What to Do if You Find a Stray Cat
Sadly, there are many stray cats throughout the United Kingdom. These cats may be stray because they have wandered away from their owners, been abandoned when their family no longer wants them or can no longer care for them or even have been born into a semi feral existence.Finding a stray cat can be a stressful experience as the cat may be injured, ill or very frightened. Making sure that the cat is taken into a safe place where it can be given care, however, is important.
Is it Stray?Before taking any steps towards looking after a stray cat it is important to check and make sure that it is in fact stray. Cats are naturally resourceful creatures and can be independent of their owners. Whilst there are many cats who love lots of attention and cuddles, never roaming far from their owner's side, there are other cats who are quite happy wandering through fields and gardens. Quite often cats who appear to be stray are in fact much loved pets of people in neighbouring areas. Before deciding that a cat is stray it is important to check whether it is wearing a collar (this might also give the name and address of the cat's owners). If the cat is looking well fed and yet is not wearing a collar it could still be a far roaming pet. In this instance the cat may well go home of his own accord.
Taking a Stray Cat to an Animal Rescue CentreThe best place for a stray cat is an animal rescue centre. They will be able to give the cat a secure and safe home while ensuring that any injuries or illnesses are treated. If the cat can be enticed into a box or, better still, a pet basket or crate then this is the best way to transport him. Frightened or injured cats should never be transported loose in a car. If the cat cannot be enticed into the basket or box then it will be a case of calling the local animal rescue centre, RSPCA or other welfare organisation.
Finding an Injured StrayOften stray cats become injured by traffic. Any injured animal becomes defensive and nervous after injury and cats are no exceptions. An injured cat will lash out if it is scared and will not want to be picked up. The best way to handle this situation is again to contact an animal welfare organization. If the cat, however, is in a place where he may get further injuries or if he is a risk to others it is important to move him. The safest way of moving an injured cat is to carefully cover him with an old towel or blanket before picking him up. This will contain his legs and more importantly claws. Moving an animal with broken bones, however, is really a specialist task and a call to the RSPCA or local vet before moving it is strongly advised.
Making sure that a stray cat is taken somewhere where he can be given a safe and caring environment is important and will hopefully give him a new opportunity for a long and happy life.