COVID-19 & AN IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING LOST PETS

 In an effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 and with our priority on keeping people and pets in our community healthy and safe, the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) has made the decision to close our facility to the general public until further notice. At this time we can only accept a limited number of animals on an emergency basis, including the following:

  • Stray animals found outside of the city who are in distress due to illness or injury
  • Owner surrender animals who are in distress due to illness or injury or who are unable to find any alternative care arrangements
  • Transfers from partner agencies who have limited or no space for housing animals

If you have found a stray pet outside the city that is sick or injured, please call us at 780-491-3522. For animals found inside the City of Edmonton, please call 311.

For tips on helping healthy animals find their way home or for finding your own lost pet, please see below.

Lost a pet?

Outside of Edmonton?

EHS takes in lost/stray animals from outside the City of Edmonton. 

View found pets in EHS’ care through the link below,
or call our admitting team at 780-491-3522.

View Found Pets at EHS

In the City of Edmonton?

Strays found within the City of Edmonton are taken to
Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC).

See found pets in ACCC’s care by clicking the link below, or call 311.

View Found Pets at ACCC

Steps to Find Your Lost Pet

We’re sorry to hear about your missing pet. Follow this checklist to help them find their way home:

  • Check with your local animal control by-law or shelter. Links to found pets in our care and in the City of Edmonton’s Animal Care & Control Centre can be found above. You should also check with your local municipality or county.
  • Look closest to home first. Talk with neighbours, the mail carrier and people outside in the area. Also ask neighbours to check hiding spaces such as garages, under decks or porches, and around sheds. Often pets will stay in your area, especially cats, but may find a place to hide. If you’ve lost a cat, the best time to look for them is between dusk and dawn — when streets are quiet, or when it is dark. A lost and hiding cat will come out in the dark to look for food. Take a flashlight with you and search under parked cars, in yards and under bushes as well as in alleys.
  • Create a lost pet posting online. Use websites like PawBoost and Kijiji to create a posting, which you can then share to your personal social media as well as your local lost and found pet groups and community groups on Facebook.
  • Put up lost pet posters around the neighbourhood. When you create your online listing with Pawboost, you will also get a free poster template that you can use. Be sure to complete the information by describing them as best as possible and having a clear a photo. Print and post on street posts as you search your neighbourhood, as well as in nearby grocery stores, laundromats, pet stores and vet clinics. To avoid littering, please make sure these posters are removed when your pet is found.
  • Ensure your pet is wearing a collar or harness with an up-to-date identification tag. If someone finds your lost pet, they can refer to your pet’s identification tag to find your phone number and contact you directly. This prevents your pet from having to be brought to an animal shelter or veterinary clinic to have their microchip or tattoo traced, expediting reunification. If your contact information changes, remember to update it with your veterinarian, microchip company, and the municipality your pet license is registered to (such as the City of Edmonton’s Animal Care & Control Centre).
  • Set up a temporary space to welcome them home. Leave out fresh food and water outside on a porch or in a sheltered area close to your home, or consider a cardboard box lined with an old towel or other familiar items to your pet. This not only offers an incentive to stay but could save its life in harsh weather. Check the box and food supply regularly, especially during quiet evening and early morning hours.

Most importantly, don’t give up! Ensure you continue to look for your pet beyond a few days as occasionally animals may take some time to arrive at an animal shelter. Some pets even get returned to their guardians after having been missing for months or years!

Dogs that run away, usually escape for one of three common reasons: they’re following an alluring scent (including during mating season), they were escaping in panic – often as a result of a terrifying sound (like fireworks), or a gate that was supposed to be closed was left open. Lost dogs almost always ROAM.

How far your dog will travel depends on a few things:

  • Weather: Bad weather may deter your dog from travelling far distances, whereas nice weather might promote further exploration.
  • Terrain: Dogs in residential areas typically travel less distance than in rural areas, because of obstacles such as fences.
  • Your dog’s appearance and temperament: People are more likely to contain a small or sociable dog rather than a large or aggressive dog. Similarly, “pure-breed” looking dogs are more likely to be perceived as owned then a stray and individuals may be more confident that it’s a lost pet someone is looking for.
  • Population density: Areas with low numbers of people mean the chances of finding the dog near the escape point drastically decreases, as fewer people will see him, and he has fewer barriers (fences, busy streets, buildings) to slow him down.

Keeping these things in mind will help you determine how far from home you should expand your search. For animals missing from an acreage, smaller rural communities or homes located on the edge of town – consider other communities near by for both your physical searches and online posting.

