Found a stray cat?
Found a stray cat and not sure what to do?
Stray cats can often appear lost and wanting food but this does not necessarily mean that they are lost. If the cat you have found appears a healthy weight and well groomed they may belong to someone. If the cat is friendly and there are no visual signs of ownership such as a collar or ID tag, there are a number of things you can try to relocate them with their owner. Take a look at our step by step guide below.
1 . Avoid feeding
We advise that you avoid feeding stray cats that appear healthy, feeding cats will only encourage them to visit you more often and can prevent them from returning home. Cats are natural scavengers and will go wherever the food is. Also bare in mind that many cats have special dietary needs, feeding them the wrong diet can make them sick.
2. Go door knocking
Knock on doors and ask your neighbours. Cats found straying often live close by, ask around and see if anyone recognises them.
3. Try a paper collar
Paper collars are a great way to track down owners. Here is a printable collar template for you to use:
Alternatively you can use a piece of paper cut into a strip with:
“If this is your cat please call this number………..” written on.
Fasten the collar with a SMALL piece of tape. Please only apply tape to the end of the collar to secure it. The idea of using a paper collar is that it can rip off easily if the cat gets caught on anything and wont put them in harms way. Ensure the fitted collar allows for 2 fingers to be placed between the collar and the cats neck. If no one makes contact with you after a few day this could indicate the cat is missing.
4. Check for a chip
If you've had no luck so far tracing an owner, the next step is to take the cat to your nearest veterinary practice who will happily scan the cat to check for a chip. You will not be charged for this service. If a chip is found, the vets will contact the owners on your behalf.
Advertise the cat as found locally with posters and leaflets in the area. Social media can be a great way to find owners of lost pets and advertise found pets. Have a look for lost and found pet pages for your area.
You can also register found cats here:
I've tried all the above steps and haven't found an owner,
what should I do now?
If you have undertaken all of the above steps and it is established that the cat is genuinely stray and in need of help, we welcome you to contact us. We will take details from you about the cat and look to add them to our waiting list. As a small but very busy rescue we are often full and operate a waiting list system for cats waiting to come into our care. Once a cat has been added to the waiting list you will be contacted when a suitable foster home becomes available.
I think the cat might be feral, what are my options?
The most important action to take with feral cats is to have them neutered so the feral population in the area does not increase and become unmanageable. Neutering also helps to reduce the risk of deadly diseases being spread among the feline community. We can help by loaning you a humane trap to safely contain the cat and we also offer free neutering for ferals. This would need to be pre-arranged with our vets so please get in touch to discuss further. Once neutered, feral cats generally do better when released back to the area they are familiar with, the area that they recognise as their territory. To help feral cats live a more comfortable life we recommend providing them with outdoor shelter and a supply of fresh food and water each day if you are in a position to provide this.
Found a sick or injured cat?
If a cat you have found is sick or injured you can call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
If the cat requires urgent veterinary care please take them to the nearest veterinary practice.
The RSPCA has an agreement with the British Veterinary Association to provide initial emergency assessment and care for sick and injured animals. In all cases you must have obtained prior authorisation by calling the RSPCA before attending the veterinary surgery for the emergency care to be funded.
A lost cat might be nervous, especially if sick or injured - approach with caution. The safest way to move a cat is to carefully cover him in a blanket before picking him up. This keeps the cat safe as well as shielding you from claws. Ideally it is best to use a secure cat carrier to transport them to the vets safely where possible.