One day you go for a walk in your neighborhood and suddenly you see a furry cat’s face protruding behind a bush. Or a cat/cat you’ve never seen before races across the yard and disappears under a parked car. You want to help, but what can you do with a stray cat?
How to best spot a stray, homeless cat
The first rule to help stray and homeless cats is: hands off! Do not follow the cat immediately. It is unlikely that you will catch it, but it is likely that you will frighten it. Even if you manage to get close enough, you risk showering injuries if you try to grab her. A frightened cat can do a lot of damage very quickly.
The second rule to help effectively: Play detective. Is this a domestic cat that has recently been lost? A stray cat that has been on its own for some time but is interested in people as soon as it meets them? A wild cat that is naturally suspicious of people and prefers to live outside a traditional house?
To find out, ask neighbours and other people in the area if they know anything about the cat. Has it just arrived or has it been seen for a long time? Is someone feeding her, giving her shelter or even letting her into his house? Does the cat or cat have a collar and pendant? Has anyone put “cat missing” signs or notes in the neighborhood?
How to help a tame, homeless cat
If it turns out that the kitten has been lost, then of course you want to contact the owner and return the cat. If the found animal is a friendly, tame stray, then he probably lived in a home once. If you can’t find an owner and nobody misses his cat, then you have to find a solution so that nothing happens to the poor animal. Here you can find out which steps you have to take if you have found a found cat .
Drop stray cat?
Check with your local shelter and rescue organisation to see if they have room to accommodate another cat and find a home. If so, use a can of tuna* to lure the cat into a cat transport box* and close the door behind you, but don’t try to force it. Ask someone who has experience with cats. If in doubt, use a human box trap*.
If the shelter is overcrowded and the rescuers are full, don’t try to bring them another cat that they can’t accommodate. Consider caring for the cat yourself and looking for a permanent home. For example, you can also simply try to find a new cat home via Ebay classifieds. If this is also not possible, then have the cat neutered and take care of the animal outside with food* and a warm cat home*.
Nursing wild cats that cannot be tamed
If your neighborhood cat has gone wild or it doesn’t seem that he’s ever lived in a house, then he’s probably not tameable. Here another solution can be found. The cat can stay outside while you offer food and shelter.
Catch and neuter or sterilize stray cats
The most important rule for the care of wild cats: If you want to catch them, you have to be fast. You must use a live trap that is as safe as possible to use. Or you can use the tuna trick described above. This is the only way to catch the wild cat and bring it to an animal clinic for castration. One or two days after the operation he can be released outside again. It is important to call and make an appointment before you lure the cat into the trap. More information about catching wild cats and caring for them before and after the operation can be found on the Internet.
If there’s a wild cat in your neighborhood, there probably are others. Look around and talk to your neighbours about how you can all work together to help the cats. It is important that all cats in your neighborhood are sterilized or neutered so that the wildlings (wild cats without masters) do not reproduce. This is called Trap-Neuter-Return* or TNR and is the most effective and humane way to control the free-range cat population. Click here for more information about TNR:
It takes a little time and work, but when you are done and your neighbor cat is now in a new home or outdoors, you will know that you have made a difference.
Be yourself the change you wish for this world with its animals.