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Helping a Stray Cat Find a Home

It's morning, you go to the door to get the paper and are greeted by the tiny "meows" of a kitten. Your 7-year-old has just brought home another cat found on the street. What to do? If you're not prepared to take on another hungry mouth in your household, you need a plan for handling stray cats.

First Things First

Where did the cat come from? How old is it? Is it healthy?
1. Make a "Found" sign, preferably with a picture of the cat, and paste it all over your neighborhood.
2. Isolate this furry friend from the other pets in your house, at least until you have had it checked out by your vet.
3. Provide food, water, and lots of love. If you want this cat to be easily adopted into a new home, make sure it has friendly human contact.
4. If the cat has not been spayed or neutered, keep it out of contact with other cats to prevent adding to the already overly large population of cats.

Within the first 24 hours, begin contacting local animal shelters, even if you may want to keep the cat. Ask if the shelter has a "no-kill" policy. Shelters that euthanize cats do so within 10 days, so try to find a family for this new little friend or a "no-kill" shelter if possible. These "no-kill" shelters may be crowded, especially in the summer, so you want to make a reservation, so to speak.

Use the Internet! Search for: no-kill animal shelter, humane society (your local town/county), animal welfare-adoption-rescue, pet assistance league, SPCA. E-mail as many contacts as you can find with a description of the cat and an attached photo, if possible.

Contact your local pet stores. Many allow humane societies to feature pets on the weekends for adoption. While the individual humane societies may not be able to take the cat off your hands, their volunteers can give helpful advice on finding a home for him/her.

Listings can also be found in special sections of your local newspaper weekly complete with individual animal descriptions and contact information. If you choose to place a classified ad for the cat, charge at least $5 (more if the cat is already spayed/neutered) because some people look for free cats to sell for research purposes.

Beg. Ask friends, neighbors, family, strangers to spread the word about the cat. Take the cat to the local Farmer's Market and sit with a sign announcing "Kitty Needs a Good Home".


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