What is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?
If the cat is not friendly and approachable, it may be a feral. These cats are able to look after themselves. So long as a feral cat is healthy, they will live happily outside. If the cat is approachable and friendly it may be a stray cat that belongs to someone.
We support the trapping and neutering of feral cats where local charities have the capacity to do so.
What should I do if I find a stray or ferrel cat?
Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to collect healthy strays but you can help a stray cat by following our ‘How to help a stray’ guide below. If you have concerns about a sick or injured stray cat you can report it to us.
If a stray cat is not feral the best thing to do is try and find its owner: To find out if the cat has an owner follow these steps:
- Cats roam over a wide area, so ask around to see if anyone knows who it belongs to.
- If you can safely transport the cat to a vet, you could have it scanned for a microchip.
- If this isn’t possible but you can get close enough to put a collar on it, then download our Paper cat collars [PDF 36.5KB]. Take precautions when approaching the cat and fixing the collar.
- You can also download and print a Found poster [PDF 10.7KB] and Lost and found contact list [PDF 20KB].
- We also recommend you visit Pets Located, an online resource that reunites owners with their pets.
Rehoming a stray cat
You can decide to take on a stray cat yourself if no owner can be found - find out more about the needs of cats.
Taking on a stray cat
If you decide to keep a stray cat, you must be able to properly care for the cat. Find out about the needs of cats.
Finding a new home
Some of these are listed on our Lost and found contact list [PDF 20KB].
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