Stray Cats

Almost weekly, Oak Tree Animals’ Charity receives telephone calls regarding stray cats in our local area. These calls are from members of the public who are concerned that the cat in question may be lost or without a home.

Did you know:

  • There are an estimated 10.9 million pet cats in the UK.
  • Whilst microchipping is compulsory for dogs, it is not for cats.
  • Many pet cats in the UK roam their local neighbourhood on a daily basis using a particular route.

Fun fact:

  • Cats have an internal body clock which allows them to tell what time of day it is. Whilst they cannot read the clock in your home, they can tell the time by daylight and bird song. This is why you may see a visiting cat at the same time each day or why your own cat always arrives home at a specific time. 

What should you do if you have a cat visiting your property?

  • Firstly, do not feed a stray cat - We know, we know, it is hard to resist those sad kitten eyes that scream feed me but, some pet cats may be on a specific medical diet and by feeding a visiting cat, you may be doing more harm than good. Additionally, by not feeding visiting cats, you may notice they don’t visit as often and are spending more time at home.Here at Oak Tree, we often speak with owners whose cat has gone missing. This causes a lot of heartache and distress to the family and investigations often reveal that the cat has been receiving food elsewhere, which inevitably results in the cat going home less and less.
  • If you believe a cat to be a stray, place a paper collar on your regular visitor - If a “stray” cat continues to visit your property even after feeding has ceased, place a paper collar around its neck with these words written on the collar, “Is this your cat? If so, please contact …..” providing your contact number at the end. Wait 7 days for an owner to make contact with you. If the cat is still visiting your property after 7 days and no owner has been detected, take the stray cat to your local veterinary practice to have it scanned for a microchip. Note: If at any point during the 7 days you believe the cat’s welfare to be at risk, or they are injured/ill, take to your nearest veterinary practice ASAP.
  • Use social media to help you - Take a photo of the cat in question and post it onto a local media page such as “Missing Cats Cumbria”, this way members of the public can help you in your quest to find the cat’s owner.
  • Door knock in your local area - Speaking with your neighbours is a very effective way to find out who the cat belongs to. You may even find the owner of your visitor!
  • Notify your local animal charity - Many animal charities keep a lost and found pet register, this provides another way to reunite the cat with its family. Additionally, if no owner has come forward after 7 days and the cat in question is not microchipped, you can discuss bringing the stray cat to your local rehoming centre.

How to tell if the cat visiting you is a feral

  • Can you handle the cat in question?
  • Is the cat approachable?

If you answered no, then you may be dealing with your neighbourhood feral cat! 
Take note of the cats ears, are they both pointed? If yes, then contact our Community Team at community@oaktreeanimals.org.uk for further information on what to do next. 
If it’s ears look like the below photo, the cat in question is likely to have been a part of a feral cat neutering programme and has been released back into the area. They are also likely to have a carer nearby.

If you have any further questions regarding your neighbourhood feral cats, contact our Community Team at community@oaktreeanimals.org.uk | 01228 560082 extension 230/228.


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