New Hope Woman Reunites with Cat Thanks to Persistent Neighbor
Lori Hackett still remembers how she felt when her cat named Fitz accidentally got out of her New Hope home in November.
“Devastated immediately,” recalled Hackett. “It’s just a really big earth and you are looking for a little cat.”
By the time night fell on that November day, Hackett says she was terrified.
“I realized very quickly it was basically like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Hackett.
She put signs up and started scouring her neighborhood.
“It was trying not to lose hope as we were looking for him,” said Hackett.
A neighbor saw Lori’s missing pet flyer and reached out.
“It was recent enough that I wanted to get on it right away,” said Erin, who didn’t want her last name revealed.
Erin is passionate about rescuing cats.
“A lot of people picked up a COVID hobby and mine was rescuing cats,” said Erin.
She looked for tracks in the snow and she also uses traps, filled with straw for warmth.
Searching for a Lost Cat
Mary Tan with the Animal Humane Society also helps find lost cats.
“You need to get in the mind of your cat. What triggers them? Where do they go,” said Tan.
Tan says only five percent of cats are reunited with their owners and often a search for a lost cat doesn’t generate the same interest as a search for a lost dog. However, Tan says you shouldn’t give up. She advises starting your search near your home.
“If it’s an indoor cat, it tends to be found a three houses away. They are going to stay pretty close because they are going to be scared,” said Tan. “If your cat is scared and climbs under the bed, chances are when it’s outdoors and lost it’s going to stay low to the ground, and go under decks and porches so, you need to look low. On the contrary though, if your cat is a climber, you are going to have to look up. It’s fool proof. Animals always instinctively do the same thing when they are fearful and a lot of cats, especially indoor cats are going to be fearful if they are outside.”
Once you canvass your neighborhood with flyers and talk to your neighbors, Tan says post on your local Nextdoor page and alert your local police department that you are missing a cat. Tan says most importantly, keep your search local.
“It’s calling your local police department and flyer-ing everything. Your number one resource is going to be Nextdoor,” said Tan. “Nextdoor has one of the highest reunification rates for animals.”
Tan also reminds people that microchips which are frequently used on pets do not work like GPS. Instead, they are used to provide a name and a phone number for the pet’s owner. Tan says often the phone number has been disconnected and is no help locating the lost pet’s owner. She advises to make sure the microchip is always updated with accurate contact information.
Lori Hackett and cat searcher Erin did all the right things when it came to finding Fitz.
Another neighbor saw the flyer and tipped off Hackett that Fitz the cat was under a shed. Hackett alerted Erin, and Erin took her trap out to catch him.
“When we caught Fitz, we were just telling them that we needed this win so badly,” said Erin. “With a little bit of dedication, you can save somebody’s pet.”
Hackett was thrilled to have Fitz back home.
“It was such a blessing. Her expertise and giving me that hope to just hang on, there’s still a really good chance that we could find him. That was everything to me. It kept me going, to be honest,” said Hackett.
Erin cautioned Hackett that often lost cats take some time to reacclimate to their indoor surroundings and get over the trauma of being lost, hungry and scared. Hackett said that Fitz was quickly back in her lap, which was perfect for the holidays.
Erin appreciated the gratitude and the “win.”
“We helped save a cat and save it for the holidays,” said Erin. “That’s very rewarding.”