What to do if you’ve found a cat

Cats are adventurous creatures so it’s very likely you will encounter a cat you haven’t seen before in your garden or on your street. It’s often difficult to know whether a cat is lost, a feral or a "Six Dinner Sid" just on the look out for another gourmet dinner! Follow these tips to help decide whether you need to take more action.

  • As a general rule – cats that look healthy and well groomed probably live nearby. A lost/stray cat is likely to be nervous and look disorientated. With time they may become more friendly. A feral cat will normally avoid all human contact and won’t come close even with encouragement.
  • Avoid feeding cats. This is a golden rule UNLESS the cat looks particularly hungry or dishevelled. Feeding cats will encourage them to keep coming back. Bear in mind some cats may have dietary requirements and will need special cat food. However well intentioned, you could be endangering their health by feeding them.
  • If the cat is friendly, use a paper collar to see if it has an owner. There are various templates - search for "cat paper collar". You can use the Toe Beans mobile number if you do not wish to use your own. If you get no response you can assume that the cat is either lost or a stray.
  • Ask neighbours if the cat is theirs or if they know the owner. Check social media for "lost cat" notices. Post a photo on local Facebook and NextDoor and ask people to share. It is sensible to leave some identifying features out of the photo and to ask any claimant to verify cat is theirs. Put a note through the door of any newcomers to the area.
  • If you’ve had no success finding an owner get in touch. If the cat is friendly and can be contained a Toe Beans volunteer can visit and scan for a microchip, or can trap. If you aren't in our local area, you can identify rescues who may be able to help here
  • A vet can scan for a microchip if you are able to get the cat there safely.