May Newsletter

Personality Clues Lead the Way

Personality Clues Lead the Way

Thousands of dogs and cats go missing around the country every day. Knowing your pet’s personality and the way she reacts towards strangers can tell you how she will respond should she get lost. Personality can also tell you how far from home she’s likely to travel before being rescued.

“Away from the comforts of home, pets go into survival mode,” explains pet detective Kat Albrecht, founder of Missing Pet Partnership in Clovis, California. “Typically, dogs hide during the day and move around looking for food at night.”

Cats, on the other hand, look for the first place that offers concealment and protection from predators, says Albrecht. “Cats have been known to curl up in an open car that subsequently drives away,” she explains, “Or they can be chased from their home environment by a dog. When an indoors-only cat escapes out of the safety of home, the question is ‘Where is she hiding?’”

If you have a missing pet, don’t wait to see if she returns. Start searching immediately. According to Albrecht, pets fall into one of the following behavior categories:

The Gregarious Pet

Dogs or cats that are extraverted and friendly will come up to the first person that attracts their attention. A Gregarious Dog will wag his tail at the sight of any newcomer. Depending on the surroundings and the population density of the area, Gregarious Dogs usually won’t stray far from home if lost. Gregarious Cats are curious and flirtatious and consequently can get into trouble. When lost, Gregarious Cats will hide at first and then most likely begin to travel. She could easily get within a five-block radius of home quite quickly. Don’t assume she will come when called.

The Cautious Pet

This type of pet likes people but is shy and will dart away to hide if a stranger comes to the door. Sometimes she’ll peek around the corner and slowly come out to investigate. When lost, however, she will immediately hide in fear. If not scared out of hiding by people or other animals, she’s likely to return home on her own or meow or bark to attract attention when her owner comes looking. This could happen within a couple of days, but may take as long as ten days before hunger or thirst causes her to break cover.

The Xenophobic Pet

Xenophobia is a fear of anything strange or foreign. The xenophobic pet will hide when a stranger comes into the home and will not come out until well after the company has left. She doesn’t enjoy being held or petted and is easily disturbed by any environmental changes. When lost, she will bolt and hide in silence, remaining in the same hiding place, immobilized by fear. Because of her cowering, fearful behavior, people may assume she has been abused. A xenophobic pet can be so overcome with terror that she will even run from her owner.

If your pet goes missing, make sure to include your pet’s personality traits on your “lost” posters. It can be a big help to anyone finding her. And remember, proper identification, like a microchip, could be your lost pet’s ticket home.

Sandy Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer. Her work appears regularly on in various national and international publications. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association of America.