A quick guide to lost, found and feral cats

Lost your feline friend, or found a stray moggy wandering the streets? Take a look at our quick guide on lost, found and feral cats

Lost, found and feral cats

Whether you've found a wandering stray cat, you're concerned about your own missing moggy or you've found a feral cat, our quick guide will give you advice on what to do next.

Five important things

  • It is important to remember that even cats with a regular routine can disappear for days at a time - don't panic!
  • Feral cats are the same species of cat as our pet cats, but are not socialised to humans - this means they behave like wild animals. Approach with caution
  • Make sure your cat is microchipped and the information is kept up to date. Your cat should be easily identifiable so that their owner can be traced
  • Stray cats found on the street aren't always without owners. Before you do anything, it is important to check whether the cat is owned or not
  • If you're worried about the health of a stray cat, call: RSPCA on its emergency number 0300 1234 999 (England and Wales), USPCA 028 3025 1000 (Northern Ireland) and SSPCA 03000 999 999 (Scotland)

Lost a cat?

While cats are inclined to wander, you might start to worry if your cat goes missing completely.

Cats are notorious for hiding in small spaces, so it's well worth checking your house and garden before you search anywhere else.

Download our checklist for useful contact details to use in the event of your cat going missing.

See also - Lost a cat

Found a cat?

Cats can often appear lost and wanting food - this doesn't necessarily mean they are a stray! If the cat appears to be a healthy weight and well groomed, it might be owned. Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat, or post a photo on local community Facebook groups.

If there are no visible signs of ownership, take the cat to your local Cats Protection branch or local vet clinic so that they can check for a microchip.

You can find your nearest branch by typing in your postcode here

See also - Found a cat?

Feral cats

While feral cats are the same species of cat as pet cats, they are not socialised to humans or the domestic environment and can behave like wild animals.

Feral cats can be hard to spot as they find humans naturally threatening. If you need to approach them, do it with caution!

See also - Feral cats, Caring for feral cats

Stray cats

A stray cat might be nervous, or even sick or injured, so be careful in your approach. One of the safest ways to move the cat is to carefully cover it with a blanket before putting it in a safe cat carrier. You'll be keeping the cat safe as well as shielding yourself from potentially sharp claws.

If the cat is a genuine stray and you can't get in touch with the owner, you might need to keep the cat safe. Take a look at our how-to guide on building a cat shelter - this will keep the cat warm and sheltered from the elements.

See also - Stray cats


If you don't have any luck in finding an owner for the cat, give our National Information Line a call. They can give you the details of a lost and found register.

Unfortunately, in some cases, the cat might have been abandoned and if no owner is found reuniting them is not possible, Cats Protection will endeavour to find them a loving home.

See also - Rehoming

Related items

Paper collars for stray cats - Download 

What to do when you find a cat - Checklist

How to make a stray cat shelter - Meow! Blog

Lost a cat? - Topic

Found a cat? - Topic

Stray cats - Topic

Feral cats - Topic

Rehoming - Topic

Photo credits

Banner image - Xenia Bogarova - unsplash.com
Inset - Anton Darius - unsplash.com