. The best thing you can do is let them thrive outside. If you see a cat with a “tipped” ear, that means it is a community cat. If you have community cats in your yard and would like to become a licensed caretaker, contact us for more information.

I found kittens!

Kittens less than six weeks old should remain with their mom. You can help by keeping your distance and watching for mom. If mom does not arrive after several hours, gather the kittens and call us. The ideal socialization time for kittens is between one and nine weeks old. If you have found a kitten older than nine weeks, contact our staff for further steps.

I found a mom and kittens!

We can help make a plan! Call or email to figure out the next best steps for mom and kittens.

Can someone come get the cats out of my yard?

Cats are territorial creatures and most likely reside in your yard for resources. By taking away those resources (shelter, water, food), cats will most likely move to a new area. If you remove the cats and keep the resources, new cats will likely repopulate your yard. TNR (trap-neuter-return) is the best way to maintain a controlled colony of cats that will provide eco-friendly rodent control but won’t reproduce and add to the colony.