Interacting with animals can turn a bad day around, but what do you do when you’re coming back home and meet a new neighbor down the street? Cute and fluffy, this cat is not only crossing your path but seems to be comfortable with you approaching her.
You probably see cats wherever you go, but they usually stay away from people or enjoy a two-second pet only to run for their lives under the nearest car. Somehow, this specific bundle of fur stay put.
This is the moment when you realize the cat in front of you is not feral, but a stray. It might be abandoned, but it might just be lost. You helping her could be her only chance at survival, because house cats are usually not used to being outside. Especially in urban areas. So, how can you help?
Check Your Surroundings
When you find a stray cat, there is a high chance that the owner might already be looking for it. Look around the place where you found her, for posters. Quickly check for “lost cat” posts on social media with your location active. Pet owners commonly choose these methods of search, and they will share their concern publicly, to reach a wider audience.
Make Sure the Cat is Fed
A stray cat, compared to feral cats, depends on its owner for food. They are not too self-reliant, and might even be picky eaters. So, if your neighborhood cat is more than pleased with pizza leftovers in the dumpster, a stray might not even look at those. Try to give her something tasty. However picky, if she’s hungry and trusts humans, she’ll most likely accept your “offering.”
Gently Handle Her
After you pet her, squat and try to see if you can take her in your arms. House cats are usually accustomed to this type of handling and should offer no resistance. If she does, take her to a safe place. This might be your home if it’s late, or to the nearest animal shelter.
Try to Find the Owner
The first thing you need to do after you made sure the cat is safe is to try and find the owner. Most cats now have microchips. Some are not updated, unfortunately, but there is still a chance you might find her owner like this.
If there is no microchip, or the info is outdated, posting information on available channels about her is your next course of action. You can make use of different online tools:
- Websites with lost and found pets
- Social media (your profile and animal protection groups/pages)
- Old-school methods: newspaper ads or post-flyers.
These are different ways in which your efforts could prove successful.
Decide What to Do
If you have failed to find the cat’s owner and she is still in your possession, you need to decide what to do next. You can either choose to adopt her (we know you’ve already grown to love her) or reach out to local shelters and give her up for adoption.
If you choose the first, you need to take her to the vet to assess her health, vaccination status, and whether she is neutered or not. All this information can be provided.
Next, you need to find out if you are allowed to adopt this stray cat, depending on your local laws or maybe property management regulation. If you get green light everywhere: congratulations! You are the proud owner of a cat!
However, if you are not able or choose not to adopt her, go to a local shelter and give her up for adoption along with any little info you were able to gather in the short period you were together. It might be a tough decision, but ultimately, it could turn out to be the best for both of you.
Remember— Lost housecats are commonly the victims of accidents. You might have just saved her life!