Most cats will busy themselves around the area surrounding their home, it’s what cats do. They’ll have favourite routes to various places, at different times of the day. I’m sure if you take a particular route you’ll have noticed the local cats you see along your way. A cat who is familiar with their location will generally appear confident and settled. But what of the unfamiliar puss that you notice who seems fearful, furtive or ill at ease. Lost cats may try to attract the attention of passers-by meow, meow! I’m lost, can you help? Although of course it’s tricky because some much-loved cats completely at ease wandering their patch will sometimes want a little fuss too. They don’t make it easy for us, do they? Cats! So here are a few ideas to help concerned folk determine whether the puss we’ve ‘found’ is a stray cat, a feral or is in fact an owned cat with a sense of adventure.
When is a stray not a stray?
If the cat appears well-groomed and is a healthy weight, it may have an owner nearby. Ferals behave like wild animals and won’t come close, even with encouragement. Stray cats might look lost and disorientated but may be friendly if given time. At Swansea Cats Protection we of course have many concerned callers to our Helpline saying they’ve found a cat, and we are grateful that they do. But there are simple steps you can take yourself if the cat is not in any immediate danger or difficulty. Check out the helpful guide below which gives tips on how to identify the cat you have found.
Keeping the cat safe
If the cat you’ve found is friendly, you might be able to check for an identification tag on a collar. If it belongs to someone, give them a call and let them know. More often these days cats are microchipped, which is a fantastic development and has led to wonderful and emotional reunions after weeks, months or even years of a beloved cat going missing. If the cat is happy to be handled and it is safe to do so, take the cat in a secure carrier to your nearest vet to scan for a microchip, or call your local Cats Protection branch for help. If you call our Helpline, a volunteer will visit with a mobile microchip scanner and fully assess the situation. Unfortunately, not all cats will be microchipped or willing for someone to come close enough to check, so taking a photo of the found feline and posting on social media sites or putting up posters can be very helpful. Another simple but effective method of determining if a cat is a stray or just a ‘six dinner Sid’ (an owned cheeky puss who likes to visit lots of people for food, fuss and snacks) is to put one of our Cats Protection paper collars on him/her. These can be obtained from us or printed from a downloadable template from a link on our website. Simply write your contact telephone number in the space provided and ensure the fitted collar allows for two fingers to be placed between the collar and the cat’s neck to make sure the cat isn’t harmed.
As soon as the owner sees the collar they can call the number you’ve written to reassure that yes, it’s my six dinner Sid you’ve come across….he’s just a much loved, greedy, friendly puss passing by.
The Woman who didn’t like cats
But what of strays that sadly don’t have owners who are overjoyed to have them returned? Owners who have moved house and heartlessly left them behind? Or cats who have callously been abandoned, maybe driven somewhere and dumped? My own dear old cat, Amber, was thought to have been dumped in an area far away from her original home and simply left to stray last summer. A frail, sick and elderly cat like her wouldn’t have lasted long but for the kindness of strangers who fed her and contacted Swansea Cats Protection. Thanks to Ann and Rebekah, two of our tireless volunteers, Amber is now safe and loved. But what of the countless stray cats who are abandoned to their fate? We know of so many wonderful people who day-in day-out feed stray cats in their gardens, who keep cats warm and dry in makeshift shelters, all at their own expense. Too many to mention here of course, but perhaps you’d like to hear about one kind woman called Anna whom I met recently after she and her lovely daughter, Carla, contacted us about a stray cat who desperately needed our help. Poor Smokey is only one of the 5 or 6 cats they’d been feeding for a number of years. Each and every day (with special arrangements for holidays!) Anna ensures all of the strays are fed, and you’d think that was pretty exceptional, yes? But what is most exceptional is that Anna claims she doesn’t like cats very much! Yet she adds with a smile ‘I couldn’t just leave them to go hungry could I?’ So Anna buys food for all these poor stray cats every week, calls out their names and they come running for breakfast, for tea, for treats….now isn’t that remarkable? Young Smokey will soon be available for rehoming so please look on our website to find out more about him and all the other cats in our care who need a safe, loving home.
Here are just two of the lovely cats waiting for a new safe and loving home…
Hello my name’s Bob. You can probably tell that I’ve been through a tough time lately, but I’m getting back on my paws with the help of these guys. I’m only 9 so I’ve got plenty of life left in me…just give me a chance.
Smokey’s my name and just like Bob life has been tough for me, but it’s getting better every day. My fur used to be very fluffy and it’s beginning to shine again…I’ll get there and soon look better than ever! Can’t wait to have a proper home again.
If you are interested in adopting or fostering one of our lovely cats or kittens, please get in touch and arrange to come and meet the cats waiting patiently for a loving home. We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 260 2101 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note our Helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can, but please be patient and remember that we are all UNPAID VOLUNTEERS trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea.
I find this so very hard to write – my beautiful, adventurous cat Henry was killed on the road a few weeks ago. I can’t believe he’s gone and miss him more than I can say – whatever will I do without his joyful, naughty company? Henry was a Swansea Cats Protection kitten, rescued from a very uncertain fate and came home with us at about 12 weeks old. He was everything a kitten should be…and more! My children adored him, grew up with him…we all loved and put up with him and his naughty ways! Because of Swansea Cats Protection our darling Henry had a long life of fun, love and adventure. Goodnight sweet prince.