What should you do if you find a stray cat?

 What should you do if you find a stray cat?

Imagine there’s a cat you’ve never seen before which is constantly hanging around your front door, crying for food and affection; a big butch tom cat who seems to be a stray and enjoys fighting with all the cats in the neighbourhood or a small kitten, wandering around aimlessly. Lost or stray cats are unfortunately commonplace. What should you do? Who should you call or approach? Hopefully this short article will give you some direction.

Firstly we need to understand the clear definition between a stray and a feral cat. If the cat is unfriendly and not approachable, it may well be feral. Feral cats are more than happy and able to look after themselves without a human companion! Local charities carry out trapping and neutering programmes to maintain their population. As long as these cats are happy and healthy they will successfully survive outside. Injured or unwell animals, however, need to be taken to your local vets for assessment.

So, you’ve established your newly found feline companion isn’t feral, what should you do now? You need to find out if this cat has an owner – ask neighbours, use posters (available to download online) and social media. If the cat is approachable download a paper collar (available from many rescue websites) to identify the cat and wait to see if you receive a reply.

If you are unable to find an owner, the next step would be to take the cat to your local vets or rescue centre to check whether it has a microchip. Vets can also check lost and found records to see if any missing cats have been reported.

If, unfortunately your stray cat (despite your best efforts) is not owned or identifiable but healthy – please contact your local RSPCA branch, Cats’ Protection or other local animal rescue centre for re-homing. An injured, pregnant or unwell animal will need a ‘log number’- this number will allow your local vets to acquire emergency funds to treat the cat as necessary, without it, treatment may be limited.