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. Check out our visual guide for more tips on how to identify the cat you have found.
- without an ear tip – won’t have their ear ‘tipped’, even if they have been neutered
- appear near houses – either in people’s gardens or near homes
- microchipped – if they are a missing pet, they may have a microchip
- recent in their appearance, looking lost and disorientated
Action Point : Check Around Your Home & Garden:
- every room in your house / loft / cellar / all cupboards
- behind curtains / under duvets / behind settees / under beds
- in and around washing machine / dishwasher / tumble drier / oven / microwave
- chimneys / dustbin / water butt / compost bin / sheds / garages
- green houses / outside toilets / vehicles / gardens / hedgerows / wheelie bins
- check under nearby cars, also check engine spaces under car bonnets and in wheel arches
- if you are having building work done, check under floorboards and in any holes large enough for a cat to get in
Ive Found A Pet What Should I Do
Check for a collar or tag
Contact the owner using the contact details on the tag.
Scan the microchip
Take the animal to a council pound, shelter or veterinary clinic to have him scanned for a microchip.
Put up found posters in your area. Include a clear photograph and a note letting the owner know the council pound, shelter or veterinary clinic where you have left the animal.
Use social media
Use your network, ask for help, and post on all the lost and found pages you can find.
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Found A Pet Beware Of This Cruel Scam
While people with lost pets may be more likely to become the victim of a scam, people who have found a pet can also be a target. A scammer may contact you pretending to be the owner of the pet you found. In reality, they are trying to dupe you into giving them the pet so they can sell it for a profit.
Some pets, especially purebreds, are sought out by scammers to be illegally sold for a profit. It is up to you to verify proof of ownership before giving up your found pet. Photo Credit: Pexels
If someone contacts you claiming to be the pets owner, you must verify their claim before handing the pet back to them. Vet records, ownership or breeding papers, and even family photos are all viable ways to prove ownership. If the person is unable to produce any of these, it is likely they are attempting to pull off a scam.
If you are contacted by the owner of the pet you found and are able to verify proof of ownership, that is amazing news! It is always best to play it safe by arranging to meet in a public place to give them back their furry family member.
Reuniting a pet with her family is one of the best feelings in the world. Photo Credit: Pexels
Consider Setting A Humane Trap
Once you confirm the cat is around but resists coming to you, you may need to try trapping with a humane trap. Inside cats that escape to the outdoors are very likely to be hiding close by. Their instinct when frightened is not to reveal themselves, so they will not meow or come to you. The only way to get a nervous cat back may be to trap it. Some local humane societies and animal control agencies will lend or rent humane traps. They can also be purchased at pet stores, hardware stores and home centers. Bait with some strong-smelling food. Monitor trap often. If left overnight, do not be surprised if you catch a raccoon or someone elses cat!
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What To Do If The Stray Kitten Does Not Have A Mother
If you have determined the stray kitten does not have a mother, his greatest chance for survival begins with you. The first thing youll need to do is capture the stray kitten. For some kittens, this is as easy as reaching out and scooping them up. For others, you may need to contact a local animal society or shelter to obtain the humane traps often used in TNR. Simply place the trap out with some food inside, and wait nearby. The kitten should wander in and trigger the trap to close its door. Kittens do not get hurt in the process!
Next, get the stray kitten to a veterinarian for a checkup ASAP. If the vets office is closed, youll have to start his care right away. Even if you cant foster a stray kitten long term, youll be a lifeline during this first phase of rescue.
Containing and monitoring the formerly stray kitten is key to his health and well-being. A dog crate is perfect. To keep him toasty, place a covered heating pad in his crate and keep the room temperature at 75 degrees. The heating pad should cover only half the crate so he can get away from it. Watch for panting you dont want him to get overheated either. A cold or limp kitten indicates a medical emergency.
Additional Lost Cat Behaviors
The Silence Factor: This is a term that Kat Albrecht coined to describe the lost cat behavior when a sick, injured, or panicked cat will hide in silence. It is a natural form of protection for a cat to find a place to hide under a house, a deck, a porch, bushes, or any place they can crawl. The Silence Factor kills many cats because while the cat is sick or injured and hiding under a neighbors deck, cat owners are typically busy looking for their cat down at the local shelter or they are busy posting flyers on telephone poles. Instead, the proper search for most cats in most situations is to conduct an aggressive, physical search of the immediate area while understanding that the cat might be close by but hiding in silence.
