Found a stray?

What to do next

If you have found a stray cat or dog here is what to do, making sure that you do the right thing and stay within the law.

If the animal is severely injured or suffering then take them straight to a vets.

 » Jump to I have found a stray cat

I have found a stray dog

  • Wait first that you can't hear or see someone looking for a dog. 
  • Look for a tag – hopefully there is one on the collar and it has a phone number on it that you can call to arrange the return of the dog.
  • If you cannot immediately find an owner, then by law, you must report all stray dogs to the Dog Warden for that area. Most will collect, but some will ask you to deliver to kennels.

 » Dog Warden contact details

The Dog Warden will start a search for the owner, but if you feel you want to do more, you can register the dog as 'found' on online lost and found pets sites.  

» Online lost & found pets services


I have found a stray cat

If the cat looks well then we recommend that you leave them alone. It is very kind of you to try and help a cat but please keep in mind that cats can have a large territory – patrolling from around 2 to 8 acres – and you may be just one stop on their route. Not all cats like wearing collars, or they may have lost it.

As the cat does not belong to you, if you keep the cat in or give it away then you are committing a theft of property.

If it is a hot day you can leave a bowl of water out but do not feed cats that come calling. It may be on a special diet and should be encouraged to return home to its owners for meals. 

If you are still wanting to take action, then you could try and find the owner to see if it is really lost, or let them know that their cat is calling on you. 

» Printable paper collar to pop onto the cat to notify an owner

» Online lost & found pets services

If the cat has injuries or looks unwell

Attempt to find their owner by asking locally or using online lost & found pets services. If you have no luck, then call our team on 01225 787322 for advice – please note that we do not have the capacity to capture or collect.  If the animal is severely injured or suffering then take them straight to a vets.

» Online lost & found pets services

Feral cats

Truly feral cats wouldn’t come close to you and would display a fear response on sight. We cannot do much for these cats and they are best left to their own area. 

The national charity Cats Protection have a trap-neuter-release scheme which you may be able to use. We do have humane traps we can loan to you.

» Click here for more on the Cats Protection scheme.

Online 'lost & found pets' services

» DogLost has a very active community of searchers

» Pets Reunited uses an automated program to try and match up found pets with those reported lost

» Animal Search UK has a lost and found gallery you can search through


Our site uses cookies to give you the best experience. Find out how to manage your cookies or click accept and continue using our site.