What to Do If You Find a Lost Cat?

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Have you ever found a lost cat wandering around your neighborhood or hiding under your car? If you are a cat lover, you may feel tempted to take the cat home and adopt it as your own. However, before you do that, consider that the cat may already have a loving owner looking for it. Or, the cat may be Feral and not used to human contact.

So, you may wonder what to do next, how to help the cat, and how to reunite it with its owner? But whenever you find a lost cat, your top priority should be to return it to its owner.

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Steps You Should Take If You Find a Lost Cat

Finding a lost cat can be a challenging experience. You may want to help the cat but may not know how to approach it, where to take it, or how to find its owner. Here are some steps you should take if you find a lost cat.

Identify the Whether the Cat Is Feral or Stray

If you find a lost cat, you might be confused and wonder if it is a feral or stray cat. Determining whether it is wild or stray is vital before you ask what to do if you find a missing cat.

Feral cats are usually very fearful and aggressive towards humans, as they have never been socialized with humans and live in the wild.

Stray cats may be more friendly and approachable if someone once owned them but has abandoned or lost them.

You can tell the difference between a feral and a stray cat by observing its behavior and appearance. A feral cat will usually avoid eye contact, hiss, growl, or run away when you approach it. A stray cat may look at you, meow, or rub against you. A feral cat may also have a dirty, matted, or injured coat, while a stray cat may have a cleaner, smoother, or healthier coat.

If the cat is feral, you should leave it alone and not try to catch it, as it may be scared and aggressive. If the cat is a stray, you can help by following the next steps:

Make Sure the Cat is Safe

If you decide to approach the cat, you should do so with caution and respect. Do not chase, corner, or grab the cat. It may scare or hurt the cat. Instead, use a calm and gentle voice and offer food or water to lure the cat closer.

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If the cat seems friendly and allows you to touch it, you can pick it up and place it in a carrier or a box. If the cat appears hostile or fearful, you can use a humane trap to capture it. You can borrow a trap from a local animal shelter or buy one.

Once you have the cat in a safe place, you should check it for any injuries or illnesses. If the cat has wounds, infections, parasites, or other signs of poor health, you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

If the cat seems healthy, you can keep it in a quiet, comfortable room, away from other pets and children. You should provide the cat with food, water, a litter box, toys, and a hiding place. Also, monitor the cat’s behavior and temperament to see if it becomes more relaxed and trusting over time.

Try to Establish its Identity

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The next step is to try to find out if the cat has an owner or not. You can do this by checking the cat for any identification tags, collars, or microchips. A tag or a collar may have the owner’s name, phone number, or address.

A microchip is a small device implanted under the cat’s skin and contains a unique code that a veterinarian or a shelter can scan. If the cat has a microchip, you can contact the microchip company or the shelter that registered it. They will help you to locate the owner of the lost cat.

Find out if there are Missing Pets in Your Area

Another way to help a lost cat is to search for missing pets in your area and see if any of them match the cat you found. You can look at flyers, posters, and notices for missing cats in your area. You can also contact animal shelters and rescue groups to see if anyone reported a missing cat that matches the description of the cat you have found.

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Additionally, you can search lost and found pet websites like PawMaw to check if there are any missing pet reports in your area. They maintain user-updated databases to help you conduct location-based searches for reported missing cats.

Moreover, if you use PawMaw to report the lost cat, their system will automatically generate a missing cat flyer based on the information and photograph you have uploaded. You can also print and distribute it within your area.

Publish a “Found Cat” Notice in the Community

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If you can’t find any missing cat report regarding the cat you found, you should publish a notice saying “found cat” and hope that someone will claim it. Create a notice with the cat’s photo, description, and your contact information.

Then, share the notice you have created on social media, online forums, and websites for lost and found pets. Further, update the notice regularly and remove it once the cat is claimed or adopted.

You should also be careful not to give the cat to anyone who cannot prove that they are the owner or who seems suspicious or dishonest. Ask for proof of ownership, such as photos, vet records, or adoption papers, and verify the information before handing over the cat.

If Needed, Find the Cat a New Home

There’s a chance you cannot find the lost cat’s owner following the steps mentioned above. If so, you must find the cat a new home. You can adopt the cat yourself or ask your friends, family, or neighbors if they are interested in adopting the cat or if they know someone who is.

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Also, you can call local shelters, rescue groups, or foster homes that may be able to take the cat or help you find an adopter. Avoid using social sites to find the cat a new home and leave the task to an animal shelter.


Reading this blog, you now know what to do if you find a lost cat. You have to take full responsibility for the missing cat’s health and welfare while in your care. Follow the provided steps to ensure the cat’s well-being and find its rightful place.

Identify whether the cat is feral or stray, ensure its safety, try to find its identity, search for missing pets in your area, publish a notice saying “found cat,” and find the cat a new home if needed. By doing so, you can help the cat reunite with its owner or find a new loving home. You can also make a difference in the cat’s life and yours.

About the Author

Natalia Michelle

Natalia is a devoted pet owner and competent writer for PawMaw. She brings the world of animal companions to life via intriguing words, with a Nomadic spirit and a heart full of love for pets. She is a prolific writer and not only excels in her job, but also flourishes in pet care and companionship. Discover her unique take on the world of pets.

The article is a guest contribution by PawMaw, in cooperation with OZT. Contact us if you are interested in partnering through your blog contribution.

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