What to do if you find a Cat
Additional helpful information found in the rescue section.
1. Identify an Owner
Do your best to discern if the cat belongs to someone and is lost, belongs to someone and is just roaming, or is a stray before removing the pet from his/her possible neighborhood.Check for tags and any kind of notification to help you track down the owner if there is one. I usually carry a stray pet bag of stuff in my car just to be prepared that has a leash, treats, food, bowls and water. They can be helpful tools to securing the pet in your car or getting them to a secure location.
Keep in Mind: There are a lot of people who have outdoor cats that they let roam without any collar or clear physical identification. If you are confident that the cat belongs to someone (looks healthy, well groomed and fed) then the best advice may be to let the pet go and hope he/she will find their way home. I heard someone recommend giving the cat a collar with a note to call if he/she returns home so you know that he/she was safe and back where they belonged.
2. Ask Neighbors
If you have time and the cat is well behaved in the car or secure in a carrier, I would drive around the neighborhood where you found the cat knocking on doors to see if anyone recognizes the pet.
3. Visit the Vet
If the cat has no collar or tags which most don’t but clearly looks like someones pet (not a stray) take them to a vet clinic and have then scanned for a microchip. They also might recognize the cat.
If your pretty sure the cat is a stray (looks malnourished, coat is matted etc.) he/she may or may not be a stray they may have been lost/on their own for awhile still it’s good to take them to the vet to see if they need any treatment (de-worming) and they can better assess their age and condition (how long on own). Plus you are doing a great service to the future owner by making sure they are medically up to date while protecting any pets you may have at home if you will be harboring the animal temporarily.
4. Isolate the Pet
When you take the cat home, make sure and put him/her in a secure area away from your other pets in case they do have any diseases (until you can get to the vet) and to protect against any potential fights.
5. Make Posters
Make big bright bold (easily readable from far away) signs. Post them at major intersections right by your home up to a few miles away. Include a picture if possible!
6. Make Flyers
Smaller flyers can be used and disseminated to nearby establishments (vet clinics, pet establishments, area locales with bulletin boards etc.)
7. Post on Websites
Post your pets information on our bulletin board and other local and national websites. *Remember to leave out some bit of key information (name, collar, distinguishing mark, tattoo etc.) to avoid scams. Be sure and check all the “lost” sections regularly. *We will also send out email alerts in the appropriate county. Please consider signing up to receive lost and found pet alerts.
Local Websites that offer lost and found boards:
Stray Magnet: (bulletin board, posted on social media websites and email alerts)
Happy Tales Humane:
Nashville Humane Association: (lost pet report, no website database),
For a list of more websites across the country click here.
8. Contact area agencies and businesses
Call to inquire/notify animal agencies of found pet animal control, local police, veterinary clinics. Leave a flyer with animal control in case they get any phone calls.
9. Find Temporary Care
If you can not care for the pet or find someone who can temporarily, there are a number of rescue organizations and animal shelters who might be able to help. Click here for a list of shelters and rescue groups. Your best bet will be with someone you know as most groups have waiting periods before accepting new pets. Animal control agencies can take in animals but have a limited amount of time they will keep animals before they euthanize them so animals best chance at life will often be with a no kill shelter or rescue group.
10. Place an Ad in the Paper
Place an add in the found section of the newspaper if interested. *Remember to leave out some bit of key information (name, collar, distinguishing mark, tattoo etc.) to avoid scams. Be sure and read the “lost” section.
11. Find a Permanent Home
If after a couple of weeks no one has claimed the cat, it’s okay for you to help find kitty a new home. If you are happy to welcome him/her into your home-congratulations and thank you for helping save another life!!! If it just won’t work right now, here are some tips to finding a new home: email all your friends, post it on facebook and other social media websites, contact rescue groups, call local shelters early to get on their wait lists, utilize the same posting places with flyers you did earlier.
You have done an amazing work trying to help a lost or stray animal, thank you.