Hopefully, if you find a lost cat, you can bring it home and look after it at least until you have done some initial searching for the owner or can find a safe place for him to go. This article will look at different locations to try and locate the owner.
Is the cat really lost?
It’s not always easy to determine if the cat is lost or not. If you are not sure, purchase a cheap cat collar and attach a note with your phone number on it and ask the owners to call you to confirm the cat has a home. If after a day or so the cat is still around, and you have not been contacted, then it’s time to start looking for the owners.
Can you keep the cat at home?
If you have other pets in the home, do isolate the found cat as you won’t know his medical history and he may inadvertently pass on something contagious to your pets.
Give the cat some water and food and make him comfortable.
Some cats may be feral; do not try to catch and handle a feral cat, instead contact your local council, or shelter and ask them what to do.
Check for identification
The first thing, of course, is to check to see if it has any identification around his neck. If you are reading this article, the chances are that it doesn’t. The majority of cats today will have a microchip which is a small chip that is injected under the skin at the scruff of the neck. Each microchip has a unique number, which is stored in a central database. Veterinarians and shelters have a hand-held scanning device to check the cat for a chip. If the cat has a microchip, the veterinarian will be able to retrieve information on the owner.
Print out some flyers
Next, print out some flyers and pass them around your neighbourhood along with your local veterinarian’s office, local schools, scout halls and community notice boards. Try to be as descriptive as possible. A photo is great if you can get one, as a picture really is worth a thousand words. Include a contact number on the flyer. Mobile is best as most of us have our mobile with us the majority of the time. Put tabs on the bottom of the flyer with your number on, so that people can rip it off and call you when they get home.
This is a huge avenue for locating the possible owner. Take a photo of the cat and look for Facebook groups in your area. Most cities, towns, suburbs have a local Facebook group. Post a photo of the cat there. There’s a good chance even if the owner doesn’t see the photo, a friend of a friend may. Ask your friends to spread the word.
Call the local council and ask if they have a lost and found section. They may be able to register the cat’s details and pass on your information should somebody call.
The next place to call is your local animal shelters. See if you can fax or email a photo of the cat with a description for them to register.
Online (forums/lost and found boards etc.)
Search online to see if there are any pet or local area forums where you can post details of the cat you have found.
What to do if you can’t keep the cat
The first place to try is your veterinarian’s office. Many will take in lost cats temporarily. If you don’t have a cat carrier, a sturdy cardboard box will do, make sure it has some breathing holes.
If there are no vets in the area, or they are unable to help you, the next place is your local shelter.
What if you want to keep the cat?
Of course, you must check the cat for identification first, and make attempts to locate the owner. If he already has a home, his family will be missing him. It is crucial you do your very best to find the owner of the cat. If you have exhausted all attempts to find the owners, have checked local lost and found groups, shelters and veterinarians, and no owner has come forward, then talk to your veterinarian about keeping the cat. If you do decide to keep the cat, vaccinate, microchip and desex him and maintain a regular parasite regime.