I was loading my truck up last Friday for a weekend trip to the cabin. I had my hands full, and I wasn't able to shut the door tight behind me as I was carrying items out. For the first time ever, the cat decided this was her chance to experience the great outdoors.

I spotted her running under the fence. I chased after her, but she's much faster and more agile. She zipped her way around the neighbors house and then she was gone. I looked around the neighborhood for a couple of hours, but I didn't have any luck. Besides, she would just bolt away from me anyway.

So what do you do when your cat runs away? I've had a dog run off before, and I call for it, and it comes. A cat? That's probably not going to happen.

We learned a few things from calling the animal shelter, and from experienced people who mange missing pet facebook pages. First, have your pet micro-chipped when you first bring them home. It's important that they can be identified if someone does find them and bring them in. It's cheap and most animal shelters will do it for you.

Next, we were told to put our litter box outside. It's supposed to help your cat come back home. We were also told to put a blanket out that she sleeps on to help her find the scent.

Within a few days we spotted her for a brief second in the neighborhood. I went to call for her, and she ran away again. But knowing she was around was a big relief. Another couple days passed.

So thI put her food dish in our front porch and left some cat treats down the sidewalk. I left our screen door cracked just a little.  I shuttered when I thought about what other critter could be on the porch, but I figured it was worth the risk. The cat has to come to you, you really can't chase it. Sure enough, this morning on the way to work, she was on the porch meowing away.

Here's one last tip. Check them over for fleas or bugs before you let them back in!