Last updated: 14 Oct, 2021
Published on: 4 Mar, 2016
Help! I've found a stray cat. What do I do?
Think twice before taking a cat you find to a shelter
When you come across a friendly cat, think twice about picking it up and taking it to a shelter. Research shows that lost pet cats are far more likely to find their way back home themselves, with only 3% of 'rescued' cats reunited with their owners via a shelter.
Leave pet cats where they are or, if laws permit, take them to a local vet to be scanned for a microchip. A staggering 80 per cent of cats entering the pound system are killed. So we don’t want the cat ending up in a shelter if it is lost. Statistically, cats are much, much more likely to return home on their own than survive being impounded.
Not all cats you see are lost
It’s also worth noting that not all cats are lost. In every urban community, there are semi-owned or ‘community cats' living happily amongst us. Urban stray cats have access to food and water and survive happily in our communities. If they are healthy cats in good condition, don’t attempt to trap them and take them to a shelter. There are better ways of managing and reducing cat numbers. Find out about the Community Cat Program and how it's helping cats.
You can visit the National Desexing Network for more information about discounted desexing.
You can also find some helpful information on how to care for stray cat families here.
The sad truth is that council pounds are generally not safe places for kittens and cats, with thousands killed each year. PetRescue is trying to change this, and we’d love your help.