Surprise Visitors: What to Do With a Stray Cat

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what to do with a stray cat

Have you ever wondered what to do with a stray cat? You’ve probably wondered if these cats have a home. You may also wonder whether or not you should feed these stray cats. These cats could have an owner who lets them outside, or they could be stray or feral cats that live in the community. Depending on their situation, you can help these cats in many different ways.

First of all, how do you know that the cat is a stray? If the cat is wearing a collar, it definitely has an owner. The cat may just have wondered too far from home. Also, the cat could have a microchip that would identify its owner. Stray cats are usually very lean and they may have rough fur coats or an appearance that is generally unhealthy. Quite often, a stray cat will be afraid of strangers, so helping them might prove to be a challenge.

If you’re wondering what to do with a stray cat, here are the guidelines set forth by the Humane Society of the United States.

  • If the cat has identification, try to contact the owner.
  • If you can get the cat into a carrier, take them to a veterinarian or animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip.
  • Contact animal shelters, veterinary offices, and rescue groups to let them know about the cat you’ve found. Someone may have filed a lost-cat report that is a match.
  • Ask neighbors and mail carriers if they’re familiar with the cat.
  • Post signs and place free ads in local newspapers.
  • Create a “found pet” profile at The Center for Lost Pets.

It’s helpful if you can provide shelter for the cat while you search for its owner. If you can’t find the owner, you can try to find a good home for the cat, or you may want to adopt it yourself. But if you take the cat home with you, make sure that you have them checked by a veterinarian before you introduce them into your home with other cats.

Feral cats, on the other hand, should not be handled. Most feral cats can’t be adopted because they are simply too frightened of people.

If you happen to find a litter of unattended kittens in your neighborhood and the kittens are not old enough to be weaned, do not touch them or remove them from the nest. Their mother could be hiding from you – and if you handle her babies, she may be less likely to return to them. Wait a while and see if the mother cat returns. If she does not return, the kittens have probably been abandoned. In that case, you will want to begin bottle feeding the kittens and seek veterinary attention.

When you’re wondering what to do with a stray cat, it’s only natural that you would wonder whether or not you should feed the cat. We’ll tell you more about that next.

Should You Feed Stray or Feral Cats?

Should you feed stray or feral cats? That’s a good question, but the answer is not always black and white. In some areas, there are laws and ordinances about feeding stray or feral cats – if you feed the cat, you own it. Some areas even impose fines or other punishments for feeding stray or feral cats.

Before deciding whether or not to feed the cat, it is important to note that there are differences between stray cats and feral cats. A stray cat is a cat that previously had a home. The cat has either moved out, gotten lost, or has been given up. Stray cats are familiar with humans and can be friendly. A feral cat, however, is one that has never had a home. A feral cat is more likely born and bred from a feral line or colony. Feral cats will not be familiar with people other than something to be wary of and as a potential source of food.

Stray cats may be friendly and approach you for food or attention, or they may be too scared to let you get close. However, if you put the food down for them they will usually eat immediately. You should always use caution since you don’t know how the cat is going to react.

Feral cats may approach you when they are extremely hungry, but they will only eat the food you’ve given them once you’ve walked away. If you’ve been feeding a cat for several days and can still not approach or touch the cat, it is probably feral. Don’t try to handle a feral cat. Most feral cats cannot be adopted because they are simply too frightened of people.


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