Last updated: 10 Jan, 2020
Published on: 4 Mar, 2016
Help! I've found a stray cat. What do I do?
When you come across a friendly cat, think twice about picking it up and taking it to a shelter. Research shows that lost pet cats are more likely to find their way back home themselves, with only 3% of rescued cats reunited with their owners via a shelter.
Leave pet cats where they are or, if laws permit, take them to a local vet to be scanned for a microchip. A staggering 80 per cent of cats entering the pound system are killed. So we don’t want the cat ending up in a shelter if it is lost. Statistically, cats are much, much more likely to return home on their own than survive being impounded.
It’s also worth noting that not all cats are lost. In every urban community, there are semi-owned or ‘community’ cats living happily amongst us. With access to food and water, these cats have a high chance of survival. If they are healthy cats in good condition, don’t attempt to trap them and take them to a shelter. There are better ways of managing and reducing cat numbers. Check out the Cat Alliance of Australia for further information and advice.
Rescue groups may also be able to provide additional support or assistance with desexing and rehoming. You can use our Rescue Directory to find groups in your area.
You can also find some helpful information on how to care for stray cat families here.
The sad truth is that council pounds are generally not safe places for kittens and cats, with thousands killed each year. PetRescue is trying to change this, and we’d love your help. Read more about our Safe & Sound Pounds campaign here.