‘Look before you lock’ campaign to protect curious felines

Cats Protection are asking the public to check their sheds and garages for cats following a rise in the number of missing felines this summer.

The UK’s leading feline welfare charity is asking people to ‘look before you lock’ to avoid curious kitties being trapped after receiving a spike in missing cat reports last month.

The charity’s national information line handled almost 250 missing cat calls during July – a 60% increase on the monthly average – and this is because cats are more likely to roam during warmer weather.

Nicky Trevorrow, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, said: “The tendency for cats to wander further away from home when the weather is warm explains why there has been an increase in reports of missing cats during this recent heatwave.

“They are notoriously curious creatures that like to investigate their surroundings and unfortunately this can result in them getting trapped in outbuildings. And because cats won’t always meow for attention if they are afraid, the risk is they go unnoticed so we’re asking people to have a really good check before locking up, particularly if you are aware of any cats missing in your area.”

Many owners sadly know the heart-break a missing pet can cause. When Molly Rayment’s cat Wispa went missing from her home in St Albans in May, she feared the worst as it was very unlike the black-and-white moggy to be gone for more than a few hours.

Molly searched the area, posted on social media, contacted local forums and charities, including Cats Protection’s St Alban Branch, notified the microchip company and knocked on neighbours doors.

“She’s called Wispa because she doesn’t meow,” said Molly, “so I knew that if she was locked in anywhere she would have been very scared and wouldn’t be able to let people know she was there.”

Then 20 days after she had last seen Wispa, Molly got a call from one of her neighbours to say they had found a cat in their garage and thought it was her missing moggy. Molly knew as soon as she opened the garage door that it was Wispa, but she was desperately dirty and thin.

A trip to the vets revealed that Wispa weighted just 1.9kg – 2kg less than her normal healthy weight and the vet said she wouldn’t have survived another couple of days.

Wispa is now almost back to her regular weight and is enjoying lots of fuss and cuddles.

More information and advice about Cats Protection’s #LookBeforeYouLockCampaign, including a handy door hanger to remind people can be found at www.cats.org.uk/check-your-shed.