If your cat was just lost, the good news is that cats are often found nearby. Cats generally hide when they are lost. They like to stay in the area they’re most familiar with. A recent study showed that 75% of cats were found within a 500 metre radius of where they got lost! This is especially true of cats that don’t normally go outside, they might be more fearful in outdoor environments.

  • Displaced Cats Are Unlikely To Meow… At First:  Not all cats vocalize so if you’re pet normally doesn’t then it is even more unlikely they will if lost. For those that are more vocal, the natural instinct of a cat is to hide in silence from predators and they will seek areas of concealment such as under a deck, house, or porch, or in heavy brush. It can take several hours or days for them to reach a threshold to break their cover for a cat to feel secure enough to leave their place of hiding and vocalize (meow) for attention at their current location or at their initial point of escape (such as a window or door). Stay attentive, search multiple times per day, for several days, and listen carefully.
  • For Indoor-Only Cats: If you aren’t sure he has gotten out of the house, search EVERYWHERE in the house first. You may want to set a live trap in the house with a tasty treat in it—making sure you’re checking it every few hours. Trucatch traps are humane and widely accepted as a safe way to recover cats.
  • For Indoor/Outdoor Cats: Cats with some access to the outdoors may encounter an incident that deters or prevents them from returning home. This can be a fight with another animal, being chased, or being spooked by something such as fireworks – which may cause your cat to retreat to an unfamiliar area. Also consider your cat’s preferences and typical behaviour:
    • If the cat is generally more skittish in nature – it could be close by, hiding and too scared to find their way back. You will need to conduct an EXTENSIVE search of the local area. Asking permission from neighbours to look in every conceivable spot the cat could hide.
    • If they are more gregarious, also conduct a thorough search. Considering that your cat may have traveled a greater distance (even a kilometer or two) and you’ll need to knock on doors and post posters at major intersections in the area.
  • When Advertising for a lost cat:
    • Consider offering a reward – this should only be done with lost Cats as the risk of them being chased into a dangerous situation is lower then with a dog as cats are more likely to hide. Reports of these sightings can be critical to helping you determine the neighborhoods where you should focus your searches.
    • Put a “Lost Cat” sign on your lawn, with a very brief description.
  • When Searching:
    • Bring a friend and a carrier or live trap with you. This way, if you find your cat, he may be easier to catch with someone else there.
    • If someone has sighted your cat, you may need to set a live trap. Even some of the friendliest indoor cats will display aggressive behaviour once removed from their “territory”. This may mean your cat won’t respond to you. He could even shut down and starve himself.
      Never leave a live trap set unless you can check it at least every few hours and be mindful of inclement weather (too hot/too cold) where you could endanger the animal.

COMMON LOST CAT MYTHS

Myth #1 – Leave out your cats litter: 
DON’T DO THIS! The smell of urine/feces can attract other cats or animals that could drive your cat away if they are trying to return home. If you’re coming and going from your home, or there’s an open window, any familiar smells should attract your cat towards home

Myth #2 – The cat was old/sick and ran away to die:
DON’T JUST GIVE UP!  A more likely scenario is that your cat became injured and/or ill when roaming outdoors, and may be unable to return home. If your cat has any known health conditions, or you suspect they may have been injured, it is important to locate them quickly to ensure they receive appropriate medical care.

Myth #3 – The cat was likely killed by a wild animal:
NEVER ASSUME! While free-roaming cats are at risk for encountering wild animals, especially in more wooded or rural areas, you should always search for your pet even if you find evidence of a fight. Your pet may have been injured by a wild animal, or scared away by one, which means you should consider thoroughly checking small hiding spaces, possible escape routes (such as trees) and expanding your search area.

Found a pet?

Thank you for helping this lost pet find thier way home! Before bringing the pet into a shelter, please see the tips below depending on what kind of pet you have found to try and reunite them with their family first. 

IMPORTANT: if you think the animal needs to be brought into a shelter, please call first to make an appointment.

– EHS can only accept strays outside of Edmonton by appointment, so we can be prepared for each pet’s arrival and ensure we have the space and resources available at our shelter to provide the best possible care. You can reach our admitting team by calling 780-491-3522.

– For strays found inside the City of Edmonton, please contact Animal Care & Control Centre by calling 311.

Does it appear to be healthy? Healthy, stray cats are ten times more likely to find their way home if left in their neighbourhood. Unfortunately, only about 3% of stray cats brought into to animal shelters are reunited with their families. Be aware that EHS does not accept healthy feral or farm/ acreage cats.

