Having lost a cat of my own a few years earlier, I wanted to help. Obviously, the fear is that the cat has got run over, but not knowing is worse than learning the truth. I never found out what had happened to my moggie and for years afterwards my hopes would be raised every time I saw a cat looking a bit like mine, only to be dashed when I realised it was someone else's pet.
There are plenty of practical ways to search for a missing animal. My friend's little Tom had been microchipped, which all pet owners should do. If it then goes missing, your vet or the RSPCA can check a central register to see if an animal with that number has been found. You can phone the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. It also has a lost and found register with details of missing pets and strays that have been brought in - even if your pet isn't microchipped.
Other organisations that can help include:
Animal Search UK: 0788 43 169 43 www.animalsearchuk.com/.
Cats Protection: 08702 099 099.
Missing Pets Bureau: 0870 1999 000.
Pet Search UK: 0121 743 4133.
The police and your local council often keep records of animals found. It is very likely that a missing animal hasn't strayed far, so ask the neighbours, the milkman and the postman if they have seen your cat. You can also put adverts in local shops and on free advert websites, such as Gumtree.
And, of course, there is nothing wrong with using a little magic to help the search. The Element Encyclopaedia of 5000 Spells: The Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts has an entire chapter on spells to find things that have gone missing. It suggests heliotrope blossoms and bay laurel leaves, placed in a bag under your pillow can give you dreams that will help you locate what you have lost. Mallow leaves, placed in your shoe, are supposed to guide your feet in a search. Vervain leaves, worn on your clothing, are also supposed to help you find missing things or people.
Some websites of spells suggest that candle magic is particularly good for finding lost things.
A lost and found spell at http://spellsandmagic.com/spells.html says:
"What you need is a picture or an item that may represent what you have lost; 7 green candles and a gold or silver colored incense. At a noon hour, chant three times: 'Guiding spirits I ask your charity, lend me your focus and your clarity. Lead me to what I need to find restore that and my peace of mind. So shall it be!' Wait for the candles to burn out then the spell will start to work."
The website www.pagan-magic.co.uk/shop/ offers this spell to find lost objects:
"Tools: Mirror, orange candle, black candle, a small magnet.
Light the black candle (for solving mysteries, and drawing away the negativeness of the loss) and the orange candle (for luck and precious objects). Visualize the lost objects in the mirror as already being found. Place the magnet between the two candles and stroke it towards you as you recite this rhyme three times:
By the wavering flame of this black light,
Grant to me of my (lost item) a sight.
By the power of this orange flame,
Give me luck to find the same.
In this mirror the (lost item) I see
Make the magnet draw them to me.
Leave the candles burning with the magnet between them until they burn down."
The Element Encyclopaedia of 5000 Spells: The Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts