What to do if you have found a lost or stray animal

If possible take the animal to your local vet where they can check to see if it has been micro chipped.

Make a Found poster to display around the local area.

For cats: if it’s not micro chipped consider attaching a paper collar. Print the RSPCA paper collar from our information section. 

Include the title FOUND followed by Cat/Dog found in X Road near X.  For more information please contact…
NEVER include a description of the animal on the poster and do not describe the animal to anyone who may contact you.   There are people who use cats as bait to train fighting dogs and similar people who simply want to abuse or torture an animal.  Sadly, we’ve had experience of these incidents so we know first hand that this happens.

When responding to an enquiry about the found animal ask the caller:

To provide a full and detailed description of their animal.  If possible ask them to identify a particular aspect of their appearance – particular markings for example. Don’t give them any clues. 

Ask if they have a picture of the animal so you can identify it.

Ask them to tell you the animal’s age, gender and whether the he/she is neutered or was wearing a collar.

Ask what date they lost the animal and what have done to so far to try and find it.

Ask for details of their vet.  If you are in doubt you can ring the vet to confirm they own the animal.

If the animal is injured ask how they got the injury.

If you are convinced beyond doubt that the animal belongs to them ask for their name, address and telephone number. 

Ask if they have a collar, lead, cat carrier to get the pet home safely.

Perhaps ask how they will minimise this happening again.

Report the lost animal to the local RSPCA, local animal shelters and local vets.

Look out for lost posters.

If you are unable to look after the animal contact local rescue centres for help.  Be aware that rescue shelters are often small struggling charities that are already full and may not be able to take the animal in straight away so anything you can do to help would be wonderful. 

you can download a pdf version of this page here