Find lost cat who’s in the house

If your cat gets out of their crate, seal all escape points and start searching room-by-room.
It’s easy to do. You’re cleaning the litter tray and you get distracted. You leave their socialisation crate door open and, when you return, Kitty is nowhere to be seen.

You will hopefully have heeded the warnings on other pages and will have all windows only open a small amount, and doors closed, so that your cat will definitely be in your home.  It’s now a matter of finding them.

On this page

How to find them

  1. Secure the house Immediately close all external doors and windows. If any were open, it’s possible your cat is outside, so also check out ‘My cat got out of my home‘.
  1. Let everyone know  Warn all household members that Kitty is out.
  1. Close internal doors  Close as many doors in the house as you can, so that you can more easily find them and stop them running to another area.
  1. Search each room  Search each area very thoroughly. Think like a frightened cat – look in tiny spaces.
  1. Use a torch at night  If you can’t find them during daylight, search at night with a torch – their eyeshine will reflect the light.
  1. Put food, water and litter in each room  If you still can’t find them, keep as many rooms closed as you can and put food, water and a litter tray in each room. They’ll come out for food when you’re asleep. You’ll be able to narrow down where they are.

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Where to look

Real cats have hidden in these real places.

Kitchen

  • Between the fridge motor and fridge
  • In the motor cavity of an upright freezer, in a gap 15cm x 20cm
  • On top of the fridge
  • By dropping down the gap between the base of the kitchen sink and back of the kitchen cupboard
  • In the dishwasher
  • Between the dishwasher and cupboard
  • Behind the microwave
  • In the cutlery drawer
  • In cupboards
  • In the pantry
  • In the fridge (he couldn’t resist the food offerings and snuck in when the door was open)
  • On chairs under tables

Lounge room

  • Up the flu behind the heater – roof tiles and plaster had to be removed to retriever her
  • Under the sofa
  • Inside the sofa
  • Under a reclining lounge chair (and she got her arm stuck in the wire, requiring careful removal)
  • In a vent in wall
  • By removing a ducted heating vent cover and entering the ducting.
  • Up the chimney
  • On the curtain rail and pelmet
  • In drawers
  • Behind desks
  • Behind entertainment units
  • Inside entertainment units

Bedroom

  • Under the bed
  • In the lining under a bed
  • In wardrobes
  • In boxes in wardrobes, including on the top shelf
  • In chests of drawers
  • Behind the drawer under the bed
  • In boxes
  • On top of high shelves

Bathroom

  • Behind, in and under bathroom vanity
  • On the S-bend of the toilet
  • On top of the shower screen

Laundry

  • Behind, under and inside the washing machine
  • Behind, under and inside the drier
  • Behind, under and in the sink cupboard

Any room

  • In boxes
  • In cupboards
  • Behind cupboards
  • Under ‘false bottoms’ of cupboards (check with mirror)
  • In drawers
  • On top of high shelves
  • On top of doors
  • On top of curtain rails and pelmets
  • Behind furniture
  • Under furniture
  • On top of furniture

Ceiling space

  • use the manhole to access

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Check out these real-life hiding spots

A chest of drawers makes a comfy hiding spot.

This gap is easy for a cat to get into

Believe it or not, there’s a cat between the dishwasher and cupboard.

Can you see the cat?

Now you can!

One kitty took ten years off his carer’s life by hiding behind here. She thought he’d got out.

The gap behind the microwave. Nothing is too small or too wacky for cats.

We searched the home of a panicked adopter who couldn’t find their new cat. No windows were open and we couldn’t see any escape points.

Looks innocent enough.

But there’s a gap underneath it which is large enough for a frightened cat. When we tilted the cupboard forward, we found him.

Patrice scaled two baby gates when a vet visit was upon her and squeezed through the gap at the top. Cat netting has now been placed over them.

Again, innocent enough.

But there’s enough room under the unit for cats to hide. Pull out the drawer and we find scaredy cat Sachi, lying on top of the DVDs.

Scaredy cat Layla likes resting on the dining chairs under the table.

Unbeknownst to her carer, there’s a cutout section under the table that’s perfect for a scaredy cat to hide in when visitors arrive.

Madeline squeezed through the gap between the kitchen sink and the cutout, dropping to the floor below. She was invisible. Using a torch and a mirror, her carer looked into the gap and could see her.

Madeline wouldn’t come out, so her carer had to cut through the back of the cupboard with a hole saw. It became a favourite spot of scaredy foster cats.

Ophir took things one step further with this same kitchen cupboard. Again, unbeknownst to his carer, the back doesn’t extend to floor level. There’s a gap large enough for a scaredy cat and Ophir took advantage of this. It took some time to find him. This photo was taken by holding a mobile phone below the back of the cupboard – the gap isn’t visible to people.

Mia also got under a similar cupboard, through the back. A trap was tried for about five days, but she wouldn’t budge. A handyperson removed the bottom board of the cupboard, but she was still too far back for people to reach. A catch pole was borrowed from a council and placed around her neck to pull her out.

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Once you’ve found them

  1. Avoid chasing  Once you’ve found where they are, unless you can normally pick them up, don’t try to chase them to grab them – it will stress them and may set back their progress.
  2. Use food to lure them back to the crate  Start feeding them in a carrier in the area, or use food to lure them back to where their crate is. Don’t panic if it takes a couple of days. As long as you know where they are, and they can’t get out, food will eventually win them over. If need be, you could try trapping them with a humane trap.

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Didn’t find them inside?

Check for any holes in walls – these could be behind furniture, inside cupboards

Check that ducted heating vent covers are in place. If not, your cat may have lifted off the vent cover and they could be in the ducting.

If you had a window or door open, they may have got outside. Prepare your outside search plan.

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