What To Do If I Found a Missing Cat?

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Found a Missing Cat

Coming across a lost pet instills the desire to reunite it with the owner as it is a rewarding experience. However, catching a cat is not always easy since they are so agile and may run away instantly. So you might be thinking, “What is the best thing to do in this scenario?”

A simple thing as taking a picture and posting it along with the location on social media is a worthy contribution to helping the owner find their missing cat. Apart from this, there are several other steps you can take to completely ensure that the missing cat is found and returns home.

How to Tell If the Cat Is Stray, Feral, or Owned?

Before you even consider rescuing the missing cat, you need to determine whether or not the cat you see is a stray or is owned by someone. A stray cat differs slightly from a feral cat; it may seem lost but eventually comes close if approached correctly. A feral cat tends to be aggressive and reserved from the get-go, which means the cat will not hesitate to show hostility on your approach and will not come near you no matter how much you encourage it.

When it comes to identifying a house cat, try to see if it is a healthy weight cat and seems well-groomed. One of the signs of an owned cat is a collar with information about the owner. Regardless, if you sense that it is a house cat, it should not try to run away when you approach. It should not hiss or growl at you as well, and may even walk towards you.

Stray cat sitting on car hood

Catch the Cat and Bring It to Safety

If you feel that you have enough time and energy to go out of your way and help a missing cat, then here are a few helpful tips that you need to consider.

1. Snap a picture

As mentioned above, the first thing you should do is take a picture or video record the missing cat before you even approach it. This way, you will at least have something to use to help the owner find their cat in case you were unsuccessful with catching it.

2. Be calm with slow movement

There is a thumb rule to bear in mind when approaching any animal for the first time. That is not to be aggressive and rapid but instead, approach the animal slowly. Take breaks between your steps and encourage the cat to move towards you.

3. Offer a treat

Offering a delicious treat can easily bring the cat’s attention towards you, and it is more likely to come forth. The best thing you can give the cat in terms of a treat is either plain boiled chicken or a can of tuna. However, make sure that you do not offer dairy products such as milk because cats cannot easily digest lactose and may have stomach issues.

A gray cat is reaching for a treat

4. Avoid chasing the cat

The last thing you would want to do is run after the cat. This type of behavior will only entice the cat to become more scared and quickly sprint away from you. This brings about a dangerous possibility of the cat running towards busy roads.

5. Avoid an aggressive cat

Be sure to avoid going too far with approaching the cat. Otherwise, it may launch at you in an attempt to attack and harm you. If the cat starts to act aggressively and starts to hiss and growl at you, then the next best thing you can do is note down the description of the missing cat and contact a local animal control department or police department. The concerned authorities will ask for the information on the last location you spotted the lost cat, so make sure you remember that.

6. Keeping the missing cat safe

If you have successfully gotten hold of the cat, then the next concern is to safely and carefully bring it back to its owners with a few important steps in between.

If it is late in the day, you should take the cat home with you, but make sure you transport the scared kitty in a box or carrier that has good ventilation for the cat. Cats generally do not like being held, so having an empty spare box will be helpful.

7. Medical treatment

If you sense that the missing cat has been injured or does not seem the healthiest, consider taking it to the nearest animal clinic to get the necessary medical treatment.

Not only will the veterinarians heal any injuries, but they also might scan the missing cat for a microchip to contact its owner.

A veterinary is using stethoscope for cute Scottish straight silver chinchilla cat

8. Take the cat to an animal shelter

In the unfortunate case that the missing cat has no microchip or any means of identifying its owner, then the next ideal step is to take it to the nearest animal shelter. This is the safest bet to help the missing cat find its way back to the owner, as most people turn to an animal shelter after losing their pet.

9. Spread the word

If you have done all of the things I mentioned above and still want to offer further assistance, try printing fliers describing the missing cat and where you found it. Distribute these flyers to people in the surrounding area and post them on walls, light poles, etc.


To sum it all up, if you are keen on helping the missing cat find its way back home, follow the instructions mentioned above. Approach slowly, provide medical attention if needed, and avoid feeding human foods. If you could not catch the cat, then spread the picture and relevant description that you collected before approaching the cat.

Lastly, consider contacting the nearest animal shelter and police department to involve as many helping hands as you can.

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