Lost Cat – Autumn
Early on a Tuesday morning in May 2016 our cat Autumn slipped out an open door. Autumn was a recent adoption and very skittish, so being outside her only comfortable territory she quickly went into panic mode and ran to hide around the back of our house. Our first instinct was to try to corner/catch her, but this scared her even more, driving Autumn to run through neighbor’s yards and out of sight. Unsure of what to do my wife and I began searching online, finding Amy and Wandering Tails.
We received two traditional humane traps from our local animal control group and Tru-Catch traps from Amy along with flyers, posters, wild life cameras, and a baby monitor. It took nearly a week of chumming our yard to attract Autumn back into our yard, and another week before we had her eating in the presence of the traps. Meanwhile, we spent our evenings walking through our neighborhood, passing out flyers, putting up posters, and following up on leads. Our efforts were confounded by a lookalike cat that had been a fixture in the neighborhood for years. Frequently we would get calls and texts from people who had seen this cat, but had little luck with sightings of our cat.
Every morning we would email Amy updates and get tips and advice on next steps, things to try, locations to put up posters or pass our flyers. Her encouragement and enthusiasm were especially helpful on days where we didn’t see Autumn on the cameras or where it appeared another animal or a loud event (we were contending with construction, outdoor parties, and fireworks at various point) might have scared her out of our yard for the night. Slowly we started seeing Autumn with more and more regularity on the wildlife cameras, and after nearly six weeks we felt that she was coming through consistently enough and was comfortable enough eating from our traps that we could try to catch her.
Over the course of trapping we caught several neighborhood cats, raccoons, and possums, but still no Autumn. Because we were catching many other animals we would swap out traps after each capture to prevent scents from lingering. Unfortunately we suffered two big setbacks both related to the traditional style animal traps – first we had a night where Autumn was able to eat from the trap without triggering the mechanism, and second we managed to capture Autumn, but she was able to knock the back latch of the trap free and escape.
Desperate, we redoubled our flyer and poster efforts. Luckily for us, the same day she escaped a neighbor texted us a picture of Autumn sitting in their yard. She had traveled a few houses further than we thought, and in the direction we least suspected her to have traveled, but she was there happy and healthy after escaping our trap. If not for our flyers and posters these neighbors likely never would have known she was a missing cat, and we never would have known she was living in their yard.
It took another few weeks of feeding, re-training her to eat from the trap, and a few sleepless nights watching the trap on the baby monitor but we caught her. In total it had been 57 days between escape and capture. Aside from a little weight loss Autumn was perfectly healthy and very happy to be back home with her siblings.
Susanne & Corey
Lost Cat - Lil
Working with Amy was such an absolute pleasure, I honestly couldn't say enough to do it justice. From our very first phone call, I felt comforted. The best advice that Amy gave me and that I cannot stress how important it is - do not lose hope. Even if you are still going in a somewhat robotic way, just do it. Do what Amy tells you to do, the most you can do - even if it seems unimportant or unnecessary, even if you think 'the food wasn't touched, so no one came' - I watched the first night of videos after having found my cat, only to realize that he had come onto our porch the very first night! I can't stress how important it is to not abandon hope and think there is nothing you can do.. there is SO much you can do. Even if it seems like it has no 'return' i.e. a search not ending with the cat in your arms - it still does so much and Amy will explain all that and will guide you through everything and she is just an absolute expert!! She told me to set the trap (that led to getting my cat back) just for an hour or so, exactly how and where (having been on the premises) - it was so close to dusk that it wouldn't have been that crazy for me to be like 'whatever, I'll do it tomorrow, what's the difference' - I caught my cat in that one hour!! All the difference in the world. If you feel like you've done everything that you can, you should still at least talk to Amy - it's always helpful to have an expert guide you through details that you might otherwise write-off as trivial.
Lost Cat- Skittles
On the morning of May 18th, my cat Skittles fell out of the window when the screen broke; when I opened the door to let her in, she bolted into the woods. Immediately I went into recovery mode because she had only been adopted a year earlier from an organization that had trapped her as part of a feral colony in a TNR attempt; but although feral, Skittles showed progress toward adoptability. Therefore, because of her feral past, I knew that recovery from the woods would not be an easy task.
