Have you found a stray cat and you’re not sure what to do?
We know it can be worrying when you find a stray cat, especially with British weather and seasons, however there are some steps that need to be taken before a cat can be classed as a stray
- Avoid feeding it unless it is particularly underweight – this will only encourage the cat to come back, even if they have an owner!
- Don’t let it come into your house and make itself at home
- Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat – there might be someone in the local area frantically searching for their lost pet
- List the cat on your local community Facebook page or put-up posters around your local area
- You can ask a vet for a paper collar to put in the cat to help find out if it’s got an owner.
- Report abandoned pets to the RSPCA
Most cats, by nature, are inclined to roam the area surrounding their home. You’re likely to come across a stray cat on your travels, although it might be tricky to find out whether it is a stray cat, a feral or is in fact an owned cat with a sense of adventure. If the found cat is friendly, you might be able to check for an identification tag – if it belongs to someone, give them a call and let them know. You can take the cat to your nearest vet to scan for a microchip
Why shouldn’t I feed a stray or lost cat?
It can be really tempting to feed an unfamiliar cat if you think they are lost or a stray, but it’s best not to. Some cats might be on a special diet or have a medical condition that needs a particular type of food. Feeding them something different might seriously upset their tummy or stop them getting all the important nutrients they need.
Feeding an unfamiliar cat can also keep them coming back to you. If they are owned, this will upset their owner as it means the cat won’t be leaving in a hurry to return home! If you already have a cat, it will be unsettling for them too and might cause them to become stressed
How do I check a cat microchip?
Microchips are the best way to determine the specific details about a cat. If you are unsure of a cat’s origin and whether it is being well looked after. If you have a secure cat carrier to take him to the nearest vet, they will usually be able to scan the cat to see if it has a microchip. If you do not know the vet, you may like to call them first to check they will offer this service for free.
What to do if you find a pregnant cat or a cat who has recently had kittens
- Check the cat’s tummy, carefully and without startling them (or touching their tummy) – if the mammary glands appear more prominent, the cat may be still nursing her young
- Take the cat to the vet by safely wrapping them in a blanket or putting them in a cardboard box. The vet will be able to scan for a microchip, which is vital in locating an owner and may also lead to finding the location of any kittens
- If safe to do so, go back to the area where the cat was found and have a look around the area for any signs of kittens. Check under bushes and shrubs, and listen out for their cries
- If you’re unsuccessful in locating an owner and kittens, you might want to put up posters locally and post on social media letting people know that there may be a litter of kittens somewhere. In the post, remind people to check their gardens and any outbuildings, as well as asking the owner to get in contact
- If you are still concerned, you can call our welfare team on 01912150435 for advice and to see if we can help.
What to do if you find an injured cat?
If you have found an injured cat and you have a secure cat carrier and the cat will let you, you could take the cat to a vet. You may like to call them first to check they will offer this service for free.
Alternatively, you could contact the RSPCA to report the injured cat.
How do I know if the cat is feral, stray or an owned cat?
Before you do anything, it is important to think about whether the cat you’ve found is a stray, a feral or an owned cat. If they appear well-groomed and is a healthy weight, they may have an owner nearby.
Ferals behave like wild animals and won’t come close, even with encouragement. Stray cats might look lost and disorientated but may be friendly if given time.
For help and advice with feral cats please visit What Are Feral Cats – Help and Advice | Cats Protection