The animals most likely to go missing according to NZ's first pet detective

Pet detective Megan Denize with Hollie the Exotic Shorthair, a 'cobby' breed more likely to be a homebody.
Amanda Billing

Pet detective Megan Denize with Hollie the Exotic Shorthair, a 'cobby' breed more likely to be a homebody.

 A warning to those who own a husky or agile ocicat, these are the pets most likely to go missing in New Zealand, says the country's first official pet detective, Megan Denize.

Auckland-based Denize is real-life Ace Ventura - without the loud Hawaiian shirts - and says dogs with significant exercise requirements are the most likely to do a runner. 

"Huskies and Alaskan malamutes are programmed to walk many miles a day and will venture a lot further if they go missing. 

Huskies will cover a lot of distance if they escape.
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Huskies will cover a lot of distance if they escape.

"Dogs are nomadic and have been travelling the world for hundreds of years. When they go missing, it's because they've been presented the opportunity to escape."     

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Ocicats are adventurous and want to explore their surroundings.
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Ocicats are adventurous and want to explore their surroundings.

 

However, with cats, it's all in the body shape.  

"Persians and British shorthairs are cobby breeds, and more pear-shaped. Cats that are more rounded have been bred to sit on the laps of royalty and tend to be homebodies."    

Persian cats where bred to be lap-sitters and enjoy the creature comforts of home.
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Persian cats where bred to be lap-sitters and enjoy the creature comforts of home.

However, more athletic looking felines with angular features such as the ocicat, are natural hunters, and more likely to expand their territories, Denize says. 

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"They are super adventurous, and this makes them more likely to get locked in places, like a shed. They will want to explore and pop they're head into a open van, or hop onto the back of a ute.

"It is literally a case of 'curiosity killed the cat'."    

Using her knowledge of over 300 breeds of dogs and cats, Denize set up Inspector Spot, where a mix of CSI-style profiling, social media, and facial recognition software helps owners track down their family pets. She has been refining the system for the last four years here and in the US and officially launched it this week.  

Denize says that rescue shelters believe one in three pets go missing around the world. 

According to the New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC), 64 per cent of households have at least one pet.   

HOW TO STOP YOUR PETS FROM GOING MISSING 

Cats are the most commonly lost pet. There's a bigger feline population, 44 per cent of households have one, and a lost cat is harder the spot than a lost dog. Felines are more independent, but you rarely see a dog without an owner, Denize explains.   

Most get lost after a house move. If you move, keep your cat indoors for a month so that they can adjust and feel more familiar, otherwise they'll head straight back to the old home, Denize says.

As for dogs, limit their map of the surrounding area. Take them to the same place for walks, as lost dogs will return to familiar places. If you want to venture far - transport your dog by car.

 - Stuff

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