Most community cats such as feral cats or owned outdoor cats have access to shelter, food and water and are used to wandering outdoors. If you believe the cat may be a lost indoor cat, they are most likely close to their home. You can help find its family by doing the following:

  1. Check if the cat has a collar with any ID. There may be contact information for the guardians on the cats tags, or it may have a pet license which will allow your local municipality to contact the guardians.
  2. Use a paper collar. If there is no collar, put on a paper with a note to see if there is an owner. The City of Edmonton has a template which you can download here.
  3. Check around your neighbourhood. Speak with neighbours to see if they recognize the cat or know who it belongs to.
  4. Create a found pet posting online. Use websites like PawBoost and Kijiji to create a posting, which you can then share to your personal social media as well as your local lost and found pet groups and community groups on Facebook.
  5. Put up found pet posters around your neighbourhood.
  6. If you can safely handle the cat, take it to a local veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip.

Note: If you see a feral or farm cat with it’s ears cropped (the tips equally trimmed) this means it has been spayed or neutered before being returned to its habitat by its guardian and unless injured should be left.

Does it appear to be sick, injured or in distress (e.g. limping, wounded, hit by car, underweight)? Call your local animal control. In the City of Edmonton, you can contact Animal Care & Control by phoning 311 to make an appointment. If it is outside Edmonton, call your local municipality or phone our admitting department at 780-491-3522 to make an appointment.

Do not encourage stray cats onto your property if you find them a nuisance. Ensure there are no food sources, shelters, or options for the cats that make your property desirable. For additional tips from the City of Edmonton, visit here

I’ve found a kitten or litter of kittens! Often Mom will leave her kittens for extended periods, so don’t panic if she isn’t anywhere to be seen! Kittens are typically best left where they are so Mom can return to care for them. Kittens are unlikely to survive if taken from Mom too early. If mom doesn’t return within 8 hours and the kittens are too young to be without her, contact our admitting team at 780-491-3522 or consider our Kitten Co-op program if you would be able to help care for them until they are old enough for adoption. If they are older (walking, playing and eating on their own) contact your local animal control. In the City of Edmonton, you can contact Animal Care & Control by phoning 311 to make an appointment.

  1. Safety first. If you are unable to approach the dog or it does not come to you, do not chase or try to catch it. It is likely to be frightened or extremely excited by its newfound freedom. Chasing a fearful dog is likely to drive it further away from their home.
  2. If the dog does come to you, check for a collar or ID. There may be contact information for its guardians on its tags, or it may have a pet license which will allow your local municipality to contact the guardians.
  3. Check around the neighbourhood. Speak with people in the area it was found to see if they recognize the dog or know who it belongs to.
  4. Create a found pet posting online. Use websites like PawBoost and Kijiji to create a posting, which you can then share to your personal social media as well as your local lost and found pet groups and community groups on Facebook.
  5. If you can safely handle the dog, take it to a local veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip. We recommend calling the clinic before you go.
  6. Call your local animal control. In the City of Edmonton, you can contact Animal Care & Control by phoning 311 to make an appointment. If it is outside Edmonton, call your local municipality or phone our admitting department at 780-491-3522 to make an appointment.

Is it a domestic rabbit? Pet rabbits come in all different shapes and sizes and their coat can vary in colour, length and pattern. They may have standing or lopped ears. If you believe it is a lost pet (domestic) rabbit, please try the following:

  1. Check around your neighbourhood. Speak with neighbours to see if they recognize the rabbit know who it belongs to.
  2. Create a found pet posting online. Use websites like PawBoost and Kijiji to create a posting, which you can then share to your personal social media as well as your local lost and found pet groups and community groups on Facebook.
  3. Put up found pet posters around your neighbourhood.
  4. If you can safely handle the rabbit, take it to a local veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip.
  5. Call your local animal control. In the City of Edmonton, you can contact Animal Care & Control by phoning 311 to make an appointment. If it is outside Edmonton, call your local municipality or phone our admitting department at 780-491-3522 to make an appointment.

Could it be a wild rabbit or hare? Wild rabbits/hares can be easily misidentified as a domestic rabbit. Wild rabbits/hares are grey to brown in colour in summer and white in winter. The underside of their tail is white too. Wild hares/rabbits will typically be extremely skittish of people and will run away if you approach them. Wild animals should be left where they are. If you believe it is injured, please contact WildNorth.

Other Lost & Found Pet Resources

Animal Shelters

County Offices

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