With thousands of cats going missing each year, knowing what to do if you find one could mean the difference between a happy reunion or a sad separation.
However, findings released by feline welfare charity Cats Protection show that the UK population is confused about what to do if they spot a wandering cat.
And while slightly more than half (52%) would approach the cat, they would fail to find out if the cat has an owner. Only 42% of this sample would check for a collar to reunite the cat with its owner, while just 20% would take the cat to a vet to be scanned for a microchip.
Cats Protection says that while no approach is totally wrong, there are some key things the public can do to help them decide whether or not the cat needs help.
“However, if the cat is hanging around a lot and, over time, looks thin, underweight, or distressed, then this could be a domestic cat that has become lost and is in need of help.”
If the cat seems friendly, Cats Protection’s top tips are:
Check the cat for a collar and, if there are no visible signs of ownership, take the cat to your local vet to be scanned for a microchip;
If the cat is sick or injured, get veterinary assistance for the animal quickly or call the RSPCA, USPCA, or SSPCA;
Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat;
Check local newspapers, listings, and social media sites, in case the cat is listed as missing;
Cat owners can assist with the chances of a happy reunion by ensuring their cat is microchipped.
“We know that less than a third of all pet cats are microchipped and a quarter have no identification at all,” continued Karen, “This means many lost pet cats can be mistaken for stray cats and rehomed by people or cat welfare charities.
“Microchipping your cat increases the chances of a happy reunion, because it is a permanent and safe form of identification, though it is important to keep the microchip details up-to-date if you change your address.”
A video created by Cats Protection, showing cats can’t do the things people can to find their way home, as well as further advice on how to help a stray cat, can be found at: www.cats.org.uk/microchipping
Picture Credit: Cats Protection