To maximise your chance of finding a lost cat, you have to act fast - and don't panic!
Spend at least 15-30 minutes calling your cat by name, circling the location your cat was last seen. Make familiar sounds such as tapping the side of a can with a fork, or shaking a box of dry food.
Leave a door ajar when you go back into the house.
Notify immediate neighbours of your cat's absence and ask permission to look in their garages, as cats can sometimes hide there. If they have windows that face your home, they can keep a look out for you.
Canvas the neighbourhood (enlisting the help of others - children and neighbours), moving from door to door with your cat's description, your telephone number - and a reward for any information.
Walk or cycle up and down the road near the area your cat was last seen and drive slowly through your neighbourhood. Ask people strolling or cycling nearby and widen your search to surrounding fields and woodlands.
Cats that aren't used to being outdoors may panic and settle down unseen into some shrubbery. Sick or injured cats are also likely to hide.
Take advantage of the lost and found ads in your local newspaper. Place a 'lost cat' ad as soon as possible, and be sure to check the column daily for any that have been found.
Prepare a flyer with relevant information about your cat, including the name and physical description. Contact information should include your name, telephone number and email address. If possible, include a photograph and have these photocopied. Post and distribute flyers wherever your cat was last seen, as well as throughout your home neighbourhood and to any welfare services you contact.
Call all local veterinary practices. Provide your cat's description and contact details. Bolton RSPCA and Bolton Destitute Animal Centre both maintain lost animal registers. Follow up with a visit to distribute written information. Websites such as http://www.animalsearchuk.co.uk/ also allow you to list your cat's details and search through records for cats that have been found.
REMEMBER - HAVING YOUR CAT MICROCHIPPED MEANS WE CAN REUNITE YOU WITH HIM SHOULD HE END UP IN A RESCUE