The Wokingham Paper

PETS & VETS: What do you need to do if you find a stray cat?


As the days start to brighten you may notice more of our feline friends out and about, soaking up the sunshine. It is normal for cats to roam and sometimes it can be difficult to tell if they have owners nearby, are lost, stray or feral.

Cats are adventurous and are well known for wondering into stranger’s houses.

If they are a healthy weight and well-groomed they tend to have owners nearby. However they may be strays left behind by their owners or can be lost.

Cats can be startled and run off and suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings.

They also sometimes accidentally hitch rides in cars.

For instance, Lenny – pictured – decided it would be fun to ride off on top of a dustbin lorry.

Understandably they can end up quite far from home.

Feral cats behave like wild animals, are not friendly and tend to be scared of humans. They may live alone or in a larger cat colony and tend to stay away from houses. They are also permanent to the area and may have a missing ear tip.

Stray or lost cats may be shy but will often approach humans given time. They also tend to be on their own, near houses and may have recently appeared in the area.

They can also look disorientated.

If you come across a cat which you think is a stray there are a few steps to take.

First of all check for a collar and ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat.

Also check your local news in case a missing cat has been advertised.

If you are still concerned that the cat has no owners nearby then you can take it to your local veterinary clinic.

We will scan the cat for a microchip and contact their owner if one is present.

Please remember, as owners, to keep the details on your pet’s microchip is up to date.

If their owners still can’t be found then advertise that you have found a missing cat and attach a cat’s protection paper collar to the cat.

Make sure there is a two-finger gap between the cat’s neck and the collar. This allows the cat’s owners to contact you and let you know that the cat is not a stray or lost.

Also check the lost and found register by phoning your nearest cat protection centre.

After seven days if no one has come forward please call your local branch of the cat protection centre this can be found online:

This starts the process of finding the cat a new home.

Although you may decide that the cat’s new home is yours.

Claire Turner is a Veterinary Surgeon at St Vincents Veterinary Surgery, a family-owned practice providing personal care for all your pets in and around Wokingham. Should you have any concerns about your pet’s health please contact the practice for advice

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