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Animals (Basel). 2012 Jun 13;2(2):301-15. doi: 10.3390/ani2020301.

Frequency of Lost Dogs and Cats in the United States and the Methods Used to Locate Them.

Author information

1
Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 6260 N. Hillside, Wichita, KS 67219, USA. emily.weiss@aspca.org.
2
Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 50 Stone Ridge Drive, Northampton, MA 01602, USA. margaret.slater@aspca.org.
3
Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. linda.lord@cvm.osu.edu.

Abstract

A cross-sectional national random digit dial telephone interview was conducted between September and November 2010. There were 1,015 households that had owned a dog or cat within the past five years. Of these 817 households owned dogs and 506 owned cats. Fourteen percent of dogs (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 11-16%) and 15% (95% CI: 12-18%) of cats were lost in the past five years. No owner demographic variables were associated with losing a pet. Ninety three percent (95% CI: 86-97%) of dogs and 75% (95% CI: 64-85%) of cats were recovered. For dogs, searching the neighborhood and returning on their own were the most common methods of finding the dog; 14% were found through an identification tag. For cats, returning on their own was most common. Dogs were more likely than cats to be lost more than once. Cats were less likely than dogs to have any type of identification. Knowledge of the successful methods of finding dogs and cats can provide invaluable help for owners of lost pets. Since 25% of lost cats were not found, other methods of reuniting cats and their owners are needed. Collars and ID tags or humane trapping could be valuable approaches.

KEYWORDS:

collar; identification tag; lost cat; lost dog; stray cat; stray dog

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