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
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
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?
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
Finding a dead cat can be a distressing experience, and it might not always be clear if the cat is stray or owned.
See also - What to do if you find a dead cat
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