The Threshold Factor: This is an interesting behavioral pattern that Kat Albrecht observed with displaced cats. Many of these cats initially hide in silence, but eventually break cover and meow, return to their home or the escape point , or finally enter a humane trap. While some cats take only hours or a few days to reach their threshold, many others take several days before they break cover. We suspect the threshold is reached due to their thirst, although more research needs to be conducted into this lost cat behavior.
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Rescuer Behaviors That Create Problems
One of the most tragic misinterpretations of feline behavior occurs when rescuers observe a cat with a xenophobic temperament and assume, based on the fearful behavior, that the cat is an untamed feral. While it is true that feral, untamed cats that are unaccustomed to human contact will hiss, spit, twirl, lunge, and urinate when humanely trapped, this wild animal behavior is also common in cats who have xenophobic temperaments! We know this because we have talked to owners of lost xenophobic cats that had to be humanely trapped in order to be recovered the owners verified that their cats exhibited wild behavior while in the humane trap. These behaviors are a reflection of a fearful temperament, not a lack of tameness. Shelter and TNR workers should scan all feral cats for microchips and conduct research to determine if the new feral is actually someones xenophobic pet cat that escaped outdoors, perhaps several weeks or months before it was found.
For more lost cat behavior and recovery tips, visit www.lostapet.org and/or read Kat Albrechts book, The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective.
How To Find A Lost Cat With A Microchip
Itsa common question among pet owners: Can I track my cat with a microchip? Thequick answer is no. A microchip doesnt provide you with the real-time locationof your missing pet. However, a missing cat that has been microchipped would bemuch easier to identify and find, compared to a cat that hasnt beenmicrochipped.
Sohow do you find a lost cat with a microchip? The most important thing you needto understand about microchips is that theyre basically an identification tagthat would have to be scanned by specified systems for you to find out whereyour cat is.
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Think Twice Before Taking A Cat You Find To A Shelter
When you come across a friendly cat, think twice about picking it up and taking it to a shelter. Research shows that lost pet cats are far more likely to find their way back home themselves, with only 3% of ‘rescued’ cats reunited with their owners via a shelter.
Leave pet cats where they are or, if laws permit, take them to a local vet to be scanned for a microchip. A staggering 80 per cent of cats entering the pound system are killed. So we dont want the cat ending up in a shelter if it is lost. Statistically, cats are much, much more likely to return home on their own than survive being impounded.
What To Do If Your Indoor Cat Escapes Outside
You are home and someone opens the front door. Your cat scoots out, turns the corner of the house and vanishes! What do you do?
First off, you go after your cat, but you don’t run, and you don’t make loud noises. Try to keep the cat in sight, but normally when an indoor cat gets outside, the smells and the sounds tend to be overwhelming and the first thing they want to do is hide close to home. Any loud noises like shouting their name or clapping your hands will tend to further startle them. If they stop and look at you, drop immediately to a kneeling position, don’t look them in the eyes and stretch your hand out. Using your calmest voice, call the cat. If there are no distractions around you, they will sometimes come right to you.
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Warning The I’ve Found Your Cat Phone Call:
Ask for a Photo: If someone calls saying they have found your cat, ask if they can take a photo of the cat on their phone, and text it to you – then you will know if it is your cat or not. That question may also catch out time-wasters.
Take Sensible Precautions: Even if you think a caller has genuinely found your cat, please do not go to see them on your own, particularly if you are under 18 years of age. Take an adult friend with you – and a cat carrier of course!
Beware of Hoaxes and Scams: Be on your guard if you are asked to part with money for the return of your cat. Asking for a photo of the cat can catch out scam calls. Even if you are happy to offer a monetary reward, NEVER hand over money until the cat is safely in your hands. One scam reported to us involved the request to arrange a money transfer don’t be caught out! Scammers have even been known to pose as a rescue organisation pretending the cat has been handed in, and asking for money to return your cat – please be aware that no rescue centre would ever ask for payment to return your own cat to you!
If You Decide To Take The Animal Home
If you decide to try to find the owner yourself, be sure to contact your local animal shelter or animal control office first. This will give you an opportunity to let the appropriate agency know that you have the animal and to provide a description to them, in case the owner contacts them. Also, have the animal scanned for a microchip this quick ID check could help you find the owner right away.
