Stray Cat Questions

What do I do if I found a stray cat? **Please note that in most communities, more than 70% of all animals taken to the local shelter will not make it out alive.

If you find a stray: - Contact local veterinarian's to see if anyone has reported a lost animal - Take the animal to your local veterinarian and check to see if they are microchipped - Make flyers - Post on Facebook - Become creative because taking an animal to a shelter, may likely be a death sentence. If you cannot locate an owner, visit and search local rescues in your area to see if they are willing to post the animal on their personal Facebook page – this is one of the fastest ways to find a pet a home. Some rescues may even be willing to take in the animal into their organization – please note that since these organizations are not funded by tax dollars and only private donations, any donation you can offer will be appreciated. For additional information, CLICK HERE

Why is it important to spay / neuter stray cats?

Whether it's a neighborhood cat or feral cat, spaying and neutering is among the most important things you can do to prevent an overpopulation of cats within your neighborhood. Even one unspayed female cat can populate a neighborhood to over 50 cats within a two year time period.

What is the difference between a stray and feral cat?

Stray cats are socialized to humans – in most cases they were once pets who have either become lost or were, unfortunately, abandoned, while feral cats have had very limited (or no) interactions with humans and have reverted to a wild state. Stray cats may become feral as their contact with humans dwindles or, in a happier scenario, become loving pets again if they are taken in. Feral cats typically fear humans. In most cases, unless they are very young at the time of adoption, they do not enjoy living indoors if someone were to take them in. They do, however, bond with their colony. Although you might wish to rehabilitate a feral cat, if they are not socialized by about 5 month of age, it is almost impossible to turn them around. They are best left to live their lives outside. How to tell the difference – a few signs

  • Strays may approach people, houses or cars while feral cats will likely seek a hiding place.
  • Strays will most likely be alone while feral cats may live in colonies.
  • Stray cats may walk and move like a house cat with its tail in the air and he might make eye contact with you while feral cats could crouch and protect its tail and avoid eye contact.
  • Stray cats could be vocal – you could hear them meowing and could respond to your voice while feral cats won’t meow, beg or respond.
  • Stray cats are active during the day while feral cats are primarily nocturnal.
  • Stray cats could look dirty and disheveled but feral cats could have a clean, well-kept coat.
  • Many cats you find may have one of their ears cut or tipped. This is a universal sign that the animal has been spayed or neutered through a feral surgical clinic. This does not necessarily mean that the cat is feral, however.

I've seen a cat in my neighborhood with a collar for a few weeks. Could he be a stray cat?

Unfortunately, cats are occasionally left behind by their owners when they move. If you have noticed a cat in your neighborhood for a few weeks, please be sure to ask neighbors if they know of an owner for the cat. If not, be sure to take the cat to a local veterinarian to check for a microchip. If no microchip is found, you may want to utilize social media to help locate an owner. In the meantime, leave food and water for the cat. Typically it is best to feed in the morning and take the food up near dusk to prevent wildlife from eating the food. If no owner is found, please utilize the steps HERE to rehome a stray cat.


Advocates 4 Animals, Inc

PO Box 13

Xenia, Oh 45385

Support Advocates 4 Animals


Advocates 4 Animals, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving Greene County, Ohio. Our mission is to reduce feline homelessness by providing low cost spay/neuter options and by offering long-term care to special needs felines through our Sponsor-a-Rescue-Pet program. 

All donations are tax-deductible.


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