Things have been strange in the
Kapellen household for the past 48 hours. On Monday evening, our sweet
cat, Coco, slipped out of our apartment. No one saw her leave, so we didn’t
know to go looking for her right away, and it wasn’t until much later that we
realized she was missing. After scouring our entire apartment looking for her
(I mean, we even searched in the washer and dryer), we could not find her. I
remember the panic inside kept increasing as we searched every room with no
success. Finally coming to the realization that she most likely escaped, Jake
grabbed a flashlight and dashed outside to look. I, however, had to stay
behind, as Joel was fast asleep in his crib. I felt so helpless, but tried to
be hopeful. I tend not to cry right away when faced with difficult situations –
they seem to take me much longer to process. So, I sat in shock, just waiting
and waiting. Discouraged and upset, Jake came through the door without Coco. It
was late, so we decided to quit our efforts with heavy hearts (what else can
you do at 11:30 at night?), and settled into a relatively sleepless night.
|Here's our Coco...almost always flopped over in some fashion. :0)|
They say you “don’t know what
you’ve got until it’s gone,” and I guess that goes for some things. However, the
thing is that we love Coco and have appreciated every moment with her. She is
the sweetest, most docile animal I have ever met. Joel often nuzzles his drool-filled face all
over her, pulls on her tail, and she doesn’t even care. In fact, she purrs
through it and so fiercely that she twitches! I can honestly say that I’ve never
met a happier cat, and if you know us well, we’ve probably told you all about
her – she’s just that sort of cat. Or if you’ve visited our apartment, she’s probably
flopped over on her back, begging for a belly-rub, and hopped onto your lap for
a good cuddle. Joel squeals every time she’s near him and she constantly prods
him to chase her around. Who couldn’t love a cat like that? Even if she weren’t
so amazing, we’d love her anyway. I keep thinking that she’s here somewhere and
that I’ll see her when I go outside, or glance out the window.
heartbreaking is that Joel just learned Coco’s name recently, and if you ask him
where Coco is, he will look around. Our other cat, Minnie, has been sniffing around
for Coco and has incidentally been more snuggl-y than usual. Although Coco and
Minnie weren’t necessarily the best of friends (mostly due to Minnie), you can
tell that she is just waiting for Coco to chase her through the apartment or
engage in a good wrestling match. We are all feeling her absence so acutely…
Even if you can’t change a situation,
sometimes there is just relief in doing
something. So, Joel and I donned rain jackets and walked around the
neighborhood calling Coco’s name. The more I called to her, the more discouraged
I became. My mind began to race. “What if
she’s hurt? What if someone found her and decided that they’d keep her? Is she
cold and lonely? Does she know how much we love her? What if we never see her
again?” Then, I began to feel
desperate, and that’s when I lost it. Joel and I were in the middle of a nearby
field looking for her (it was probably quite the sight…a mom carrying a baby in
the mud, wandering aimlessly). I just sobbed. I hadn’t cried much until that
point. I guess I was in shock and could hardly believe that she’s missing. When
Joel noticed my tears, he just sweetly smiled. I am so grateful to have this wonderfully cute baby boy to cheer me up!
At this point, I feel like we all could use a dose of
|That face! |
Though it’s easy to feel
overwhelmed when you lose your pet, it’s important to remember that there are
many important action steps to take (and maybe some you haven’t thought of!). Here’s
a summary of my findings from several websites, friends, and care
representatives at animal shelters and veterinary clinics. Some are obvious,
but I’m a person who appreciates a good list and helpful tips. J Please check your
local humane society’s website for more search tips.
– inside and out!
Check behind drapes, under beds, ledges, any
furniture, closets, etc. Search EVERYTHING in your home! [i]
Indoor cats are usually frightened when outside,
and often will cling close to a building or hide in nearby bushes, and under cars
or porches. Call out to your pet by her name, and bring a bag of treats along
and shake them. Be sure that you've searched inside too.
Enlist friends and accept any and all offers for
help. The more eyes you have out there, the better!
Think like your pet. Remember the “fun” activity
for ice breakers where you have to pretend you’re an animal? Well, now’s your
chance to re-live it. Try to think of where you’d hide or where you would go if
you were your pet.[ii]
Go out at night when it’s quiet outside and call
to your pet. Remember that cats are most active between the hours of 1-5 AM, so
go outside and call to them.
Always keep in mind your pet’s personality when
searching. Instruct others to use caution if your pet is skittish, or if your
pet prefers adults to children, etc.
Check your pet records.
If your pet has a micro-chip, look up the
microchip company and contact them. Companies such as 24Petchwatch and Home
Again will send an email blast to people in the vicinity. Be sure to have your
micro-chip number handy!
3) Make “lost
pet” signs and post online.
signs with your contact information, and a picture/description of your cat, and
your cat’s name. Be sure to include some key personality traits, like, “shy,”
“vocal,” likes/dislikes, or any other distinctive traits. Remember that
Place these signs on traffic light poles, signs,
etc. (it’s always a good idea to do an online search for any rules/regulations
your city has about posting signs).
Ask local restaurants, businesses, schools,
churches, etc., if you can post a sign on their bulletin board if they have
ads in your local newspapers, community newsletters, and Craigslist.
Hit up Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other
social network you can think of.
Call your local veterinary clinics, humane
societies, as well as the police department. Often times, people will call
veterinary clinics and the police because they aren’t sure whom else to call.
Along with calling the humane society, check
their website daily for any postings of lost pets. Ask them if you can submit
pictures and a description to keep on file.
Even better, visit there 2 to 3 times a week.
You know your pet best, so you’ll be able to identify him quickly!
your pet to come home.
Place a bowl of water and their food dish either
on your front steps, or better yet, crack your garage door a bit and put the
place out a blanket or pet bed with familiar scents of home. You may also go as
far as to fill a box with litter (if you have a cat) and set that outside maybe
alongside a favorite toy. The strong scent of the litter will attract your cat
to her personal scent, and it will not attract other animals. These steps may
seem crazy, but if your pet is still around your home, some comfort and
familiarity may be enough to steer your pet back to you!
After a couple of weeks, re-post your signs with
ones saying “still lost!”
I know that it’s hard (I’m there right now too),
but remember that your pet can survive outside. If they’re thirsty, they’ll
know to find water. If they’re hungry, they’ll keep searching until they find
some. Know that many people are reunited with their animals days, months, and
even weeks later!
I never thought that I’d experience
losing a pet. As many unfortunate events in life, you just don’t think they
will happen to you. And I suppose that’s a good thing. However, when horrible
things happen, we should have hope, no, we must
have it. Hope does more than get us through, it sustains us. I know this is
when I personally must lean on God. I know that he answers prayers; and have
seen much evidence of this in my life and in those close to me.
So, Coco, where ever you are on
your grand adventure, we hope you are safe. Please enjoy your time exploring,
but come home soon. When you’re ready to come home, we are here waiting with
many hugs, snuggles, and treats! Baby Joel sends you a drool-y kiss!
Labels: hope, lost pet, lost pet tips, pet search