What to Do if You Found a Lost Cat
Have you found a lost cat? Did a kitty in need come up to you and looks lost? Not sure what to do? Here are nine things to help put you and your found kitty on the right path.
1. Read the kitty signals.
Many housecats wander outside, and not all of them are wearing tags. Obviously if the cat is wearing a collar and seems relaxed or purposeful, it is most likely doing its daily outdoor patrol. However, there are signs that could indicate that kitty is lost. Here are some things to take into account:
- Does the kitty look distressed?
- Is it meowing in despair?
- Is it wandering aimlessly, going back and forth and looking confused?
- Is it hiding or cowering in a dark or safe spot with wide pupils and a look of fear?
- It is in danger from traffic?
- Is it a young kitten that cannot care for itself?
2. Remove the cat from danger if you can.
If the cat does appear to be lost and in harm’s way, see if you can coax it into your home (in its own room if you have other pets), or into your backyard. If the cat is not friendly or seems too distressed to be approached, it is better to leave it alone and move to Step 4.
3. Scan for a microchip.
If you can keep the cat in a room in your home, you may want to call a local vet or shelter to take it in immediately to scan for a microchip. Most shelters or vets will scan a chip for free but make sure to have them scan the full body as some microchips can move around over time. This may be the first line of defense in finding the right owner.
4. Alert the neighborhood with flyers.
Obviously if the cat is friendly you can take a photo of it and make a quick flyer. If the cat is hiding or too distressed to approach, you can create a flyer with “SEEN” instead of “FOUND” as the title and share your information. An easy way to make flyers is by using the template provided here, simply download and swap out the picture and update with your information.
Found Pet Poster Template (MS Word)
Once you print out your flyers, place them on telephone poles or in mailboxes where the kitty was found or sighted. Also place the flyers at nearby busy intersections to maximize visibility. Cats can travel a long distance in just a day so posting at major intersections 1 – 5 blocks from where it was found is a good practice.
5. Alert the neighborhood via Nextdoor.
Nextdoor.com is a great online resource — it’s kind of like Facebook for neighbors. You’ll need to sign in but once you’re in it’s a great way to keep your neighbors on alert by submitting a post with description and photo of the cat you found.
6. Alert the local city shelter.
The local shelter will often allow you to place an alert on file, or you can send them your and the kitty’s information in case the cat’s owner calls in to check for their cat. Each shelter will have its own policy, but owners looking for lost cats will often call the shelter in their search.
7. Check and post on Craigslist.
First conduct a search in the Pets section to check for “Lost” postings. If you don’t see a match you can also submit a post in that section. Include the general location and photo.
8. Search and post on Facebook.
Conduct a search for “Lost and Found” pets in your area in case there is a local group dedicated to this in your town or city. You can also check for neighborhood groups and post there as well.
9. What to do if/when someone contacts you.
If someone calls you to claim the cat, you are within your right to ask for additional confirming information on the cat, like getting a specific description. To prevent just anyone from claiming the cat, you may also ask for other proof of ownership such as veterinary records or a photo.
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