It makes sense to want to help if you find a lost cat. However, how can you help and how can you tell if the cat is a stray or a pet?
Since you don’t want to presume that a lost or stray cat is feral, it’s crucial to act appropriately in this circumstance. Additionally, if a feral cat was not socialized as a kitten, you should avoid bringing it into your home or to a shelter because it is doubtful that it will ever learn to live with people. You must determine what you’re working with in order to create the best plan of action.
Cats that are stray, lost, or feral?
Your first responsibility is to determine whether the cat you’ve found is a feral cat, a stray cat, or a lost cat.
A domestic cat that is uncared for by a human is regarded as wild. Feral cats have had little to no contact with people and are completely capable of thriving on their own, despite the temptation to “rescue” one.
Stray domestic cats are those who once had a caregiver but have since lost or abandoned their home. Strays once interacted with people, but as that interaction declines, they run the risk of being feral. Nevertheless, stray animals are generally more tolerant of people and may usually be won back.
A lost pet is a cat that has vanished. Since the owners of a dropped cat usually look for it, signs might be put up. The fact that the cat doesn’t have a training collar doesn’t indicate it isn’t lost; the cat may also have a collar and a tag.
Alley Cat Allies, a cat advocacy group, offers some guidance for evaluating whether a cat is feral or stray, even though it’s not always easy to discern between these distinct types of cats right away. If the cat is not wild, you can continue to the instructions in the section below.
Cat Warning Signs: Feral
- It won’t come to you as you approach; instead, it will run away or hide. What you should do is this.
- It doesn’t look you in the eyes.
- It doesn’t meow or speak to you verbally in any other manner.
- It seems orderly. (Unlike stray and lost cats, feral cats often don’t “look” homeless since they know how to care for themselves.)
In most cases, it is beneficial to get in touch with your local cat rescue group if you come across a cat that you think may be feral. Many individuals participate in the TNR effort, which involves collecting feral cats, having them fixed up, and then re-releasing them into their natural habitats.
Stumbled upon a stray kitten? Wild kittens can be socialized and trained to make beautiful pets if they are young enough, therefore it is important to take the kitten in and either keep it or bring it to a shelter for treatment and adoption.
How to Handle a Found Stray or Lost Cat
In contrast to feral cats, stray and lost cats may and should be saved.
First, get the cat to a safe place. Once you grab some cat-safe food, observe if the cat comes to you readily. If it does, gently pick it up and bring it inside. Put it in a bathroom or spare bedroom so that it won’t come into contact with other animals. Cats who are lost or stray should not be kept with your other pets. Litter should be placed in an empty aluminum baking pan along with some food and fresh water. If you need to catch the cat, try putting some food in a carrier and keeping a careful eye on it.
Step 2: Check your neighborhood to see if any cats are gone. Contact your neighborhood animal care and control and rescue groups and take a look at websites like Tabby Tracker and Lost My Kitty to see if any missing cats have been reported in your area. If so, it might be straightforward for you to reunite the cat with its owner. If not, bring the cat to a vet’s office or a shelter so that it can be examined for a microchip. The information related to microchips, including the owners’ contact details, is stored in national databases.
Step 3: Once some time has elapsed, pick it back up and transport it to a shelter.
Step 4: If required, locate the cat a new residence. If you’ve done everything possible to reunite the cat with its carer but are still unable to do so, the cat likely needs a new home. You can either directly adopt the cat or ask local rescue groups if anyone can take it in. A shelter is typically a better choice than advertising the cat for adoption on Craigslist or other social media sites.
The choice of whether or not to keep the cat, after all other options have been explored, is subjective and situation-specific, but it is always something to consider. If you have grown close to the cat, are able to have cats in your home, and have the desire, it might be fate.
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