Our blog

What should you do if you find a stray cat?

What should you do if you find a stray cat?
This article contains: cats petplan advice

According to the Blue Cross, the number of stray cats in the UK is on the increase and a stray can often be hungry, frightened or even sick or injured.

Because of the often difficult decisions that need to be made if you come across an injured cat, it’s important to know what to do should you find one.

Petplan has put together some useful advice should you find a stray cat with some help from our friends at the Blue Cross

If the cat appears injured, take it to the vet as soon as possible

If you find a cat that is ill or injured, speak to them gently and softly and cautiously approach, if they do not seem frightened gently pick the cat up in a blanket and take them to your nearest vet where he or she can receive medical-treatment and be searched for a microchip.

If the cat seems too distressed to let you approach call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 for help.

Find out if the cat is actually a stray

If you find a stray cat that seems healthy and does not require medical attention, you need to be sure they are genuinely homeless before taking them to a rehoming centre or adopting them yourself.

Often cats seem to be strays but actually have a home. Due to their nature they do tend to roam and can appear lost and owners lose their cats because somebody mistakes the cat as a stray. A cat that’s hanging around looking for food, or trying to get into your house may have a home not far away.

You should also check whether the cat is microchipped and contact local vets and rehoming centres to see if anyone has reported their cat missing.

Putting a paper collar on the cat and writing a message with your telephone number on it asking the owner to call you or putting up ‘found’ posters could also reveal that the cat has a home nearby.

If the cat is not friendly and approachable, it may be a feral. These cats are able to look after themselves and so long as a feral cat is healthy, they will live happily outside.

Find the cat a new home

If you would like to keep the stray cat as your own pet you must be able to give them all the care they need to stay happy and healthy and should consult a local vet for advice before you make a decision.

Have you ever found a stray cat? Let us know your experience below…

Back to top
Jordan Walker
I found a stray cat last year while driving my car. I brought him to my vet to find out if he was sick or something. Good thing he did great. He was my neighbor's cat and was reunited with his owner afterwards.
Lorelai @ Pest Service London
I have a soft spot for homeless animals, especially injured/sick or babies. I have brought in stray cats on occasion, so I've had my fair share of mistakes to learn from. One of the things people usually forget to check is parasites, pests. The second cat I rescued and brought home had fleas. I thought the matter could wait a day or two when I would take her to the vet anyways, plus the fleas weren't a lot. Three days later I was harbouring an awful flea infestation. I had to call a pest control company, thankfully there are a lot of companies in London which offer free quotes and same-day treatments. So this was my lesson learned, especially when you give half your pay check for a flea treatment, it teaches you well for the future. So now my first reaction when I find a stray and decide to take it home is - TAKE IT TO THE VET FIRST. Thanks for the article!
Some good common sense tips in the article, thanks for sharing
We took in a stray cat recently. At first she was scared to be touched or picked up but glad to say she's now settling in well.

Look no further

We are pet specialists and have an unrivaled knowledge of pet health and unlike many other insurers. That's why we've designed our policies to cover as many conditions as possible, and are able to pay 97% of all the claims we receive.