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Stray Cats

17 December 2019
Stray Cats

Stumbled across a stray cat? Take a look at our guide on what to do if you've found a cat.


What do I do if I've found a cat?

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?

Stay or stray?

Seeking help and advice on stray cats? When coming across a wandering cat, remember that it may well not be a stray. Most cats have a sense of adventure and even owned cats might appear to be lost - or at least in want of food! The cat you've encountered might be a stray, feral or even an owned cat.

Is it a stray cat?

If the cat appears to be a healthy weight and well groomed, it might belong to someone else. Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat or check out local newspapers and Facebook groups for listed missing pets.

If the cat is friendly to approach, check the collar for ID tags. If there are no visible signs of ownership, take the cat to your nearest vet to scan for a microchip, or call your local Cats Protection branch for help. Contact can then be made with the owners to arrange a happy reunion.

Worried about a stray cat's health?

A lost cat might be nervous, particularly if it is sick or injured. Approach with care by carefully covering the cat in a blanket before picking them up and putting them in a cat basket - this keeps them safe as well as protecting you from claws!

If you're worried about a stray cat's health, contact the following on their emergency numbers. RSPCA (England and Wales) 0300 1234 999, USPCA 028 3025 1000 (Northern Ireland) or SSCPC 03000 999 999 (Scotland).

If the cat is injured, you can take it to your nearest veterinary practice immediately. Vets provide emergency treatment and care to sick or injured animals at no cost to the finder.

Printable paper collars for cats

If you've found a cat and you're unsure as to whether it has an owner, use our handy paper collars. Here's what to do:

  • Print out the template here
  • Write your contact telephone number in the space provided and cut out one collar
  • Ensure the fitted collar allows for two fingers to be placed between the collar and cat's neck, to make sure the cat isn't harmed
  • If you get no response from the owner, call your local Cats Protection branch. You can find your local branch by typing in your postcode in our Find us page

Found a cat? Follow our checklist

Feral cat, stray cat or owned cat with a sense of adventure? You can learn what the difference is in our visual guide at www.cats.org.uk/found-cat

Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat – there might be someone in the local area frantically searching for their lost pet Is the cat sick or injured? If you’re concerned, call the RSPCA, USPCA or SSPCA

Has the cat got a collar or tag? If there are no visible signs of ownership, take the cat to your local veterinary clinic to be scanned for a microchip

Check local newspapers and listings in case the cat has been listed as missing

Post a photo and brief description on your Facebook page and any local community Facebook groups

Tweet a description and photo of the cat on Twitter and ask your followers to retweet – you’ll reach a larger number of people this way

Stroud Cats Protection branch’s lost and found register tel: 07773535260

Useful numbers

RSPCA (UK) – 0300 1234 999 USPCA (NI) – 028 3025 1000 SSPCA (Scotland) – 03000 999 999 Petlog – 0844 4633 999 Cats Protection’s National Information Line – 03000 12 12 12