Cat Detective assists cat lost owner in Serbia
Lost cat in Serbia
I live in Belgrade, Serbia, and while I was away on a trip, a friend living in a town nearby was taking care of my indoor-only cat. The cat just sneaked out after 3 days spent in her house, mainly hiding under the kitchen elements.
Nobody saw him sneaking out or understands when and how that happened since the windows were closed. It was April 17th. I came back from the trip and we're still searching for him.
The neighborhood has houses with front yards and backyards.
Lost Cat Finder wrote:
Oh, I am so sorry this happened while you were away. So upsetting and such a shock, I know.
Yes, I have had cases in several countries without supplies; Israel, Latvia, Ireland and even Cyprus.
For some reason, with the many cats who disappear under the watch of a friend or pet sitter, I never feel like I get the complete story (such as the one who accidentally left the door open but did not mention it until I started pressing for details.
Anyway, the fact remains that your poor cat is missing either escaped or is stuck somewhere within the house.
Were there any loud noises, visitors’ parties, kids or anyone who would taunt him during this time? Cats are very good hiders, and humans are very good liars.
NOT saying this is the case, but it makes it hard to know for sure if no one saw him escape or outside.
I would suggest you start with the instant download materials and pick through the options that seem right for your cat’s personality and obviously the ones that do not require tools and equipment.
Are you back home now and the only person there now?
Kim Freeman / Lost Cat Recovery
Thank you so much for your response! I've downloaded the booklet right away and read it carefully. I realize now we've done wrong things to search for our missing cat like many others do (like walking around and calling and also leaving food outside so other feral cats came in instead of my cat), but now I think I have an idea of what to do.
- the cat escaped when the front doors were left open - my friend had her brother visiting, it's a small house and there was a lot of walking around and talking, which made the cat who was already stressed because of the unfamiliar house even more stressed. He escaped after only 3 days being at her place.
- most houses in the neighborhood have dogs, which means I would need to search for places without dogs, or vacant houses around, and there are also some feral cats roaming that might chased him further. Luckily, that town and people in it are generally very animal friendly, so I don't think anyone did anything to my cat on purpose, I don't think any dog killed him and there are no wild animals in the area.
- the things we did right were all following the info in your book.
- my cat is 3 years old, male, castrated, indoor-only, has a red collar with contact inside the collar.
- since he went missing, there were heavy rains for 2 weeks. Now it's sunny again.
I need to perform a search based on the advice from the booklet, with the equipment I have. I'm going there asap. I’ll let you know how it went.
Thank you so much for your support!
There are a lot of key details to humane trapping, and seriously I encourage you to go over them before you place the trap. One thing goes wrong with trapping and you rarely get a second chance. Cats get trap-shy from even one mishap.
Even if you do not want my special tips and techniques, I wish you good luck!
Kim Freeman / Lost Cat Recovery
Kim, exciting news! A man living nearby responded he saw my cat, accurately described, with red collar, in his backyard barn stealing meat 2 days ago :) she ran to a vacant property next door and that's where I’ll set the trap since the man doesn't allow that in his yard since he has a small dog. Some kids also think they saw her in the vicinity which seems logical, it's all nearby.
Fingers crossed, tonight I'm going for a search late in the night, will repeat it during next days, and will continue alerting the neighbors next days.
Thanks for your support, I'll keep you posted!
Thank you so, so much for caring! I'm currently organizing the transport of the trap from the place they're making it. Then I will set it according to your advice. I'm also organizing where to keep the other cats if they get caught while we are in the process.
In the meantime, I will also search the backyards with dogs. Also, is it possible that my cat is hiding in a place where there are also other cats? My cat is castrated, so how does that affect how other cats would treat him? We searched all the yards without dogs, all vacant houses, garages and properties nearby. And I do have a good flashlight and I'm using it very much.
I'll let you know how it's going and again, I'm very grateful because I feel like I have an ally in you, though many other people think I'm crazy and overly projected into my cat.
Also, I wanted to let you know NOT TO SKIP yards with dogs as I have found cat hiding in dog yards, too afraid to come out, or up trees in dog yards, so do not skip them.
