Found a lost, stray or feral cat and not sure what to do? Read our advice guide to find out more.
Most cats are, by nature, inclined to roam the area surrounding their home. You're likely to come across a stray cat on your travels, although it might be tricky to find out whether it is a stray cat, a feral or is in fact an owned cat with a sense of adventure. So what should you do if you've found a cat?
Microchips are the best way to determine the specific details about a cat. Many vets and animal welfare organisations scan lost cats for microchips. If you found a cat you think may be stray or lost, contact your local vet or Cats Protection branch to ask if they can scan them for a microchip.
It can be really tempting to feed an unfamiliar cat if you think they are lost or a stray, but it’s best not to. Some cats might be on a special diet or have a medical condition that needs a particular type of food. Feeding them something different might seriously upset their tummy or stop them getting all the important nutrients they need.
Feeding an unfamiliar cat can also keep them coming back to you. If they are owned, this will upset their owner as it means the cat won’t be leaving in a hurry to return home! If you already have a cat, it will be unsettling for them too and might cause them to become stressed.
Instead of feeding an unfamiliar cat, follow our checklist to help them.
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.Download: Stray and feral cats guide
Stray cats are socialised domestic cats who don't appear to have an owner. Be wary; even if they 'stray' they might be a neighbourhood cat who's worked out that if they look hungry they can bag themselves another meal!
Stray cats are likely to be:
Feral cats are the same species of cat as our pet cats, but are not socialised to humans or the domestic environment. This means they behave like wild animals.
Feral cats are likely to be:
If you've found a cat and you're unsure as to whether it has an owner, use our handy paper collars. These are good to attach to a cat to contact a possible owner, if there is one. Here's what to do:
Think you’ve found a pregnant cat or a cat with kittens and wondering what to do next? Follow our step-by-step guide.