Stray Cat Advice: A Message from SPCA Otago

The SPCA Otago Animal Centre is frequently filled to capacity with stray cats.  It is often the first thought of a caring citizen to pick up a stray cat and bring it directly to us for care. However we have found from experience that most “stray” cats do actually have a home to go to; they merely appear to be lost because they are wandering far from home. Please remember that some cats have large home ranges so it is natural for them to roam around the neighbourhood.

If you have found a cat:

  • Do not feed it, especially if it has just arrived on your property. Just ignore it and do not let it inside. Cats wander long distances and have a very good sense of direction. They will usually find their way home, but if they think your home is a nice holiday house, they may prefer to stay!
  • Please click here for paper collars which you can print, fill in your contact details and put on the cat you suspect is a stray.
  • Please click here for a Found Pet form, which you can print, fill in and distribute around your neighbourhood.
  • If the cat is still hanging around after a few days and you are sure it has been there the entire time i.e. it has not been going home to sleep at night or during the day when you are at work, then perhaps it is disorientated. Please try the following options:
  • Ask your neighbours directly if the cat belongs to them of if they know where it may be from.
  • Go door-knocking with a photo as far and wide as possible around your area to ask people if they recognise the cat. Ask your neighbours to help with this if you are short on time or have issues with mobility.
  • Put a notice up in your local vet clinic and shop or supermarket.
  • Advertise the cat in the Otago Daily Times (the ODT does not currently charge for advertising a found animal).
  • Call the SPCA on 03 473 8252 and leave a full description of the cat, for example: short haired or long haired, colour, breed (if known), sex, age, street and suburb where the cat was found and any other distinctive things that may help such as the colour of the collar he/she is wearing, whether it has one blue eye and one green eye, or any unusual markings.
  • Advertise the cat on Trade Me.  It is currently free to advertise a found cat under the Pets and Animals (lost and found) section.
  • Post a photo and description on Facebook. You can post to SPCA Otago’s timeline. Please include full description as mentioned above, as well as full contact details for yourself.
  • If you have no luck in finding the cat’s owner then please contact us again.

We love to reunite cats with their owners, however a cat must be truly lost before we need to step in. Please remember our limited resources and always telephone first on (03) 473 8252 before bringing a stray cat directly to us. You can help us by using the above process first, then only as a last resort should the animal come to our centre.

If a cat is injured or sick, as well as disorientated or lost, please phone us immediately for advice.