Before bringing the animal home, make sure you can keep your resident animals separate the found animal could be sick, fearful or aggressive with other animals. Once you have them safely at your home, take pictures and create a found pet flier to post around the area in which the animal was found. You can also post notices at veterinary hospitals and on websites such as petfinder.com.
If youve tried to find the owner without success, but are unable to keep the animal long-term, you can try to re-home the animal yourself.
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How To Help A Stray Pet
You’re driving your car when you see a dog on the side of the road. With a sinking feeling, you realize they are alone. What should you do?
This is a wrenching scenario for all who care about animals. After all, what if your own pet were standing there? Use our guidelines for providing safe and effective help.
Lure Them Into Your Car
If you are certain you can get help from animal control very soon, try to lure the animal into your car with food, close the door and wait for help. In most cases it isn’t a good idea to attempt to drive somewhere with a strange dog unrestrained in your car they may become frantic or aggressive. Cats may do the same, as well as lodge themselves under the car seat, and it can be dangerous trying to extract them.
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Visit Local Shelters And Humane Societies Immediately And Return Often
Tip: You must go to shelters often and in person
This is the hardest thing to do, both physically and psychologically. In most states there is no mandated holding period for cats as there is for dogs. You may have to look at all those little faces knowing they could be doomed. Of course there are shelters that do not routinely euthanize but they are usually full and have to turn down people who want to surrender a stray. Still it is indispensable to visit your local shelters in person to see if your cat has been turned in. Bring a good photograph of your pet to leave with them. but do not depend on the shelter people to contact you. Often, they are just too overwhelmed to research the huge volume of lost and found cat reports they are asked to deal with. You really need to return to the shelters regularly to look for yourself.
I Have Or I’ve Found A Sick Or Injured Pregnant Cat What Should I Do
If mum does look sick or injured and in need of urgent medical help, the quickest way to help her is to seek advice by phoning your local vet. It’s always helpful to check with neighbours and local residents to see if anybody owns the cat. Please post on local social media groups and speak to neighbours to see if anybody knows her.
You can also and a paper cat collar so that people know to get in touch with you if they have any information. If you believe the mum is a stray, could you help her by providing food, water and shelter?
Please note: If the cat is found in a dangerous location such as next to fast-moving traffic, please don’t put yourself in danger, call our cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or the emergency services.
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Found Deceased Dog Or Cat
If you have found a deceased dog or cat on public property, you can take the following actions:
- Contact 311 for “Deceased animal pickup”.
- Drop off the deceased dog or cat at the Winnipeg Humane Society during normal business hours
If you have found a deceased dog or cat on private property, you can do the following:
- Drop off the deceased dog or cat at the Winnipeg Humane Society during normal business hours
How To Identify An Independent Kitten
An independent kitten will:
- Be capable or urinating and defecating without assistance from their mother
- Eat solid food
- Be able to walk
- Be able to play
If the kitten is not capable of any of the above, they’re deemed still dependent on their mother. If this is the case and the kitten is alone, please get in touch with us via our helpline on 0300 1234 999.
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I’ve Found A Stray Cat With Kittens What Should I Do
If mum and kittens appear to be free from sickness or injury and are located in a safe area then at this time it’s best to leave them alone. If you spot a mum and kittens, it’s best to keep your distance so as not to risk disturbing them. It’s important not to move kittens or mum unless they’re in danger as being moved may put the kittens at risk. In addition to the risk of disturbance, the mum might have an owner nearby already looking for her so it’s best to leave them be but you can help in other ways.
Please try to see if the mum has an owner by posting on local social media groups or speaking to neighbours to see if anybody knows her. In addition, you can and a paper cat collar so people know to get in touch with you if they have any information.
If you can’t find an owner and you think mum is a stray, it’s a good idea to call your local animal rescue for advice. They may talk to you about giving a helping hand by providing food, water and outside shelter to help protect mum and kittens from extreme weather.
If mum and/or the kittens look to be suffering from sickness or injury, phoning a local vet for advice is the best and quickest way to help. It’s important that mum and kittens stay together. If you need to transport the mum and kittens and are not able to do so safely, please call your local rescue charity or our advice line on 0300 1234 999. Never put yourself in danger.