Did You Accidentally Steal a Cat?
by Danielle Cookish
Have you ever seen a healthy, friendly cat taking regular strolls around your neighborhood, napping the afternoon away on your porch? You may wonder if that kitty is lost and in need of help.
It’s natural for pet lovers to want to help an animal in need. Many people believe that if they see a cat outside who maybe even visits for meals every day, they need help. Usually, they don’t! Not all who wander are lost.
Millions of cats in the US have indoor and outdoor access. The first signal that a cat is not lost is identification tags. If your feline visitor appears healthy but does not have a collar on, you can do some detective work to find out if they have a home nearby. Do not bring the cat inside your home or bring them to a shelter. A kind, well-meaning gesture of trying to help could actually be cat-napping! A cat with regular outdoor access often roams the neighborhood and surrounding area, returning home to their family for the evening. Removing them from their routine separates them from their home and family.
When cats with outdoor access are presumed stray and brought into a home or a shelter, the chances of them reuniting with their family drops below 1%.
There are safe ways to help this kitty and determine if they have a family. Use this tool as a first step in assessing if the cat needs help and how to find out if they have a home. Your concern and dedication to animals’ well-being are so appreciated -- going about helping your neighborhood felines the right way helps build and maintain a safe and humane community for all.