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What Do You Do When You Find A Lost Cat?

by Adopt a Pet, | January 8, 2024


When you find a lost cat, the first order of business should be trying to find out if he is someone’s pet. You can do this by posting about the cat on your local NextDoor page or social media pages, hanging flyers, and letting animal control know about the cat (see a full guide here). Laws vary by location as far as whether you are required to turn the cat over to animal control, but even if you don’t have to, you should provide a picture and description, as animal control is one of the first places most people look when they lose their pet. You can also swing by a local shelter and ask them to scan the cat for a microchip.

Is The Cat Lost Or Homeless?

If none of your efforts to find the cat’s owner are successful, you may never know if the cat was someone’s lost pet or if he was abandoned by his owner. It’s highly unlikely that an adult feral cat (a cat who has lived his entire life outdoors and does not tolerate human interaction) would allow you to approach him, so if you were able to do so, it’s probably not a feral cat.

If you can’t find an owner, you’ll have to decide what to do next. Here are your options:

  • Keep The Cat: Did you find your new best friend? That’s awesome! Thanks for giving the cat a loving home.

  • Surrender The Cat: Bringing the cat to a local shelter may end in the cat finding a new home, but it could also end in the cat being euthanized. If you must surrender him, try to find a no-kill shelter or reputable private rescue.

  • Rehome The Cat Yourself: If you can’t keep him, consider rehoming him yourself. Not sure how to start? Visit the Rehome website for tips and tools to help you find him the perfect new home.

NOTE: If the law in your area requires a found cat be turned over to animal control, let them know you’re willing to take the cat if he’s not claimed. Once you get the cat back, you can either keep him or find him a good home.

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