Cat basic concepts

What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: May 31, 2018
What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat

Did you find a stray cat as you walked down the street? Before wanting to save it from the streets it is important to establish whether it is actually a feral cat or, on the contrary, it is a domestic cat as in the first case the cat will surely have a family and be part of a feline colony while the other will probably ask for help and will need you to care for it. In this latter case you must follow a few guidelines to ensure that the animal does not belong to someone and, when there is no owner, begin a process to find a good home in which it can grow up happy and healthy. In this OneHowTo article we will tell you what to do if you find a stray cat so that you know the steps you need to follow should a cat come into your life.

You may also be interested in: What to do if my Cat is Lost

Steps to follow:


The first step we have to carry out if you find a stray cat is assess what kind of animal it is because if it is a feral cat you should not take it home as you will be removing it from its natural habitat. See where the animal is, if there are more cats around, and so on. One of the most obvious ways to tell if the animal needs your help is if it approaches you, meows and seeks your attention; these signs indicate that it is asking for help and is not afraid of approach you.

Think that feral cats are more fractious animals and often do not relate to people, so its instinct will be to stay away from you, be scared and run away. So if the cat runs away from you, just let it go, it is likely to be a feral cat that does not need your help.

However, if the animal follows you, approaches you, rubs against your leg etc. it is asking for you to rescue it. It is important that you pick it up as soon as possible because it is not accustomed to the dangers of the street (lack of food, cars, etc.) and may end up hurt or something even worse.

What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat - Step 1

So, if the cat is domestic or is asking for your help you must collect it and take it to the vet immediately. What can happen? The animal could get nervous when you pick it up and accidentally scratch you or become agitated because it does not know where it is being taken. To avoid this situation that is stressful for the animal it is best to look for a box where you can place it and then use as a carrier to take it to the veterinary practice.

It is imperative that you take it to the vet to check if the animal has a microchip in the body, if so its owner is likely to be going crazy looking for it and you will be doing him or her a great favor by rescuing their cat.

In the case of not having a chip ask for the specialist's advice so he or she can inform you on how to proceed in its care (what food to give it, how to bring it home, etc.) as you will most likely have to stay with it for a few hours or days until you can find its owner or a new home.

What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat - Step 2

If the cat does not have a chip, the next step you should take is adapting a space in your home for the cat. We recommend that it stays away from children and other animals (if you have one) to minimize its stress level and so it can relax in this environment that is unfamiliar to it. Taking it in is vital to safeguarding it from the external dangers of the city.

To find its owner you can prepare some posters with the picture of the animal and your contact details and hang them in the area where you found the cat and in the surrounding streets to cover a larger area. While waiting for the owner you will have to feed the animal, giving it water and affection to have it remain calm and stop being afraid.

If you have found a stray kitten, we recommend you read this other article on caring for a newborn kitten.

What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat - Step 3

If after some days nobody contacts you it may be that the animal does not belong to anyone or, worse still, that they have abandoned it. So the next step you should do is contact an animal protection charity that can help you find a new home for it. While they search fro an ideal home for the animal you can keep it and take care of it to avoid it having more stress. However, if you cannot keep it for that period then you can instruct the charity to find it a foster home.


It may be the case that the charity can not keep the animal if they are overcrowded, then what do we do? Look for a new home for the cat yourself. Today, thanks to the proliferation of new technologies it can be easier to find people willing to care for these animals, so put ads on Facebook and other social networks, on the Internet and contact web sites involved in animal adoption, etc. This will require more dedication but, in the end, you will find the animal a new family that will give it love, attention and the care it needs.

What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat - Step 5

There is also the option for you to keep it and adopt it. In this case it is best that you take it to the vet for a check up, give it the vaccinations it needs and receive advice on its basic care so that the animal grows strong and healthy. In OneHowTo we explain what vaccinations are compulsory for a cat, so you can ensure these are administered according to schedule and thus have the animal protected against diseases and infections.

If you want to read similar articles to What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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I feed this stray cat every day , there are no animal shelters in my country there are rescue centers, this stray cat hasn't had any contact with any cats lately but has been going to different homes for food , doesn't seem to fear me , and makes this sound that is called "trilling'' and purrs a lot when being pet, seems to be a tuxedo cat , decided to name him checkers he doesn't know that yet , just wanting to know what to do next
stelly star
is it a girl
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What to Do if you Find a Stray Cat