What would you do if you found a lost cat? Not every cat wandering outside is feral. Some are pets that are allowed to wander the outdoors freely. Others are indoor cats that got out the front door when someone wasn’t watching. That awkward kitty that keeps stopping by your house might just be a beloved pet that someone is worried sick over. You can help reunite lost cats with their owners.
Helping Lost Cats Tip #1: Alert your local animal rescue.
Your local animal rescue is a great resource for helping lost cats. Not only do they have a lot of connections that can help spread the word about the cat you found, but they are one of the first places an owner searching for their lost cat would look. They might already be looking for the cat you found. A local rescue can also:
- Tell you if the cat is a known feral in area.
- Help you humanely trap the cat if necessary.
- Provide a place for the cat to stay while you are searching for the owner.
- Help find a new home for the cat if the owners are not found.
Don’t know how to get a hold of your local rescue? Ask a veterinarian’s office or click here for directory of animal rescues that is searchable by state.
Helping Lost Cats Tip #2: Visit a veterinarian.
A trip to a veterinarian can help identify the owners of lost cats. You won’t be able to tell by looking whether or not a cat has been microchipped. However, a veterinarian has the tools to find and read that microchip. As long as the cat’s owners have properly registered the microchip, everything you need to reunite the cat to it’s owners will be right there.
Just like animal rescues, veterinarians are also one of the first places owners will look for lost cats. You may see a “Lost Cat” sign right there when you walk in. Even if you don’t take the cat in, it’s a good idea to notify a local veterinarian’s office or two that you have found the cat.
Helping Lost Cats Tip #3: Bring the cat indoors.
If it is possible, you should try to bring the lost cat indoors. It is fine if you put them in a room and close the door to keep them separate from your own pets. The idea is to keep them in one place and safe from harm until either you find the owner or a local rescue can take them in. If the cat is friendly, a little TLC might be very welcomed!
There are a lot of dangers outdoors that lost cats can get caught up in. Feral cats have lived outdoors all of their lives and have become accustomed to the hard-knock life. Pet cats – especially those that are not allowed outdoors- might be confused and frightened. Indoor cats don’t have to deal with traffic, finding their own food, temperature extremes, or feral-style territory battles.
Helping Lost Cats Tip #4: Get the word out that you found the cat.
Looking for lost cats can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. The owner may be out there searching, but they won’t know you have the cat unless you say something. A lost cat could have come quite a distance, so it is good to let as many people know as possible. Take a good photo of the cat and make a note of any distinguishing marks it might have (a spot shaped like a heart, two different colored eyes, a missing tooth, etc). Use that information to do some of the following:
- Create a Found Cat flier to distribute around your neighborhood. Don’t forget to give one to local veterinarian’s offices and pet food stores.
- Put a Found Cat ad on Craigslist in your area.
- Place a Found Cat listing on WherePetsAreFound.com or browse the listings for anyone who may have posted the cat as being lost.
- Spread the word on social media sites like Facebook (make sure the privacy setting for the post is “public”). There are also pages on Facebook like The Love of Louie that are dedicated to reuniting lost cats and dogs with their owners. It might take a little searching to find the right one for your location.
- Place a Found Cat ad in the local paper. Many newspapers will do this for free.
Have you ever helped a lost pet? What was the experience like?