HAVE YOU FOUND A CAT?
If the cat is hungry, please feed it and make water available. Do not give it cow's milk as many cats and kittens are lactose intolerant.
If the cat will let you approach it, make up a paper collar with a note on saying: "If this is your cat call this number ..." so that you can find out whether the cat is definitely a stray or just likes getting extra food - many cats will do this! Place it around the cat's neck and secure the two ends with a small piece of sticky tape - don't put tape round the whole thing as that could be dangerous if the cat gets caught up anywhere. If no one calls you within 24 hours, you can be fairly sure it is most likely lost or a stray. If this is the case, proceed as follows:-
If possible take the cat to a vet to have it scanned for a microchip. They should not charge you for this, but you could telephone first just to make sure! Frequently people with missing cats do report it to the local vet.
If you can ask around in your neighbourhood including local shops to see if anyone has a missing cat. Also ask your neighbours if they have been feeding the same cat or have seen it before in their gardens. Frequently a stray cat will rely on several people for food. Perhaps you know of someone local who has moved away recently or is on holiday. Even if they made arrangements for their pet to be fed whilst they were away, cats sometimes stray under these circumstances. And when people move, if it is not too far, a cat will try to return to its "home".
Most stray cats - the ones who do it for a living rather than the lost & bewildered - will be looking for not only food but shelter - a shed, a porch, anywhere away from the weather where they can shelter quite often during the day. Always feed a stray whilst you are looking for the owner and provide a dry place for it to shelter.
If you suspect that the cat is injured in any way or unwell or even possibly pregnant, then contact your nearest branch of Cats Protection for further help and advice. Most rescue centres are generally full and will have a waiting list. Cats Protection prioritise sick or pregnant cats but will try to take strays in when they have room. If you can keep a stray out of danger by feeding it and providing shelter, you could give us a description in case anyone contacts us. We are prepared in certain circumstances to offer help in these cases without actually taking responsibility for the cat.
By taking these steps, many cats are reunited with their owner. There are now very many websites where people can report their missing cat, so if you have access to the Internet, it would be a good place to look.
If we do take in a cat, we must keep it for at least 14 days
before we can rehome it.
We would love to be able to take in every stray or lost cat that was reported to us, but we do not have the resources or the space or the volunteers to be able to care for so many cats. This is why we do stress to owners to keep their cats safe and NEUTER them! See our Feature on Keeping Your Cat Safe to try to avoid losing your cat.