Losing a pet can be traumatic when it ends badly — there are even pet loss chaplains. When I lost my beloved cat last year, I went through many phases. First, everyone said she’d be back, but by day 10, we knew that the chances were diminishing. This was an indoor cat gone walk-about near Penasquitos Canyon, where coyotes roam. That’s when I got on the phone and started calling lost animal retrieval folks, even though I didn’t have 10K to find my feline.
From animal psychics to K9 search and rescue, there are many people in the business of helping you find your pet, scams and all. It was day twelve when I talked to a professional out of Washington state, who told me this tip:
“Your pet knows your individual scent best, and your scent is strongest in your sweat and urine.”
He advised me to cut up used socks and anything sweaty that I could part with, into one or two inch squares. He told me to collect urine in a bottle. Then he told me to transfer it to a spray bottle, and to go out of the house spraying every few feet and leaving fabric and spray on bushes and vegetation.
“The idea is to spray out several paths in a half mile or so radius from one’s home, to guide the pet home. Like the little matchstick girl.
I put the spray bottle in a handy dandy brown paper bag, and when accosted by a suspicious neighbor as to what I was doing, I said, ‘Looking for my cat.’ That mystified him enough to leave me alone, so it may be useful in case you, too, are busted spraying your scent on public trees and shrubs in search of your beloved animal companion.
Then — the last thing was to leave a way for the animal to come in of its own accord during the night. We propped open the patio door, just four inches. At 3am, we heard meowing, and lo, my beloved kitty, practically weightless from lack of food and water, sat in our living room table, clamoring for attention, glad to be home.
I am so grateful to the K9 search and rescue professional that I often call the numbers on lost petads to tell them of this technique that worked a miracle for us. Let this column help those it may. Good luck, and please pass the technique on.