Not a day went by that I didn’t search for her, and in addition to walking over 6 miles daily I bought a thermal imaging camera to help my efforts; although the camera caught many different types of wildlife, it didn’t seem to pinpoint Skittles’ location at all.
I had received several messages and notifications from folks who had seen Skittles missing poster on Facebook. They all had one thing in common - a deceased cat that looked like Skittles laying on the side of the road for over four days, only three miles from my house. I was devastated. I was frantically trying to gather more information, and as I gathered the information I grew more and more concerned because the cat had already been removed by the Department of Public Works. I was able to talk to the Supervisor who had removed the remains from that location, and he revealed that he had not scanned that cat for a microchip.
Knowing all this, I started a petition which was a great catalyst in demanding the cat be scanned. Soon after I found out that the cat that had been laying on the roadway was not Skittles - so I hired Amy from Wandering Tails Pet Recovery. Amy had so many brilliant ideas that I had not considered. Amy and I spoke for nearly 30 minutes, and as I took notes I began to feel hope creep back in; and I knew that if Skittles was near my home (as her personality would predict), than she would be home sooner than I could envision because of Amy’s suggestions.
The day after we spoke, Amy mailed two surveillance cameras to my home, and within a few nights of setting up a feeding station using her specific suggestions I was able to record Skittles feeding just a foot from the camera, and only feet from my home. With the cameras I was able to angle them to see which direction she was coming and going. With that surveillance I could determine her trust with the traps, and that she stayed away from the trap that was covered; however preferred the trap uncovered so she could determine her own ability to remain safe with the peripheral vision it allowed. All of these clues became paramount to trapping her safely.
And because of Amy’s professionalism, and the equipment she has in her possession, Skittles was recovered after 28 days in the woods just feet from my home.
The surveillance cameras are worth their weight in gold to recovering an inside-only cat that’s skittish, and if they are paramount in recovering a skittish indoor-only cat; then it’s safe to assume the recovery potential with other cat personalities is probably much quicker.
Do not delay in calling Amy after your pet goes missing… you will not be disappointed!
Lost Cat - Lila
It’s every cat parent’s worst nightmare…their beloved furry family member goes missing. First there is absolute shock and in my case panic...my 11 month old little girl had never been outside before.
As a volunteer at a small adoption center for homeless cats, I knew the first step was to print up flyers and distribute them as quickly as possible. Next I went to the internet and read dozens of “What to do when your cat goes missing” articles for expert advice. It was DAUNTING to say the least, and with my emotions running the gamut from overwhelming sadness to irrational fear, I was a wreck.
The phone calls and text messages of possible sightings started to come in, I followed up on every single one of them, only to be devastated to learn it was not my Lila. After 4 days of midnight rides across town and endless hours of searching on foot and replenishing flyers that had come down, I began to feel helpless and my hope for a safe and happy reunion started to fade. I convinced myself that she would just one day show up at the kitchen door.
On day 5, I began my early morning rounds of the neighborhood. Shortly into my walk through a parking lot, looking under cars, I heard a voice from the distance. It was a local, yelling at me for having crossed through the lot for the hundredth time, she scolded me and told me I was ridiculous and asked that I not return. It was at that moment I felt defeated, rather than continuing my search, I came home and cried for an hour, I was ready to give up. But my heart would not allow that and I once again took to the internet to see if there was something…ANYTHING I had not yet tried, giving up hope was just NOT AN OPTION! I suddenly felt a very strong connection to Lila and I promised her I would never give up, she was still out there and she needed me.
At that very moment, I stumbled upon a link for “Pet Recovery Services”, my heart skipped many beats as I followed the link praying there was one in Massachusetts. And there it was….Wandering Tails…and they were only a few towns over from me. After talking with Amy and meeting her later that evening, we put her plan in motion- I smiled for the first time in nearly a week, I ate for the first time, I got several hours of sound sleep. I was completely replenished with hope and determination, and strangely, a sense of peace. Two nights later, my precious little Lila was home safe!
The moral of this story is NEVER GIVE UP! When my thread of hope was so thin, Amy from Wandering Tails would not let me give up, she was my reassuring voice of reason and my beacon of hope. I am forever grateful to Amy for being the bright beacon of light that safely led Lila home.
Wandering Tails Pet Recovery