Stray Cats - How You Can Help

Stray cats are friendly, socialized cats that have been displaced from their home. Stray cats will usually try to make contact with you, even if they are a bit fearful at first. If you find a stray cat, please take the following actions:

  • Check with your neighbors to see if their cat is missing.
  • Go to, a local lost and found pet service.  Post the cat there and look to see if anyone has reported their lost cat that meets the description of the one you have found. 
  • Bring the cat to a shelter or veterinary clinic to be scanned for a microchip.  The Dutchess County SPCA maintains a lost and found service so report the situation to them.
  • Notify all local veterinary hospital and shelters. You may find out that there are long wait lists.   If at all possible, keep the cat safe in your home until something else comes along. 
  • Check classifieds for lost pets.
  • Run a “found pet” ad of your own sometimes at no cost.   (i.e. the Poughkeepsie Journal will run a free ad).    Make sure your description is brief so that callers need to truly identify the cat.   (Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who look for free or found cats to be used as pit bull bait or laboratory research labs). 
  • Make a very large “found” poster, again with no picture and limited description and put it up in several locations with a 3-4 block area.   
  • If at all possible, foster the cat until a home can be found.  If you take the cat into your house and you have other cats, keep him or her separated or go to your veterinarian or Petco to have the cat tested for parasites and Feline Leukemia and AIDS before letting the cat interact with your resident cats.    Feline Leukemia and AIDS is relatively rare, but it is best to test before allowing your cat to intermingle with any new cat. 
  • Find a home for the cat if you can’t locate its owner. NEVER give a pet away for free (there are unscrupulous people who are very convincing that are looking for free or very low cost pets to use as pit bull bait or to sell to research labs).  This site gives some good advice on re-homing a cat.
  • If you absolutely can’t take the cat into your home until a new home is found, please get the cat spayed or neutered so that no kittens are born.  Also, try to provide the cat shelter (see our shelter section).  Also see our list of low-cost spay/neuter options.