This lost pet tracking dog is a cat.
Henry may be the first cat ever trained to be a lost cat finder. Henry loves his job, from sniffing out lost kitties to riding in the truck.
Many people ask how this came about.
When I first I trained to be a pet detective, I wanted to work as a search dog team with a lost pet K9 tracking Bloodhound.
I wanted to do search & rescue for missing cats and dogs, ferrets, snakes, turtles --even horses who'd escaped into the hills.
But something happened to change my plan in 2008: my own cat, Mister Purr went missing for several days.
Meet Henry, the Search Cat
Henry wearing his Kitty Holster harness.
That's when I experienced firsthand how it feels to have a lost cat and practically zero support. I realized how desperately actual scientific lost cat recovery methods were needed.
Yes, there are pet detectives who track missing dogs in several states. But cats need special techniques. And their owners need at least as much if not more emotional support than the dog owners get.
After reading a study about the tiny number of cats found by K9 tracking dogs, I realized a bloodhound was not the solution it seemed.
No cat in his right mind would let a dog walk up to him. For a cat stuck in a shed, yes, but anyone with a flashlight and ears can find a lost cat trapped in a shed.
So one day, at an outdoor adoption event in Austin Texas, I met Henry. He was wearing a purple harness, lounging on a grassy knoll watching people, dogs, and screaming kids go by, many stopping to greet him. He was a perfect combination of curious, fearless and friendly.
I got my clicker and gear from the truck and tested his interest in sniffing things other than food. After proving myself worthy to the shelter group, I adopted him in Dec 2013 and started training him on New Year's Day, 2014 to follow a trail. He took to it so fast, it seemed as he'd been waiting for this job during the two years he spent in the Lifelong Friends animal shelter.
Now, Henry is an official Search Cat who rescues lost cats. He's also a very friendly funny cat who makes me laugh every day.
Say hello to Henry!