A: Yes, but only on a limited local level. The lost pet rescue stories in my book reflect a period of my life (1997 – 2000) when I was actively searching for lost pets and was physically able to do so. Now that my book has been published, I have shifted from the role of responding to searches as a pet detective to training and certifying other pet detectives through Missing Pet Partnership, a nonprofit organization that I founded in 2001.
A: I am currently working on a pet detective mystery for young adults, but it needs to be polished before I can sell it. In addition, my second book DOG DETECTIVES: Train Your Dog Find Lost Pets (Dogwise, November 2008) ) does record some of my lost pet cases, primarily those solved by my bloodhound Chase.
A: Yes. My new book DOG DETECTIVES: Train Your Dog to Find Lost Pets (Dogwise, November 2008) offers instruction in how to train your dog while also describing opportunities to work or volunteer in the emerging pet detective industry
A: Yes! As you read in The Lost Pet Chronicles, I founded a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation called Missing Pet Partnership (MPP). Founded in 2001, the development of MPP has been painfully slow. In spite of the fact that the lost pet behavior information posted on our web site and our dedicated volunteers have helped to recover thousands of lost pets, our funds and resources have been limited. We need donations, we need volunteers who can help with fundraising, we need qualified board members with various business skills, and we need assistance with marketing. For more information on how you can help facilitate the development of community-based lost pet services, visit www.MissingPetPartnership.org.
A: YES! I am now available for phone consultations through Missing Pet Partnership, the nonprofit that I founded. The fee is $50.00 for a one-hour consultation and proceeds benefit our nonprofit organization. If you've lost a pet and need help, call Missing Pet Partnership at (253) 529-3999. Please note that we are in Pacific Standard Time zone.
A: A cat with a skittish, shy temperament will almost always hide in silence when it is displaced in unfamiliar territory, and using a baited humane trap as a recovery tool is a highly effective means to recover a lost cat. But most cat owners don’t know this and most animal shelter workers don’t know this! That is why I wrote The Lost Pet Chronicles—so I could help educate pet owners and shelter workers by translating my years of training in the science of finding lost people to the science of finding lost pets. Just educating cat owners about "The Silence Factor" (a panicked cat behavior where they hide nearby and will not break cover or meow) has helped many people recover their cat. Some cats might return home after several days (if they reach the "Threshold Factor" where they become hungry and thirsty enough to break cover), but oftentimes a humane trap is needed to apprehend them.
If most cat owners knew how and where to search for their lost cat, we would probably see a dramatic drop in the stray cat populations. If shelter workers understood that a hissing, spitting cat in a humane trap is NOT necessarily a feral, wild cat, we would have more shelter cats returned to their owners. If TNR groups understood that the skittish "feral" cat that runs and hides when they approach could actually be someone's panicked lost PET (the house cat that would run and hide under the bed when a stranger entered the home), and if they made an aggressive attempt to research lost cat reports from prior months, we would see more cats returned to their home. Even if TNR groups scanned all cats for microchips, no matter how "feral" the cat acts, we would return more lost cats to their homes.
Many lost, displaced cats will not break cover (during daylight hours) for weeks or months, long after their owners have given up. If they eventually end up in a shelter, no one claims them and they do not stand a chance of survival.
A: Have you crawled on your stomach under all of your neighbor’'s houses within a 3-house radius of the farthest edge of your cat’'s territory? If your cat has vanished and it is not coming home, it is likely that something is preventing it from returning--physically or behaviorally. It could be trapped (under a house, in a shed, up a tree, etc.) or injured or hiding in fear (behavioral) or someone took it inside or it was transported out of the area. You should obtain permission from all of your neighbors to search under their house and in all hiding places in their front, side, and back yards. One woman recently discovered that her cat, who was "lost" for two weeks was trapped under a neighbor’s house two doors down. She had asked the neighbor to "look" for her cat, but never asked if she could search their yard herself. The cat was dehydrated and hungry, but fine.
Outdoor-access cats are territorial and unless you have physically searched the entire area, you reduce your chances of locating your cat. Do not simply ask your neighbor to look for your cat because their idea of looking is to call you if they see your cat in their yard. Give them a flyer and ask them to call you if they see your cat, hear any unusual noises, or even if they detect the odor of decomposition. Also, stress the importance of allowing you to search their property for your hidden or trapped cat. Read the story about Albert and learn from his owner’s mistake of assuming that Albert had been killed by a coyote, when he was actually trapped in a neighbor’s basement for weeks.
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