One time a man refused to let me search because he had a doghouse out back and 4 dogs and claimed his dogs would let him know if there was a cat in his yard.
A few days later, the cat emerged from hiding and was mauled by all the dogs before the man could get the cat away and call the owner.
SO, although an awful and sad story, the point is YOU NEVER KNOW and all areas within your 250 ft radius should be searched in detail with a flashlight that’s at least 400 lumens!
Kim Freeman / Lost Cat Recovery
On May 8, 2016, at 8:19 AM, Nevena > wrote:
Thanks, Kim, for the trap suggestion, actually I found in the meantime local company that makes them.
I searched at the vacant houses and properties nearby but they are already occupied by other cats or dogs. It's possible that she had to go much further away to find a safe place... I'm not sure how far out I should go to search...
FOUND cat in Serbia!
On Jun 2, 2016, at 5:02 PM, Nevena wrote:
Hi Kim, Here I am finally with the details of how I found my cat (his name is Milich). Sorry that the story is very long, but the search was really long too. I felt like I needed to give you a full picture because you were by my side all the time!
So when I contacted you Milich was already missing for 3 weeks. He ran away from my friend's house who was cat-sitting him in another town close to mine, while I was away on a trip. I got back 2 weeks after he ran away, because I couldn't come back earlier. So I started my search in week 3. In the meantime, my friends made posters and put them up at about 60 visible places around that town. My friend who was cat sitting tried to call him and left food outside, not knowing it wasn't the right strategy. I didn't know either, so when I came back in week 3, I started searching by walking around and calling. I also performed a night search with some friends and made my circle too wide instead of focusing on nearby houses and backyards. There were no signs of my cat. People told me that sometimes cats can go back to their original place so I was thinking he even started on his journey back to my town which was 45 km away.
That's when I started searching for some expert advice, at the end of week 3, and I found you. I learned about the cat types and what their likely behavior is if they get displaced in unfamiliar territory. It was only in week 4 that I started searching properly - detailed search of the neighboring backyards, vacant places around that area, I started going door to door talking to neighbors and distributing flyers. All the time the problem were very heavy rains that were falling for days, so on some days I couldn't search. Also, I had my daily job to attend to and had to commute each time between the two towns, which was slowing me down.
I got the first information on day 23. One of the neighbors, about 200 meters from the house, saw my cat in his yard 10 days earlier (while I was still on the trip). Milich, correctly recognized by red collar, approached the house searching for food, and the man tried to throw him some fish, but he ran away. The man didn't know if the cat belonged to somebody.
Later I spoke to some kids, who saw the same cat about 3 days earlier around a building in that same direction where I was searching on that day, as well as in another front yard, where he approached the house looking for food and even interacted with another cat - so the kids said. Finally, in the evening on the same day, I received a phone call from a man who saw my flyer, telling me he saw Milich in his backyard about 3 days earlier, stealing some meat from his barn and bypassing his dog. The man showed me a vacant property next to his house where Milich ran away. The distance between that place and the house he ran away from was approximately 300m, or 12-13 houses.
All three sightings made sense as the houses and buildings were very close to each other. That night I tried to perform a search in that area with a friend but with no success. In the meantime, I managed to find somebody who makes humane traps, since generally you can't get them here in Serbia, so I was waiting for him to ship it to my address. After I got it, on day 25, we set up the trap on the vacant property where Milich was last seen, following the trapping advice. We left it there for several days but there weren't traces of any cats passing over that property. We had no cameras and other high tech equipment, only that trap. Eventually it was moved back to the house to attempt trapping near the exit door.
More heavy rains fell, and every available moment I was going door to door, talking to neighbors in that area and searching their yards whenever they allowed me to. It was quite a job since it's a densely populated area. Also, that town is pretty much a dog town, so almost every yard had a dog which made the situation even more difficult. I also had to travel twice more over the next 2 weeks for a couple of days, which slowed me down even more but I didn't want to give up. On day 26, while I was leaving for one of the travels, I received a phone call from a man, saying that his 5yrs old daughter claimed she saw and was petting my cat the previous evening, near a betting office which is right across from the house. The girl couldn't remember the red collar, but the cat was meowing and approached her. I took that with great reserve, since that would be very untypical behavior for my cat who is very very timid. However, the girl claimed "it was the muzzle from the flyer". I didn't quite believe it.
