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What to Do If You Find a Stray Cat

Friday February 12th 2016

Unlike with dogs, where dog wardens are obligated to take in strays, there are no laws regarding stray cats and unfortunately the number of stray cats is on the rise. Therefore it is important to know what to do should you come across a stray cat.

Is it a stray?
First and foremost you should determine whether the cat is a stray or lost, indicators of which are the cat’s behaviour and condition. Stray cats are more likely to be grateful for food than cats with a home, and cats with a home tend to be in a better condition with fuller bodies – after all it’s not uncommon for them to wander from house to house on the hunt for food.

If you believe the cat is lost then try to return the cat to its owner, which you can attempt in a number of ways. Firstly you can ask neighbours or people in the local area if they know who the cat belongs to. If this fails then you should take the cat to the vet in order to have it scanned for a microchip which could tell you who the rightful owner is. Cats can travel long distances, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if it transpires that the cat doesn’t live locally. You could also call the Lost Dogs & Cats Line to see if they’ve been reported lost by their owner.

If these options do not work then creating a ‘Found’ poster and pinning it up in the local area could have more success. Similarly, keep a look out for ‘Lost’ posters in the local area which could have been put up by the owner.

Rehome the cat
If no owner can be found after a couple of weeks and you have tried every route to find them, then you should start the process of rehoming. This can be done by contacting local animal rescue charities such as Blue Cross and the RSPCA to see if they have the capacity to take the cat in. If they can then you may be given the option of taking the cat to them or having them pick the cat up. They will then care for the cat until a new home can be found. If the shelter can take the cat in you should check their policy as it may be a case that elderly or sick cats might be put down. Additionally you might be able to offer to take the cat back if they are not claimed within a set period.

Caring for the cat
Providing you are in a position to give the cat the care they need and you are certain they are a stray then you can keep them. You should start to regularly feed the cat at the same time and in the same place in order to make sure they are well cared for and feel safe in their new environment. It is advised that for the initial period of introducing the cat to a new home that you confine it to one room, with a litter tray, bedding and food. Make sure you leave water out for the cat to drink and if you have other pets be careful to keep them separate until the cat has settled in. You should also take the cat to the vet to be checked over as stray cats can pick up things such as fleas and worms, as well as more serious cat diseases.

Taking in a stray cat is a big commitment so before deciding to do so you should consider all the aspects of caring for a cat.

Author Bio:
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers Pet Insurance. Visit us online at