How to help a stray cat
If you’ve found a stray cat, here’s what you can do to help it:
Provide food and water
If a cat looks like it needs help, the first thing you should do is offer it food and water. Stray cats often have trouble getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy. A simple bowl of water and a can of food can go a long way toward helping a stray.
Look for an owner
The stray cat you found might actually be someone’s lost pet.
Check the cat for a collar, which often has the owner’s phone number. If the cat doesn’t have a collar, you’ll have to do some investigating on your own. One good way to find its owner is to post a picture about it on a community forum.
Consider asking neighbors and putting up signs around town. In some places, you can also file a found pet report at the local shelter. If someone is looking for the cat, they’ll likely come across your efforts to find them.
Additionally, you can have the cat checked for a microchip at the vet or an animal shelter, which can lead you to its owner.
Lure the cat into a safe place
You’ll likely need to transport the cat to provide any help beyond food and water. Luring the cat into a comfortable carrier is a good place to get started.
It’s usually best to avoid picking up a stray cat, even if you think it would let you. Instead, try to lure it into a carrier with food. It might take some time. Remember that helping a stray cat is an exercise in patience.
Humane traps are another option for capturing the stray. A local rescue organization may be able to loan you one. Check if the cat’s left ear is tipped before trapping it. If it is, it often means the cat has already been trapped and spayed or neutered. Consider calling animal control if you can’t capture the cat.
Learn More: What Plants Are Toxic to Cats?
Seek medical care for the cat
You may need to bring the cat to your local animal shelter for medical care. Strays are often malnourished, and animal shelters can help restore a cat’s health. The shelter can also handle the process of finding a new home for the stray.
Once you’ve found an animal shelter that provides the services the cat needs, your job as a rescuer is done. However, budgetary and space limitations might make it difficult for some shelters to take in the cat.
If you can’t find a shelter willing to take the cat in, you can take it to the vet yourself. Even if you don’t plan on keeping the cat, it’s important it remains healthy while you search for a home for it.
If you want to keep the stray cat, it’s best to bring it to a vet. Give the vet all the details about the cat’s situation. The vet will then conduct a full examination to confirm the cat’s health and may recommend some basic vaccinations.
Be prepared to take financial responsibility for the vet visit. If you aren’t able to cover the costs, call ahead — the vet might be able to point you toward an animal rescue group in your area. Many cities have animal rescue groups dedicated to taking care of stray cats and dogs, which will often cover vet costs.
See Also: How Much Is a Vet Visit for a Cat Without Insurance?
Maintain separation from other pets
It’s important to keep stray cats separated from your other pets if you bring them into your home. Strays often have diseases that they can transmit to your household pets.
Keep the cat contained in a separate room of your house if you can’t take it to the vet right away. Don’t let your other pets get too close until the vet gives the stray a clean bill of health.
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Adopt it or find a new home
You can typically adopt a stray, but keep in mind that pet ownership is a significant responsibility. If you can’t keep the cat, try to find it a good home. You can conduct a search on your own by posting to social media or by enlisting the help of a local rescue organization.
Check Out: Before You Adopt a Cat | A List of Things to Consider