In the week following the Fourth of July, you’re bound to see neighborhood flyers advertising lost pets that fled from loud fireworks.

“We worry a lot about the Fourth of July, and the sort of pyrotechnical celebration, if you will – the fireworks, because they do often cause animals to not just become fearful, but to flee,” says Orange County Animal Services Director Bob Marotto.

He says that if you lost a pet this week, you need to do a number of things simultaneously, and right away.

“One of those things is that they really need to saturate their immediate environment,” says Marotto. “That is to say, if I lose my cat in my neighborhood, I need to get out in my neighborhood. I need to knock on doors. There’s probably, ultimately, no substitute for a flyer with a photograph of my cat and contact information.”

Marotto adds that you should also advertise your lost pet on craigslist, and check the Orange County Animal Services page regularly for recovered pets.

According to Marotto, the recovery rate for dogs in Orange County is around 35 percent, and for cats, it’s only five percent.

People tend to look more for lost dogs more than lost cats, and they tend to equip dogs with ID tags more than cats, too.

Marotto says that’s something that cat owners need to change.

“It is a dangerous world out there for cats,” says Marotto, “whether the dangers be human-driven, as in vehicular accidents, or some of nature’s own perils.

“We hear more and more about coyotes in our area. And I think that we have it on good wisdom, or good knowledge from people who work in the world of wildlife that cats, increasingly, are becoming part of the coyote food chain in areas where there are lots of people.”

He says that pet owners should make sure that all their animals are tagged or microchipped, and confined in some way, even when they’re enjoying the outdoors.

That’s possible even with cats. Many feline owners are using enclosures made of netting.

Orange County Animal Services offers to micro-chip your pet for a fee of $25.

For more information, you can call 919-942-7387.