(1) Do not waste any time, call PPAR and other animal rescue groups to let us know about the situation of your lost pet, and begin your search as soon as you notice that your companion animal is missing.
(2) Try to find the local police contact for your residential area. It is always possible that the police may have been picked up your animal and placed it in the local government facility. Often, you only have 48 hours to retrieve the pet (and they do not always inform owners that the pet has been taken before it is euthanized). If the local security in your building/compound speak only Chinese, find someone bi-lingual to assist you.
(3) Ask everybody: neighbors, children, mail carriers, passersby. Show them a photo of your pet. Even if they have not seen him, they may be willing to keep their eyes open. If you are in an area with more local Chinese residents, see if you can enlist assistance from a bi-lingual neighbor or have someone translate to the management and security of your building/complex, neighbors, etc. that your pet is missing.
(4) Put a “lost pet” ad in the local expatriate newspapers and websites. The ad should be titled “Lost Cat” or “Lost Dog” and should include your phone number, the date that the animal was lost, where the pet was last seen, and a brief description containing the animal’s name, breed, color, gender, age, and whether the pet was wearing a collar. Please note that, if you are offering a reward, you might want to leave out the information on the pet’s gender, in order to avoid scam artists. It is not a good idea to place a listing in a local newspaper as it might attract ruthless/desperate people.
(5) Create a bi-lingual flyer with the pet’s photo, a brief description and your phone number. Distribute the flyers and post them on telephone poles in the area where you lost the pet. However, be very careful where you place such notices (and do not include your address, just your contact phone number) as there are ruthless local people, who may show up at your doorstep with an animal they have “decided” is yours and will not leave without a reward (or worse, if you say it is not your pet, they may just throw the animal on the ground and walk away … thereby taking an already abandoned animal to a new territory where it might not be able to fend for itself). In other cases, if they do find your animal and expect a reward, it is possible they will use whatever means necessary to catch your pet, some of them quite cruel. If you are located in an expatriate residential complex, putting up flyers is no problem, but if you are living in a more local residential area, you should use flyers only as a last resort.
(6) Contact veterinary hospitals/pet stores and send them a photo of your pet. Ask each of them if any animal fitting your pet’s description has been brought in. Let them help you to ask their customers if they have any information on your lost pet.
(7) Look around your neighborhood carefully (or wherever your pet was lost). Cats can wander into a neighbor’s basement or garage, fall asleep and accidentally get shut in.
(8) Late at night or very early in the morning, when the area is quiet, go to the place where your pet was lost. Bring his favorite food and a flashlight. Call his name and wait to see if he shows up. Try this repeatedly.
(9) If your pet is an indoor cat who does not usually get out, place the litter box outside, where your cat may smell his own scent and recognize his home. (Do not clean it out!)
(10) Don’t give up! Persistence is often the key to finding a lost pet. Some animals have been found after months of being missing.