I continued searching every available moment and managed to distribute 600 flyers in the houses and buildings in the supposed cat-trail area. I was getting very exhausted. Another 2 weeks passed by without any new signs or traces and I started doubting he was still around. We attempted trapping near the exit door of the house and managed to trap 2 stray cats on 2 different nights, but since we had no option for keeping them somewhere we had to release them.
I came back from my second short travel and decided to try to apply an energy technique I learned on the trip (don't laugh, it's not some mumbo-jumbo, it's a very powerful energetic tool :). I wanted to apply it to finding my cat. I got instructions from my teacher and did the procedure on the place he ran away from and on the vacant property he was last seen for sure. Both procedures showed that he was still near those spots which brought me back my confidence. It was day 39, but I had to go back to my town for work.
On Saturday, day 41, I went again to search in the street that was shown in my procedure and one of the neighbors that I didn't meet before confirmed he saw my cat 2 days earlier there, with red collar (exactly on the day I did my procedure). I went to the houses and yards around to search again, with no success. I instructed everyone I spoke to what to do if they see him and possibly catch him. By that time the whole area was familiar with Milich and the search and I decided I needed to have some confidence in the neighbors because I was getting very exhausted. All the time I had the support of my friend who was cat-sitting, but since she is not very mobile due to a health condition, most of the time I did the search by myself or with her son, who again has his own life.
Earlier I had decided that it would be my last day of active search since my life was upside down already and I tried everything that I was capable of. I said goodbye to my friend and started walking toward the bus station to go home.
And then I saw a cat strikingly alike Milich in a yard about 20 meters from my friends house! I went to that yard twice before but since it's the yard of a big power transformer station, the guard never let me in to do the search for safety reasons. I gave him the flyer and told him to call if he spots the cat. It was a perfect hiding place. No dogs could go in, generally there were no people either except for the guard who was coming in twice a day to check and take care of the yard. It was locked all the time, with high iron fence that I couldn't jump over. Every time I would come and go, I was passing by that yard and always looked inside through the fence but never saw any cats until now.
Since it was locked, I tried to call the cat, he turned around to me and started meowing but didn't approach. Meowing reminded me right away of the little girl's story how "it was the muzzle", and the betting office was just 15 meters away. He was very thin and sunbathing in the yard and behaved like he owned the space, which was also strange to me as I expected him to hide. I wasn't sure it was him at all. I started going around the fence and tried to lure him with food or get him to approach, but he would just look at me, meow and kept laying in the grass in the sunset. I decided to wait and see what happens and if he moves any closer so I could confirm if it was Milich. I went around the yard for an hour when finally the guard came by on a bicycle and I showed him the cat so he finally let me in. I approached slowly and quietly and offered food and Milich, I finally recognized it was him, jumped on the food, he was that hungry he didn't even register me. I managed to take him in my arms, he was so weak that he didn't resist at all. When I took him to the house, closed the door and gave him to eat, it was only after that that he recognized me, started purring like crazy and climbing up my neck.
Then a friend drove us home and now we're back together. On the first day he just slept and was very exhausted and weak, but now, after five days, he's doing amazing, put some weight, got his old habits back and generally he's not letting me out of his sight :) And here are 2 reunion selfies!
I want to thank you again for all the communication and advice you gave me - it brought me confidence and faith and kept me going for 41 day of search. One more success for you!
On May 31, 2016 4:28 AM, "Lost Cat Finder" > wrote:
How is she doing??
Please fill me in! I am dying to hear the story!
KIM / Lost Cat Finder
On 31 May 2016 at 07:41, Nevena wrote:
She's doing great, getting stronger every day and getting her old spoiled character back 😉 I'll tell you everything, sorry, since this search took so much time and I am very much behind with my daily job, I have to make it up these days. Story and photo coming soon!
On May 28, 2016, at 1:42 PM, Nevena wrote:
Kim I found her!! I'll tell you all the details tomorrow! 41 day!
Thanks so much for everything!