Found Cat: What to Do?

Have you found a lost cat? Follow these tips to help a lost or feral cat find its home.

By Jeff McAllister

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CatMillions of cats are homeless in the United States. Humans are largely responsible for their predicament. We domesticated these animals and abandoned them. We failed to spay and neuter and they reproduced. While we cannot save every homeless cat, we owe it to them to try!

What is Feral?
By definition, a feral cat is one that has had little or no human contact. Merriam Webster defines feral as, wild, untamed, and undomesticated.

Jacque Schultz of the ASPCA National Shelter Outreach/Companion Animal Program says, Most times, if you can get near enough to a stray cat without using a humane trap, the cat is not feral. Feral cats are not tame animals and have the natural wariness most wild animals have toward humans.

Feral cats are best left to professional animal groups. Many no-kill groups trap feral cats, test them for disease, vaccinate, spay or neuter, and rehabilitate the ones that can be socialized and matched for adoption. Sadly, the ones that cannot be tamed to live in a social environment will be returned to their colony. They of course, will not be able to reproduce.

Strays in Need
Inevitably, we all cross paths with a stray cat. A pair of frightened eyes stare back at you, and you wonder, Is he hurt, cold, hungry? Is he trying to reach out for help? Suddenly, this little creature is tugging at your heart. You can't walk away but you don't know what to do. Does he belong to someone? Can you pick him up? If taken to a shelter, will he be euthanized?

We need to remember that stray cats need us. One caring individual can make the difference as to whether that cat is happy or sad, lives or dies. Most of us want to help, but don't know what to do. Ignoring a stray is exactly how this problem started, and walking away only perpetuates the problem.

So there he is looking back at you, uncertain as to whether he can trust you. You look at him, unsure of what to do! There is no written-in-stone rule. Common sense and compassion is the answer. However, there are some steps you can take to gain his trust:

1. Get down on the cat's level. You will be less intimidating.

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Reader Comments

Evelyne    Spencerville, Ontario Canada, ON

3/12/2010 8:42:10 AM

I was working at an farm animal sanctuary on the weekends and one weekend I noticed a grey kitten in one of the small cages. I was responsible for taking care of any rescued cats, so I went over to his cage and immediately, I knew this kitten was meant to come home with me. I told Andy that I wanted this kitten. He told me that someone was already in the process of adopting him. When I returned next weekend, he was still there, so I guess the other person really did not want him. I knew that he was meant to be with me and that he would no longer be in a small cage by himself.
Now he is the happiest cat in the world. He puts both paws around my neck and licks my entire face. He tells me thank you so very much for saving my life.

Spencerville, Ontario Canada

Chris Campana    West Columbia, SC

3/11/2010 8:42:57 PM

back in September of 2009, my neighbor left is black cat in the apartment for two weeks. not knowinf that i walked by the place and seen tha black cat in the window. with the place trashed up i had to act. i busted the door open and he came to me. He was only 6 months old. Now over alittle year old we still have each other and never been apart. his name now is midnight. As a government emplyee and a combat veteran, i urge everyone to have a heart for a cat, when my baby brother commited suicide a month ago, both tigger and midnight have been there for me all the way. today i dont know what i would with out them. Today i donate to the combine federal campaign for helping rescue cats.

Gretchen    Moorpark, CA

3/10/2010 11:50:38 PM

Today I just took in another young calico kitty and he or she is hissing alot and very wary of me, so I keep speaking softly and petting it, in hopes it will stop spitting and hissing. It doesn't seem to be eating too much since I've had it in the apartment, I don't know what to do about that,
so I'll have to leave it in the hands of God. I've provided the food and water & potty box, now the cat has to eat and poop.

Bob    Mesa, AZ

3/10/2010 12:43:54 PM

I'd register for the Arm & Hammer coupons if they weren't on the DO TEST on animals list!

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