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Indoor-Only Personality Profiles

It's often confusing to owners of missing pets which search methods to concentrate on, when it seems like their pet could be "anywhere." Generally speaking (and when no outside forces have displaced the cat) the personality of the pet determines the behavior when missing. The behavior when missing will determine the best method of recovery and, to some degree, the distance from home.

To find the optimal method of recovery, first determine which of the three profiles best describes your cat's personality. Then click on the hyperlink to read the section that describes the recommended method.

These recommended methods are listed in order of higher chance to lower chance of successful recovery, but no single method is meant to be used exclusively.. . simply, if your energy is limited (and it always is) then concentrate more energy on methods listed first, and less on the latter. You should do as much as you can because any of these methods might be the one that will reunite you with your pet.


Classic Complete Cover Cat
Completely relaxed at home. . .completely freaked out outside.

This is an indoor-only cat that thoroughly adores its special people (or special cat friends), and pretty much could let the rest of the world disappear if it had the choice. It has shown fear of the outdoors, runs from strangers and new cats. When outside, this type of cat will find the surroundings overwhelming, will not be very resourceful in getting food and water, is least likely to show itself, not likely to approach a stranger. If this description fits your cat the best, it has the highest chance of going into the complete cover mode. Read Understanding Indoor-Only Cats to understand why cats in this profile behave the way they do.
Best Methods:
Trapping, Foot Searches, Flyers
Very Close, 1-5 houses away
Case Example: Sage

This is an indoor-only cat that thinks the world is all good. There is very little that it fears. It is friendly with a wide number of humans and cats, and maybe even dogs. Calm, easy going, and inquisitive by nature, has not shown fear of the outdoors and does not run from strangers or new cats. While this type of cat may be somewhat uncertain once it gets outside, it may become very resourceful and has the highest chance of making its presence known and even approaching another human.
Best Methods:
Flyers, Talking Directly with Neighbors, Foot Searches
As the name suggests, there is a chance this cat may wander the farthest. 0-2 miles ?
Case Example:

This is an indoor-only cat that is extremely timid with humans, and seems more comfortable around cats. This cat may have been born of a feral mother, may be more likely to be a spayed female rather than neutered male. This cat has shown interest in being around other cats, shown interest in the outdoors, but runs from strangers and is not very bonded with its people. While this type of cat will likely be resourceful in getting food and water, and may show itself from afar, it is less likely to approach a human and may run if approached.
Best Methods: Feral Rescue Techniques, Sitting Outside, Flyers
This cat will likely develop a range, or home turf that it is familiar with. If there are existing feral cats in the area and plenty of food, most likely it will stay within the same range, farther distance than the Classic Complete Cover Cat but probably closer than the Friendly Walkabout Cat.
Case Example:

The case examples are the very extreme form; most cats will be a little of one profile and a little bit of another profile. At any time in your cat's adventure, there could be triggers (injury, illness, dog or predator etc.) that push it into more of one profile and less of another profile. The distinction between these three types of behavior within the indoor-only category is very new and still being developed presently. Info here may change or be added to as new patterns emerge. Thanks to MoniQue for comparing notes with me and contributing her knowledge of feral cats.

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