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 - Be creative. 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 Facebook page. 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. - List the pet on Adopt a Pet using their REHOME A PET program. 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.

Can you provide local animal resources in the Cincinnati area?

Feral Cats/TNR Resources

  • Neighborhood Cats - A TNR group from New York City with valuable advice about quality colony care, keeping cats out of yards and gardens, building drop traps, and any other feral-related topic.
  • Ohio Spay and Neuter - Provides low cost spay and neuter information by county
  • Alley Cat Allies - The national advocacy group for TNR.
Cincinnati-Area Rescue Groups Spay/Neuter Vouchers
  • League for Animal Welfare - League vouchers are granted on the 1st of each month, and can be requested by phone. These vouchers reduce the surgery cost by $20 for both males and females.
  • Scratching Post Cat Shelter - Voucher requests are mailed or taken into the Scratching Post Shelter. They reduce the cost of surgery by $35, and include $10 credit towards a rabies vaccination. Vouchers good for residents of Butler, Clermont, and Hamilton counties only.
Low-Cost Veterinary Care
  • Pets In Need Program - PIN provides basic veterinary care for families who are at 150% or below the national poverty line.
  • UCAN - UCAN can spay/neuter dogs at reduced rates. Call UCAN for pricing.

Can you provide local animal resources in the Dayton area?

Feral Cats/TNR Resources

Dayton-Area Rescue Groups Spay/Neuter Vouchers or Low Cost Options Low-Cost Veterinary Care
  • Pets In Need Program - PIN provides basic veterinary care for families who are at 150% or below the national poverty line. Located in Cincinnati.
  • UCAN - UCAN can spay/neuter dogs at reduced rates. Call UCAN for pricing.