accidentally lost your cat

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

My friend Bruno has a cat, he's not always at home so his mother is taking care of the cat. The other day, when he mother opened the door, the cat ran away, then his mother put many stickers in the neighborhood. And also she asked me not to tell Bruno. But before she told me this, I told Bruno, I said:

Your mother accidentally lost your cat.

I wonder if it's natural to say so. (You mother lost your cat without intention...)

Thanks a lot
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    No.

    "Your mother accidentally let the cat out of the house." Or: "You mother accidentally let the cat escape."
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Do you think there's ever some reason to say that your mother intentionally lost her cat?:rolleyes:

    The word "lost" implies unintentional action.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I agree with sdgraham that the word "lost" implies unintentional action. I still think "your mother accidentally lost your cat" is natural to say, because people often add part of the implied meaning explicitly to emphasize it. The sentence would be generated by a speaker who is trying to emphasize the accidental nature - to excuse the negligence of the cat caretaker, perhaps, or to further apologize for the unfortunate event.

    I also like Packard's versions a bit better. But all of them seem possible to me.

    Citations:

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2017-07-22/tennessee-construction-worker-fell-to-his-death-police-say
    "In a news release, Metro Nashville Police said 42-year-old Fausto Flores of Nashville accidentally lost his balance Saturday while cutting a wooden rail on the fourth floor of the under-construction building."

    Nico Rosberg Accidentally Lost His Formula One Championship Trophy

    SARS accidentally lost some tax return information – here’s who will need to resubmit

    "During the Cold War years, between 1945 and 1991, the United States Air Force (USAF) accidentally lost several nuclear weapons; the first loss happened somewhere over northwestern British Columbia." from Lost Nuke: The Last Flight of Bomber 075, by Dirk Septer
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My problem is with the word "lost". "Lost" means "misplaced". She did not misplace the cat; the cat escaped from captivity.

    I do know that there are often signs that say: "Lost cat" but it sounds so much better than "I forgot to close the door and my cat ran away from home".

    She lost the cat:

    Damn. Now where did I leave that cat? I've been looking all over. I know I left her nearby. I can't have lost her I don't think.

    The cat escapes:

    Damn. How did she manage to squirt through that door opening? I'm going to be in so much trouble with Silver for letting his cat escape.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    "Lost" is just used in this case even though it's not a central meaning. "Lost dog" posters are a thing...

    Lost Cat Behavior – Missing Pet Partnership

    Independent Animal Rescue :: How to Find a Lost Cat

    http://cats.lovetoknow.com/Will_my_Lost_Cat_Come_Home "I lost my 3 or 4 year old cat Rusty... I put his toys and his favorite treats outside on the porch..."

    Lost cats guide
    "I lost my favorite cat in 1997. He meant the world to me, and I didn’t know what to do. ... It wasn’t until years later that I learned how to search properly for a lost cat."

    Warning: when used this way, "lost" can also mean the cat died. From context we know these cases are about the cat escaping outside, though. This is probably why adding "accidentally" is helpful - it cues the listener that the loss wasn't to death....
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Lost" is just used in this case even though it's not a central meaning. "Lost dog" posters are a thing...

    Lost Cat Behavior – Missing Pet Partnership

    Independent Animal Rescue :: How to Find a Lost Cat

    http://cats.lovetoknow.com/Will_my_Lost_Cat_Come_Home "I lost my 3 or 4 year old cat Rusty... I put his toys and his favorite treats outside on the porch..."

    Lost cats guide
    "I lost my favorite cat in 1997. He meant the world to me, and I didn’t know what to do. ... It wasn’t until years later that I learned how to search properly for a lost cat."

    Warning: when used this way, "lost" can also mean the cat died. From context we know these cases are about the cat escaping outside, though. This is probably why adding "accidentally" is helpful - it cues the listener that the loss wasn't to death....
    I agree. After the cat has escaped people refer to the cat as "lost" as in "are you lost little girl?". The "lost" refers to the cat missing its home, not from the owner losing the cat. That is the cat is lost because he/she cannot find its way home. (Assuming it wants to return home.)

    When my sister was about five or six years old she became separated from our mother in a supermarket. A woman walked up to her and asked, "Are you lost little girl?" to which my sister replied, "No. I know were I am; I don't know where my mother is though."
     
    Last edited:

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The OP use was as a verb, where "misplace" does not sound good. However, "The Lost City of XYZ" just means "cannot currrently be found" so posters of lost cats and dogs sound better than "I misplaced the cat":D
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    So in this case, maybe the verb "lost" functions as a verbification of the adjective form - I caused your cat to become lost = I lost your cat. Or maybe it's just another meaning of the word :D

    to lose, v.
    "be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something)."
    "become unable to find (something or someone)."

    The cat has not been retained, and she's become unable to find it.

    Note how I quoted people using it as a verb in two examples to demonstrate that I was showing citations that utilized the verb form too...

    Lost & Found: Did You Lose This Cat?

    Trucker reunited after she lost her cat in Chesapeake nearly 3 weeks ago
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    So in this case, maybe the verb "lost" functions as a verbification of the adjective form - I caused your cat to become lost = I lost your cat. Or maybe it's just another meaning of the word :D

    Note how I quoted people using it as a verb in two examples to demonstrate that I was showing citations that utilized the verb form too...
    I lost my innocence--it was here just a minute ago. Where could it have gone?

    (A different meaning--foresaken.)
     
    Last edited:

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    You might as well scold people who lost their mind about not having misplaced it. :D The usage isn't the "misplaced" usage, it's a different usage of verb "to lose" (of which there are quite a number, please view the dictionary: lose - WordReference.com Dictionary of English)

    "They lost all their belongings in the storm." (not misplaced, either) - to come to be without, as through accident
    "I just lost a dime under this sofa." (not misplaced, either, not really) - to fail to keep, as by accident, usually temporarily
    "The detective lost the man she was following." (not misplaced) - to have (someone) slip from sight or awareness

    Any of those senses could apply to the cat, generally speaking.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You might as well scold people who lost their mind about not having misplaced it. :D The usage isn't the "misplaced" usage, it's a different usage of verb "to lose" (of which there are quite a number, please view the dictionary: lose - WordReference.com Dictionary of English)

    "They lost all their belongings in the storm." (not misplaced, either) - to come to be without, as through accident
    "I just lost a dime under this sofa." (not misplaced, either, not really) - to fail to keep, as by accident, usually temporarily
    "The detective lost the man she was following." (not misplaced) - to have (someone) slip from sight or awareness

    Any of those senses could apply to the cat, generally speaking.
    But the context Silver supplied gives us "escaped" which is not a meaning of "lost".

    "I lost from prison, but I was quickly recaptured."
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Thanks a lot, Packard, Truffula, LC, Myridon and other members. I was a bit surpried to see the disgussion was so active.

    I am also a bit surpried that no one mentions "Lost one's way", I won't lose my way anymore; because you're my compass.

    Obviously, "lose" doesn't mean "misplace" here, just can't find the way.

    Yes, in the OP, I wanted to say that B's mother unintentionally lost her son's cat. She was so worried after she couldn't find the cat. And she didn't deliberately do that.

    :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Thank you so much!!
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Packard: I don't think you could say "B's mother accidentally escaped his cat" either. Whereas you could say the prison lost a prisoner, I think, if the prisoner sneaked out!

    (example by me) "When a back door was left open, the prison lost two prisoners. One was quickly recaptured, the other remains at large."

    Lost is better.

    Silverobama: Thanks for the interesting discussion topic! :)
     
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