My sister thought she had lost her cat for good the other day. She came home late at night after being away for 15 hours and found a window with a screen missing, and her cat was nowhere to be found. She lives just a few blocks from a very busy intersection so of course, we all thought the worst. She had to give up looking at 4 a.m. because she was exhausted and it was dark. Of course she cried herself to sleep.
Being the geek I am, the next morning I read up on websites about how to find a lost cat. I was surprised to learn that an indoor-only cat like hers is usually found pretty close to where it was lost. Their typical response is to get scared in an unfamiliar environment and hide. Things felt a little more hopeful after that, but after at least an hour of searching all the yards near her house, it started to feel hopeless again. We printed up a bunch of "Lost Cat" flyers to put up. We put food and toys out on the porch because cats supposedly can find their way home by smell.
My mom talked to some of the neighbors and one of them had seen a cat run early that morning. She had gone a different direction than the rest of us. We thought he wouldn't go that way because of the big dog next door. She was walking around, shaking a bag of treats when she heard a meow. She stopped, shook the treats again, called the cat's name, and heard a louder meow. Sure enough it was him, about a block from my sister's house, hiding in the bushes. The owner of the house said he had been there for hours, not long after the other person thought he had seen the cat. My sister rode down in my dad's car with a blanket and brought her prodigal son home.
Just thought I'd share this because I would have never expected that an overweight, sort of crazy indoor cat could be found after almost 24 hours of being lost. If you are unlucky enough to find that your cat has escaped, it pays to talk to all of the neighbors, even the weird ones, and to spread out about a block or two in each direction. We're all really glad he made it home safely.