Found a cat

We are often asked to take in cats which appear to be stray but are often just free-roaming pet cats who visit multiple premises.

Please do not feed the cat until you have fully read our advice below.

If the cat is in a bad condition, please contact your nearest vet.


Cats naturally roam up to 2km and will frequently visit any property where they can obtain food. Bringing a cat into our care who is not genuinely a stray takes up a space which an actual stray or at-risk cat could have used. It also puts the welfare of the cat concerned at risk too, from stress, risk of contracting a contagious illness, or from missing medication if it is on treatment.

Please note that we cannot take in a cat until you have fully advertised the cat as missing/lost for at least 7 days.

1. Check to see if the cat is healthy.
Is it a good weight? Can you see any injuries? If you can't see anything wrong with the cat, please don't feed it and move onto the next step. If the cat is in a bad state, please see step 8. 

2. Is it approachable?
If yes, please do not feed it and continue to step 3. If it is not approachable, please go to step 6.

3. Take it to the vets to check for a microchip.
Microchips are a brilliant way for owners to be easily reunited with a missing pet. If the cat does not have a microchip, please see step 4.

4. Use a paper collar for 7 days.
Use our paper collar template to print and pop a collar onto the cat in question. Put your contact details on the collar and request the owner to get in touch with you if the cat belongs to them. Ensure a collar is on the cat for 7 days, during this time please see step 5 & step 6.

5. Social Media.
This is quite possibly one of the most useful tools for tracking down cat's owners. Post a photo of the cat onto your social media pages and in local groups, a good one to use is 'Missing Cats Cumbria' on Facebook. You can also check to see if you recognise the cat from other lost/missing sites. If nothing comes from any of the above, please continue to steps 6 & 7.

6. Identifying a feral cat.
Feral cats can be identified by the cat's left ear being tipped, this is when the tip of the ear is removed to identify neutered feral cats. If the cat is in a good condition, please do not feed it and continue to step 7. If the cat is in a bad state, please continue to step 8.

7. After 7 days.
If 7 days have passed and you have had no luck with a paper collar, social media or the vets, please refrain from feeding the cat at this stage. Instead, call us on 01228 560082 ext. 228 (during our opening hours 10.00am to 4.00pm).

8. If the cat is in a bad condition, please do not feed it.
Please contact your nearest vet or call us on 01228 560082 ext. 228 (during our opening hours 10.00am to 4.00pm) for further advice.


Find your nearest vet here.

If the cat cannot easily be trapped, please visit our feral cats page or get in touch with us using the form below...


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