The temperament of a cat influences its actions. Understanding how a cat behaves when in its usual surroundings will influence how it behaves when it’s displaced into unfamiliar territory. In addition to posting flyers and checking the cages of local shelters, you should develop a search strategy based on the behavior of your cat. You might not even know what behavior-type your cat falls into. Here’s a guide of the 4 main cat personality types. What kind of cat do you have?
Curious & Clown Cat
These are super-friendly cats that are interested in everything that comes their way, including strangers. They’re not afraid of anything. When displaced, they hide at first, but soon begin to travel and explore their new world. Fluorescent posters within a five block radius is a great strategy to find them. Also, talk to neighbors and search possible hiding places in yards of houses and other areas within a close proximity to the escape point. Although gregarious, you can’t assume this type of cat will come when you call as it might think its having too much fun to come home!
- Careless Cat
These are aloof cats don’t have much interest in people at all. When approached by a stranger they’ll usually just stand back and watch. When lost they’ll likely hide at first and then soon break cover and come back to the door, meow, or possibly travel. The strategy should be to search hiding places nearby and ask neighbors search their yards. Setting a baited human trap is another option.
- Cautious Cat
These cats are generally stable personalities and often show shyness. They like people in general but they dart and hide in the presence of someone new. They hide first and then when everything appears safe they’ll investigate. When lost, they’ll immediately hide and be fearful. If they haven’t been scared off from their initial hiding place, they’ll likely return to the escape point or they’ll meow when they hear their owner’s voice when the owner comes to look for them. This behavior starts within the first two days (after the cat has built up confidence) or not until seven to ten days later when they become hungry and thirsty and have reached and are ready to respond. The strategy for the retrieval of these types of cats would be to conduct a tight search in neighbors’ yards and to set baited humane traps.
- Catatonic & Xenophobic Cat
Xenophobia means “fear of things unknown.” Xenophobic cats are afraid of just about everything. This behavior is hardwired into their character through genetics or experiences they’ve had as kittens. These cats will hide around strangers and they’ll typically not come out until long after the “coast is clear”. They don’t do well with being held or petted and are disturbed by any change in their environment. When lost, they dart away and then hide in silence. They tend to remain in the same hiding place and become frozen with fear. If they’re found by a stranger they’re usually mistaken as being feral. The primary strategy to recover these cats would be to set baited human traps. Xenophobic cats that become lost are usually absorbed into the feral cat population.