Help! I Lost My Pet in The Netherlands. What Can I Do?
The story of how we lost and found Mika, our tomcat and amateur Houdini impersonator.
We can easily agree with our clients who are fellow pet parents that our homes would not be complete without our animal companions. They make our lives brighter with the midnight “zoomies” and the sneak attacks from under the couch, so when they accidentally become lost, our top priority is to bring them home.
As expats, finding our lost pet is something we don’t think about until we are forced to, but luckily the Dutch have a very good national system in place to make sure they are identified and hopefully, returned home.
Online support for missing pets in the Netherlands
Contact Amivedi. This should be your starting point. Amivedi is the country’s official website for the registration of lost domestic animals. Keep this organization in mind not only to report a missing pet but also to register found ones. Moreover, you can access personalized information to take steps to improve your chances of finding your pet. We set up a “wanted profile” for our dearest Mika and we were fortunate to find him quickly. We also used a similar platform called Dierenbescherming in order to increase our chances.
Get on Facebook. After making profiles on these two platforms, we went straight to Facebook Groups. With a short, informative description and his photos, we targeted very specific groups like “Expats with Pets in The Hague”. Spreek je een beetje Nederlands? If you lost your pet in an international city, it is likely that you can find a Facebook group on your neighbourhood’s page, as we did. We were informed that Mika had been spotted spending quality time with the wild ducks in the churchyard, just a day before.
Visit the FDN website, the Federation of Animal Ambulances in the Netherlands. Find the designated contacts in your area, call or send them an email with all the information about your lost pet. If your pet was injured, the volunteers working here might know more.
Hands-on Action for finding your missing pet
Mark an outside space using their scent to indicate home. In responses to my online posts, a few people gave me this fantastic tip! I moved his blanket, scratching post and food to the balcony. The litter box would work well here too.
Share your concern. Nothing strikes up a conversation like the concern for a lost pet even if you don’t know your neighbours. Since Mika was missing for 3 days, I took every opportunity to engage with my neighbours and kindly asked them to inform me of any sightings.
Print posters and spread them throughout the neighborhood. This may seem a bit slow, but it has the ability to reach people who aren’t online. You can actually make a poster on Amivedi’s website.
Food trails and softly calling them at dusk helped us the most; we found a starving Mika eating his favorite kibble by the entrance door. At the end of the day when the city calms down, take a long walk around the neighbourhood, shaking kibble and leaving behind some nuggets every few steps. Make sure that the food trail is subtle to humans, otherwise you might get caught for littering.
The stressful adventure of trying to find a lost pet in the Netherlands not only made us more responsible for the precautions we need to take to keep Mika safe (having him chipped and collared!) but it also taught us about the community and the love Dutchies have for their pets.