This is primarily for lost cats, but of course, some of them have dogs as well.
Tips at the top, recommended Internet sites at the bottom.
THE TIP SECTION
STUFF TO DO NEAR YOUR HOUSE – this is HUGE to do. Most important.
POSTERS - All this Internet stuff is great but large obnoxious Florescent Posters work really, really well.
Your cat has not marked their scent outside, so they can’t smell their way home. They are totally lost. Especially now that it has rained and snowed. PUT THEIR LITTER OUTSIDE. Put YOUR scent, or the scent of their favorite person OUTSIDE. Most don’t roam too far. There is a good chance they will smell it and be able to find you.
Make sure your neighbors are aware of your lost pet. Put smaller version of the poster in their mailboxes – as well as the corner stores if possible.
If you walk around looking for your cat, look and call for them when it is very quiet out. That means early or late hours. Be safe and don’t be dumb – do this with a friend. Assume your animal is afraid, and move slowly. Remember winter clothes mean they can’t smell you. So maybe bring a bit of your cats litter or a bit of worn smelly clothing with you as well, to tip them off that you are around because your voice might not.
There is no guarantee your animal will make it onto the Internet. It’s a tool. Once a week (more or less) walk around your shelters – all of them – including isolation/sick areas – and look at all the animals yourself. There really is no substitution for this.
And if you are lonely – foster one of those sick animals for a couple weeks until they get well and can be adopted to their new home. They will be grateful, and so will you.
SEARCHING tips on individual Internet sites below (if search is available)
As SIMPLE as possible – searches on all these sites are really bad, you can test it. I would recommend using “cat” as much as possible. Why? Because people could describe a cat many different ways. For example, “tuxedo cat” or “black white cat” or sometimes people just say “black cat” for a “tuxedo cat”. I’ve seen it. Insane. So – just search for “cat” even if you want to try other variations. I guarantee with “cat” some will turn up that your “better” descriptions missed.
Get your mindset straight.
Don’t expect your animal to come to you, easily. You will have to work to get them back. You are the most motivated to get your own cat home, right? You will have to pay attention to the found animals out there, and do the work of posting your lost ad. But you can. Just expect that you will need to put hours in. Basically, this is homework, kids. But this is homework you really want to do because your friend is depending on you to save them from the pound.
Expect them to immediately turn into adoptable animals. Many do. Even if you notified and did all the right things, people don’t pay attention and most likely staff is overwhelmed. They will try but they will not remember. Do NOT make the mistake of assuming they will. They can’t. They are drowning in animals who need homes and trying to take care of them, and it’s overwhelming. They do the best they can but they are very outnumbered. But YOU, you are focused on your one buddy. I’m giving you tools. Use them.
AD posting tips:
VERY IMPORTANT: Most of those sites do not let you post photos SO – post to www.flickr.com and put the link in your ad.
Images are HUGELY important.This way, I swear people will be able to help you more. Photos get more attention. They get the MOST attention. Otherwise, it’s really just noise. We’re all in a hurry. When I look, I can’t help it – I look at photos most because these are the people, I think, who want their animal home. Text descriptions just don’t do the job well.
The text descriptions, however are important for search terms, even if you do have a photo. So your ad – Put the details first – colors, pattern, what their ears look like, hair length, nose color, male, female anything that might help identify your animal and cut down on the spam. Anything you think someone would use should they find your animal. Then put your zip code, what town or what area of Philly you are in – street names too if you want but basically what town and zip. Think google maps. No way I know your area that well. I rent, I move and I don’t drive. So do many others. Please don’t assume we know, safely assume we’re idiots who are also from out of town, like me. :) Dumb it down. It’s ok.
Remember that ads expire. Keep them active because your cat can hide for awhile, or a good samaritan or agency could be slow putting an ad up or searching. It happens. Many times, I’ll search on all the sites before I put my found ad up.
Here are the sites:
SEARCH these sites:
Philadelphia SPCA: http://www.pspca.org/adoption_centers
PAWS Philly http://www.phillypaws.org/Adopt/default.asp
Delaware County, PA SPCA http://www.delcospca.org/
Camden County SPCA: http://www.ccasnj.org/ (it’s only right across the bridge)
Northeast Animal Rescue http://members.petfinder.com/~PA283/index.html
Womans Humane Society: http://whspets.rescuegroups.org/
Montgomery County SPCA http://www.montgomerycountyspca.org/
Bucks County SPCA http://www.bcspca.org/
Main Line Rescue http://www.mainlinerescue.com/animals/list
Adoptapet http://www.adoptapet.com is sometimes useful, there are a lot of pets on there. And they also list other shelters in your area. This list is not everything!
Petfinder www.petfinder.com has animals from many shelters. Too many animals from shelters and no way to sift through them easily by color/pattern. It will take some serious time to hunt through here. Zip code parsing is odd but it eventually comes back to your area again. No way to skip through the ones you think don’t apply.
Small Cat ONLY Rescues: Little bitty places who rescue cats you never knew about: These are my go-tos but there are more out there.
Green Street Rescue http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/PA422.html
City Kitties adopt list http://www.citykitties.org/adopt/index.html
City Kitties neighborhood classified list http://www.citykitties.org/adopt/neighborhood.html
Flat Iron wildcats http://www.flatironwildcats.com/adopt.htm
Feline Pipeline http://www.felinepipeline.net/
Stray cat blues http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/straycatblues.html
Cat Angel Network www.catangel.org
FFUR: The Foundation for Feline Urban Rescue http://www.ffur.org/catlog/index.php/site/catlog/C4/
Catnip Cats (Springfield, PA) http://www.catnipcats.org/catnipcats/Welcome.html
POST AND SEARCH on these sites or as many of the places below as you can:
Petfinder classified: http://www.petfinder.com/local.html
Future Best Friend lost/found: http://www.futurebestfriend.com/lostandfound.html
Craigslist philly lost and found: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/laf/
Craigslist philly pets: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/pet/
www. tabbytracker.com is just a fyi – not what I would recommend unless you put a photo b/c they don’t let you put decent info on there – and even then, blech.
Good luck. I really hope you find your animal. There are lots of nice people out there who help, if they see your ad, and even if they don’t. Keep posting be very visible and many times, you can get your buddy home.