What To Do If You Find A Stray Cat This Winter
Winter is upon us and if you think YOU'RE cold, think about the pitiful stray cats of the world. Today, some pointers for taking care of a stray cat - the best things you can do and what NOT to do. Read on for more!
This is a guest post from our friend Khalid Farhan at www.meowtee.com.
Taking care of a stray cat is one of the most noble things that you can do in life. It is complex though as cats are weird and it is tough to understand whether a cat actually needs help or not. But if you can do things right, you will definitely be remembered in the good book of humanity. Do you want that to happen? Let’s start!
There are two types of cats outside. The first type are the pet cats who lost their home, and the other type is the stray [or feral] cats. Your approach will be totally different for both of them.
Pet cats are easy to identify. They respond to calls and they will come near to your legs if you call them. Obviously if you see a collar or a tag, then it's even more clear [that it is a pet]. If you feel the cat is domesticated and simply lost, you should immediately take it to your home - don’t leave it outside as it will be lost. Then go ahead and search your neighborhood for a worried cat parent. Put up some flyers, search online. If you don’t find the owners, put up a flyer in front of your house with a picture of the cat and your contact info - most likely, the owner will find you.
Now, things are very different when it is a stray cat. Stray cats do not have home and life is not a bed of roses to them. The first thing you have to understand is that they are [probably] afraid of human beings. Stray cats are not familiar with humans and will probably get frightened if you call them.
It is very important to understand that not all stray cats need your help. Editor's note: some stray cats may be part of feral cat colonies that humans maintain for them so before doing anything, check their surroundings for a few days to make sure you're not taking them from their outdoor home colony. Also look for a clip on the ear, as that signifies a TNR cat. It also may do more harm than good to bring a feral cat into your home so weigh your options carefully].
The time to help a stray cat is when it visibly needs your assistance, such as a cat that is sick or freezing. Cats get cold really easily; you will likely be able to tell whether it needs help or not when you see one. It might not be easy to spot stray cats on roads, as they tend to hide. However, if they are in danger you may hear their ‘meowing’ as they meow to seek help.
Now, after you have identified one that needs help, it is time to be human. How can you take care of a stray cat?
First, decide whether you want to take this cat to your home or not. If you see that the cat needs immediate help (if it is injured or dying), it is not a good idea to take the cat home if you don’t have prior experience. Call your nearest animal shelter or humane society office. If you have a cat carrier, it is a good idea to keep the cat inside the carrier so that things can move faster when help comes.
Make sure that you do provide food [and water] inside the cat carrier. Don’t try to pet the cat - it will probably get frightened and might try to scratch you.
Taking a stray cat to your home might seem like a noble thing to do but you should not do that unless it is an extreme situation [or if you have experience in rescuing and re-homing cats]. If you do decide to take the cat to your home, make sure that you provide food and water to the stray cat as long as it needs it [and make sure you take the measures to find the owner and/or check your local laws to find out how to file for ownership if you want to keep the cat.]
It is not really difficult to do what we outline here - it only takes a little bit of goodwill. If you are determined, you can definitely save a few stray cats from getting into trouble this winter!
Khalid is an independent blogger and a self-proclaimed cat expert with his 15 years+ experience with cats. He is a proud owner of two cats, Taga & Fluff, and a dog Sash. In his personal life, Khalid is an entrepreneur living in beautiful Bangladesh.