1 - Time is of the essence. If your cat or dog is not an outdoor animal and has escaped outside, you need to get posters up ASAP, talk to your neighbors, etc.
2 - If you have an outdoor community cat that is missing you have to use your own judgement on how long its been gone as compared to how often they would normally come. I've had such cats come every day for weeks or months, others only once every few days at times. Sometimes they go on long prowls and can be gone for as long as a couple weeks before turning back up. But once you decide they are missing, rule 1 applies.
3 - Contact your local animal control, local vets, local rescues.
4 - When you contact anyone it is important you have a photo or photos, , the street address of where the pet was lost, general description of color(s), size, friendly, feral, spayed/neutered or not, behavior towards humans etc.
5 - Does the animal have a microchip? This is incredibly important these days. That's the first thing an animal control officer, shelter or vet will do upon receiving an animal that has been found by anyone else.
Note the Rhode Island Community Spay Neuter Clinic will chip your pet for I believe either 10 or 20 dollars with a lifetime subscription. Even if it is an outdoor community cat that PawsWatch is paying for the spay-neuter-shots-fea tick treatment package for you, you can only help your own piece of mind by kicking in for the microchip.
6 - Hit your social media and any lost pet Facebook pages for your area. I believe there is a Rhode Island Lots Pets page on FB.
7 - PetAmberAlert.com, MyLostPetAlert.com - I have used Pet Amber Alert before personally. The good thing is for a relatively low fee they will call every phone number geographically located within 1/2 mile, mile or I believe 5 mile radius of where you live with an autodialer and a recorded description of your pet, plus keep an online poster with photo and description. The bad thing is this is a subscription service and they will charge you a monthly maintenance fee every month beginning 30 days after you sign up. You need to sign into your account there and actively cancel a given alert to avoid these continued charges.
MyLostPetAlert.com I have not used but they have one time fees with four levels of service that determine what you get and for how long, including a free listing for 30 days w/poster.
I'm sure there are other similar services.
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