Owners of lost cats on the lost and found pet pages have said that these tips work, especially numbers 1, 3 and 5:
1. Put wet/smelly food out in the evening. Pick it up during the day or if you notice it's attracting strays.
2. Put dirty litter box outside; keep an eye on it if there are stray cats or other wildlife in your area. It may attract them, which could keep your cat away.
3. Put out an unwashed article of your clothing or a dirty sheet/towel/t-shirt. You can also make "scent strips" from these items and place them in trails leading to your door.
4. Go out in the evening with a flashlight and look under porches, sheds, hollow logs, etc.
5. You can make chum trails leading to your door by using a can of cat food and a gallon of warm water. Shake well and sprinkle in trails leading to your door. You can also make scent trails using dirty litter.
6. Your cat will be most active between dusk and dawn. Trying shaking a bag of treats and softly calling your cat's name while searching with a flashlight to catch the reflection of your cat's eyes.
7. Get fliers up right away and ask neighbors to check garages, etc.
8. File a lost report with the appropriate shelter and visit *in person* often.
Most cats do not go far, especially those that are not used to spending time outdoors.
I have been informed that putting the litter box out may attract other creatures. However, it worked for me. Just keep an eye out. Look up in the trees! Walk your neighborhood in increasingly large circles around your home. Your footsteps will give your kitty a scent trail home. Repeat! Give a photo and description to your mail carrier and newspaper delivery person
Pet-trackerinc.org Get a pet tracker.
If he is indoor only I will add steps. Need to crack open the garage door or other access 24/7 to let him come back inside ASAP. Definitely close by and I’m sure has taken cover for warmth under a shed or crawl space for example. Need to get fliers. They always try to return to the exit they went usually and night and especially between 4-7 am. Keep an eye on that door and focus on luring with soft familiar calls from that door as often as possible. If you have an attached garage crack that just a bit with scent items inside and just outside both doors (garage and door he went out). Scent items are worn clothes of family, his bedding, your slept on sheets, litter box etc. They can hide so well nearby that it seems as though they have vanished. It’s a way of protecting themselves. Flier door to door in a 7 house radius of your home. That’s typically where they stay for quite some time. Even months. Baby monitor outside the door he escaped is always helpful to hear meows or scratching. Also see site for steps to finding an indoor only cat. There are also steps to outdoor access. Pet-trackerinc.org