What to do if You Find a Stray Cat


stray cat

You are just leaving your home when a cat you have never seen before appears on your doorstep. You know every cat in the neighborhood so this guy has to either be new or lost. Either way you want this friendly feline to return safely to his home. What should you do?

Determine If The Cat Is Really Lost

Is this a lost cat or just a new neighborhood cat who is allowed to roam outside? Is it a new feral cat that has wandered into your neighborhood, or is she a cat that someone intentionally abandoned in your neighborhood? Do not assume that this cat has a home and just ignore her.

  1. Is the cat wearing a collar? If she is wearing a collar, does it carry any identification? Does it identify the owner or indicate that the cat is micro-chipped? With either of these scenarios, your job is easy, and your friendly visitor will be home soon or you will know he is a new addition to the neighborhood cats who are allowed to roam outside.
  2. The cat has a collar without identification. In this case you have to do the same thing if she had no collar: take the cat to the veterinarian to see if she is microchipped.
  3. If the cat is not so friendly, she is probably feral, and there will not be much you can do. You might be able to find a feral-care group in your area who will trap neuter and return the cat to the wild.
  4. If you are uncertain report the lost cat to local authorities.

homeless cat

Finding a Small Kitten

Suppose you find a little kitten that is lost or abandoned. What should you do? Do you take her in? Take her to the vet? Call a no-kill shelter?

Here are some steps to follow until you can find his owner or find him a forever home.

Trupanion’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. Kerri Marshall advises, “If you come across a stray cat, make sure the cat is actually homeless. Many outdoor cats get mistaken for strays. Approach a stray cat with caution. They may not trust humans and could scratch or bite to defend themselves. If you do come in contact, allow the cat to make contact with you first—they may bump or rub against you to mark territory or show trust. You may be able to lure them inside your home with food.”

Step 1: Take her inside and isolate her from the rest of your pets as she might have an illness, mites, or fleas that you do not want your pets exposed to. Choose one room to keep the homeless cat in temporarily, and put towels under the door so your animals cannot be exposed in any way.

Step 2: Give the kitten water, food, and make sure she is dry and warm. Give her only soft, wet kitten food. Give her a blanket or towel to lie on, and a spare cat toy.

After the Kitten is Safe

Now that you have made sure the kitten is safe and dry, try to find her pet parent.

“If you find a homeless/feral cat, contact your local animal shelter right away. Many pet owners look for their lost pets at local shelters first”, advises Kristen Hammett, D.V.M., is President-Elect, North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA).

Take the kitten to the veterinarian and have her checked for a microchip, fleas, ticks, FIV, Feline Leukemia, and parasites.

If no neighbors claim the kitten, you will have some decisions to make. Will you keep her, surrender her to a no-kill cat shelter, or foster her until your local no-kill cat shelter can find her a forever home.

If you decide to keep the kitten now you can introduce him to your healthy animals, name him and go on with your life with your new friend.

Fostering a Kitten

Take photos and put them online on a available pet site. Give a picture to all the cat or animal rescue groups in you areas. Let them give you advice in both the care of your foster kitten and the ability to find them a home. Be sure you put the kitten on Facebook and let everyone know that you are fostering him and looking for a forever home for him.

Homeless cats are a concern if they are not feral, especially if it is a young kitten. The logical conclusion is that the cat has been intentionally abandoned, or has escaped from her home. If you see a homeless

Featured Photo Credit: iStockphoto
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stan0/

Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at www.nickylamarco.com.