I love cats. Anyone who knows me well probably rolled their eyes at that sentence.
A small stray cat showed up on my back deck a few weeks ago, but I only got glimpses since she would immediately run away if either of us went outside. After seeing her for nearly a week, I broke down and put a plate of food outside. Then it only took a day of feeding her for her to tentatively approach me for some chin scratches. I promptly named her Molly.
When I was able to get close enough to her, I took her photo and posted on the app Nextdoor to see if she was missing from a nearby home. While no one on the app claimed her, a few comments gave me new information. First, that she was a “tortie siamese” and second, it introduced me to Pawboost.
Pawboost is a site for you to post about lost or found pets. It automatically makes a flyer for you and shares posts to nearby shelters and social media groups. I made a Pawboost flyer for Molly and searched the Lost pet section but didn’t find any matches.
I was convinced Molly was 6-12 months old due to her petite figure. My 11-pound fluff ball Venus is neither trim nor obese, but she looked like a giant compared to maybe-5-pound Molly. Obviously some of that was from being a stray and not having a consistent source of food, but it also led me to believe she was a younger cat.
I made a vet appointment for her thinking I would have to rehome her, therefore it would be good to know if she had any diseases or heaven forbid if she was pregnant. Cats can get pregnant as young as 4 months old!
I also asked the vet to check for a microchip, and she had one. I was thrilled! I also learned that this “adolescent” cat was nearly 10 years old! She was clear of disease and got a new rabies vaccine, and I went home with the name, phone number, and address of the owner.
Unfortunately, the number was out of service and the address was from Birmingham, Alabama. I wasn’t deterred, though, since I pride myself on being an expert Googler.
Zillow.com was my first stop. I searched the Birmingham address and found the public record of the sale in 2011 matched the name of the owner I had. Unfortunately it was a for sale by owner, so there was no real estate agent or company involved that I could contact.
Then I turned to Facebook. I found a number of women with that name and sent them messages. I wasn’t too hopeful about this since these messages would end up in their “Message request” folders that they probably wouldn’t see.
I also searched white pages, searched the phone number, phone number plus name, etc. There are plenty of website that offer to give you a “full report” on someone and make you jump through 17 hoops and have a “progress bar” on each page telling you how close it is to being ready only to ask for $20 at the end.
Public records was the best bet. I was able to find the woman I was looking for and a list of her “possible relatives.” One of the women I found on Facebook had a daughter that matched a name on that list, so I thought it might be her.
Then I posted in a Lost and Found pet group on Facebook with the full amount of information I had – the name of the owner, the cat’s name, the fact that the contact information was out of date, and that she previously came from Birmingham. This proved to be the most helpful since the people in these groups are highly motivated and awesome. One of the women was able to get her friend request accepted by the daughter who said the cat had been missing for nearly 7 months!
Armed with the knowledge that I had the correct person, I again messaged the owner and searched the company she worked for. I found her website and sent an email to both her and her husband. The phone number listed for her was the one that was out of service, and Josh told me it wasn’t acceptable to call her husband at 8:15 am on a Saturday morning, so I waited until 10:30 to give him a call.
Success! After some phone tag and texting, I reached the daughter – it was actually her cat – and we met up. The best part: the cat’s name is Mollie!
The power of the internet is real, and there are lost & found pet groups all over the place with stories of pets being lost even longer than Mollie. It doesn’t hurt to get your pet microchipped as well. It definitely convinced me!