I Found a Stray Cat – What Should I Do?

| May 3, 2023

There are over 61,200,000 results if you search “what should I do if I find a stray cat” on Google. Animal lovers, like yourself, want to help, but it’s not always clear what kind of help a stray cat really needs.

Determining How to Help

A cat wandering about most likely belongs to one of three categories:

  1. The cat has a home that they wandered away from,
  2. The cat has been abandoned and is now a stray, or
  3. The cat is a community cat that has never been socialized to humans.

It’s important to determine which category you’re dealing with before taking any action to help. Visit our Stray Adult Cat Page and follow the interactive guide to find out if you should try to find the cat’s guardian, bring the cat to your local municipal animal control, or leave them where they are and pursue trap-neuter-return (TNR) to help them thrive in their current environment.

Toronto Humane Society's guide on what you should and shouldn’t do when you find a stray cat. Each step has an in-depth information section available in our numbered dropdown menu. Please click the link to visit our page with the interactive PDF.

Is the cat a kitten?

In this context, cats are considered kittens up to 10 weeks of age. Use this guide to decide how old they are based on physical appearance, activity, and interactions with each other. If the cat is a kitten, visit our Don’t Kidnap Kittens page for more guidance.

Where to go

If you determine that the best option for this cat is to bring them to animal control, after going through our guide “What Should I Do When I Find a Stray Cat?“,  bring the lost pet to the closest Toronto Animal Services  location to you – dial 311 for more information on the nearest location to you within the GTA. This is to help reduce confusion for owners looking for their lost animals.

If this is not an option, stray animals can be brought to us at 11 River Street, Toronto. Please make note of the exact location the animal was found prior to bringing them to our building. When you arrive, please be prepared to answer a few questions to ensure the best outcome for each stray animal brought in, ensuring their greatest chance of being re-united with their guardian.

We Can Help the Community Cat Population

The statistics on how many homeless cats are in Toronto range anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000.  With your help and the support of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, we can manage the community cat population and help friendly felines find forever homes or support them with TNR.

We’re able to offer accessible veterinary care options, like TNR, thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada