How To Tell if a Cat is a Stray

How To Tell if a Cat is a Stray

Encountering a cat wandering the streets can raise questions about its well-being and whether it is a stray or a lost pet. Determining the status of a cat can be crucial in providing appropriate care and assistance. In this blog post, we will explore various indicators and methods to help you determine if a cat is a stray. By observing their behaviour, physical appearance, and taking necessary precautions, you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

  1. Assess the Cat's Behaviour: Stray cats often display specific behaviours that differ from those of domesticated cats. Look for the following signs:

a. Fearfulness: Stray cats are generally cautious and may exhibit fear or skittishness around humans. b. Approachability: Observe if the cat allows you to approach it or if it tries to maintain distance. c. Social Interaction: Stray cats might not display signs of previous socialization and may avoid contact with other cats or humans. d. Vocalization: Pay attention to any excessive vocalization, as strays may meow loudly or exhibit distressed sounds. e. Hunting Instincts: Notice if the cat demonstrates hunting behaviours such as stalking, pouncing, or chasing prey.

  1. Check for Signs of Neglect: Stray cats often lack proper care, which can manifest in their physical appearance. Look for the following indications:

a. Poor Coat Condition: Observe if the cat's fur is matted, dirty, or appears unkempt. b. Thin Body Condition: Check if the cat's ribs or hip bones are visible, indicating malnourishment. c. Injuries or Scars: Look for wounds, scratches, or other visible injuries that may suggest the cat has been involved in fights or accidents. d. Parasites: Presence of fleas, ticks, or other external parasites can be an indication of a stray cat.

  1. Assess for Signs of Ownership: Before concluding that a cat is a stray, it's important to consider the possibility that it may be a lost pet. Look for the following signs that indicate possible ownership:

a. Collar or Identification: Check if the cat is wearing a collar with tags containing contact information or if it has been microchipped. b. Neutered/Spayed: Spayed or neutered cats are more likely to be owned since responsible pet owners often have their cats sterilized. c. Behaviour Towards Humans: Observe if the cat appears comfortable around humans, indicating prior socialization and potential ownership.

  1. Observe the Cat's Hangout Spots: Stray cats often have specific locations they frequent. Monitor their movements and note if they exhibit the following behaviours:

a. Repeated Visits: Stray cats may visit the same area consistently, searching for food or shelter. b. Hesitant Approach: Note if the cat cautiously approaches feeding stations or food left out for it. c. Interaction with Other Cats: Observe the cat's behaviour towards other cats in the area, as it might be forming feral colonies.

  1. Seek Professional Help: If you are unable to determine whether a cat is a stray or if you suspect it may be lost or in need of assistance, consider reaching out to the appropriate authorities or organizations such as:

a. Animal Shelters: Contact local shelters and provide them with a description of the cat. They can check for microchips or help with further assessment. b. Rescue Groups: Reach out to local rescue organizations that specialize in stray or feral cat management for guidance and assistance. c. Veterinarians: Consult a veterinarian who can check the cat's health, scan for microchips, and provide advice on the best course of action.

May 15 2023
by Claire