What to do if you find a stray cat

Most cats are by nature , inclined to wander - so it seems inevitable that you might come accross a stray. Unlike dogs,m there are very few laws that give cats legal protection and for our help line one of the most frequently asked questions is what to do when finding a stray cat.

Is it a stray cat?
Cats often appear lost and wanting food and this doesn't necessarily mean that they are a stray. If the cat appears a healthy weight and well groomed, they might belong to someone else - worth thinking about before you take the cat in for yourself.

Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat. There might be someone in the local area frantically searching for their lost pet. Check out local community Facebook groups and websites of local cat rescue organisations.

What should I do if I find a stray cat? 
If the cat is friendly enough to approach, check if there is a collar or ID tags - If it belongs to someone , you can give them a call to arrange a happy reunion. If there are no visible signs of ownership, take the cat to your local veterinary clinic where the cat can be scanned for a microchip and contact can be made with the registered owners.

Keep the cat safe
In the menatime, keep the lost cat safe and provide it with food and clean water. It is advised not to give a cat cow's milk as many are lactose intolerant. If you are unable to take the cat into your home, you might want to provide a temporary shelter. try a sturdy cardboard box with an old blanket.

Worried about a stray cat's health
A lost cat might be nervous, especially if sick and injured - so 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.

If you are worried about the health of the cat, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. If the cat is injured, take it 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.

Found cat checklist

How can Cats Protection help?
If you have had no luck in finding the cat's owner, please contact our local lost and found team on lostandfound@brighton.cats.org.uk for further advise.