If a stray cat has befriended you or you have caught one then very important to make sure that it doesn't belong to someone. If you rehome the animal without checking its ownership then you're rehoming someone's cherished friend.
- See if it has an ID tag on a collar with details that you could call.
- Contact your local vets - they can microchip the cat to see who its owners are. They can also take a description of the cat and your contact details at a few local vet clinics. Cat Haven also have a lost and found registry for a nominal fee of $10.
- Door knock with a photo of the stray cat.
- Put posters up in your neighbourhood - lamp posts, local shopping centres, letter box drops and traffic light poles.
- Put an ad in the local paper of your area. Include a brief description of the cat, where it was found and when and your contact number.
What if I can't hold onto them?
You have several options if you are unable to hold onto the cat while you try to find the cats family. These include:
- Ask a friend or family member if they can mind the cat.
- Go to your local vets. Most vets will be willing to hold the animal for a time while you try to find their owners. You can also enlist their help in finding your strays family.
- If you want the cat to live and have a chance at finding their family then we do not recommend taking them to a shelter that euthanase ("put to sleep") cats. They are obligated to hold the animals for a minimum of 72 hours and after that time the animal might be put to sleep. It would be horrible to find that you had just located your cat a day too late and they were no longer alive.
Have you found the real owner?
Should someone contact you in regards to the stray cat then you need to make sure they are the real owner. When putting up posters leave out a couple of important details that only the owner would know - such as distinguishing markings. Ask them these questions when they enquire. You can also ask them to bring a photo of the animal they are claiming is theirs. Watch the way the cat interacts with them when they come to collect them.
If you aren’t sure then ask them for the details of their vet. You can contact them to confirm if the animal does visit them and match it up with any ID the person has with them. Never hand over a cat to someone who claims that it is theirs without proof of ownership, or their real owners may never see them again.
What if the owner isn't found?
If no one comes forward to claim the cat after 2 weeks or more then it is safe to say that they have been abandoned and you can set about rehoming them. For assistance on rehoming please see our article.