At least 300 animals have been reported missing since Christchurch's big earthquake, the Canterbury SPCA says.
Spokeswoman Stef Saunders said most of those missing were cats, which had taken fright after the quake and hid.
Dogs had tended to be more ``clingy'' in the aftermath of the quake and remained near people.
The SPCA shelter was housing 65 animals, 34 of which had come in after the quake, but it was not ``bursting at the seams'' yet.
Animals had reacted to aftershocks in very different ways.
``Some animals seem quite indifferent. Others seem quite distressed,'' Ms Saunders said.
She knew of a golden retriever who had jumped through a window after it took fright during an aftershock.
Christchurch City Council animal control spokesman Mark Vincent said it had been looking after about 50 dogs since the quake.
Of that 50, about 22 had been given to the council by owners who felt unable to care for them, 12 had been reunited with their owners and the remainder were still homeless.
He did not doubt animals had been traumatised by the quake.
``They get frightened and they hide because they can't understand what's going on,'' he said.
Christchurch cat owner Brian Stephens' five-year-old tabby cat, Malcolm, disappeared for four nights.
Mr Stephens,of Merrivale, said most of his neighbours' cats had also gone missing but had eventually returned.
''(Malcolm) just wandered through the cat door. It was a big relief... We were a bit worried because he was quite a nervous cat,'' he said.
The tabby was still a bit jumpy and was now easily spooked by loud noises, he said.
Meanwhile, Orana Wildlife Park spokesman Nathan Hawke said its animals seemed to have coped remarkably well despite ongoing aftershocks.
However the park, which had about 400 animals, had lost a lemur to the 7.1 magnitude quake.