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Thousands of stray cats are rescued every year thanks to organisations such as the Cats Protection league but as we at The Purr Company have found out first hand it can be a tricky thing to identify a stray cat from a neighbours adventurous pet.
Several months ago a 'stray' cat invited himself through our cat flap and helped himself to our cats food, we don't know how long he'd been eating here before we had noticed. He seemed to be a stray cat, he would always eat like a pig and was nervous if we approached him.
After a couple of weeks of him coming in everyday for food it was time to find out if anyone did actually own him, otherwise we would take him to the Cats Protection League to be re-homed.
We made a whole stack of flyers and posted them through the door of every nearby house with a phone number, much to our surprise that night someone called and claimed him as his pet.
Our 'stray' actually lives a 5 minute walk from here, he has shelter and food but it seems he likes to eat out at least a few times a week even to this day!
Signs of a real stray cat
If you find a stray cat before you call a rescue organisation the first thing to do is try and find an owner. Either put up posters in the area, flyers through doors or put a collar on the cat with a phone number to call, you might even want to take it to a vets to be scanned for a microchip.
Once you've established that you have a stray cat you have two choices, adopt the cat yourself or take it to a rescue shelter to be re-homed. The Cats Protection website can be found at http://www.cats.org.uk/ and you can find your local branch from there, they will be able to help you with trapping nervous strays too.
On a slightly different note if you want to be sure your cat isn't mistaken for a stray (especially older cats who may look skinny with a poor condition coat) it is a good idea to get your cat micro chipped. The rescue centre will quickly identify it as an owned pet and he/she will be returned to you rather than possibly being re-homed.
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