Thank You for Looking Out For the Cats in Your Community.
Because Edmonton has both a large feral cat population and a substantial population of domestic cats that roam on public property, it can be difficult to determine how best to help a cat that appears lost.
Please note: it is against the criminal code to keep or rehome a lost animal. If found within City of Edmonton limits, please ensure the animal is brought to Animal Care & Control at your earliest convenience.
Determine What Type of Cat You Have Found
At Animal Care & Control (ACCC), cats are divided into four categories. These categories do not have solid boundaries and one cat can often fit into several categories. Understanding the differences helps determine what care a particular cat requires.
Owned Lost Cats
- Are not accustomed to the outdoors; often found hiding, scared, hungry and difficult to approach
- Will not have roamed too far from its home
- Start to lose weight over time; their coats will begin to get dull/matted and unhealthy looking
- Often have injuries such as scratches, breaks or frostbite
- Are 10 times more likely to find their way home if left in their neighbourhood than if they are brought to a facility
It is best to monitor the cat’s situation, talk to neighbours and if it begins to look distressed, bring it to ACCC. Keeping this cat in your home is unnecessary and significantly reduces its chance of ever returning home.
Owned Outdoor Cats
- Will be familiar with roaming outdoors and are comfortable in their surroundings
- Will be in healthy condition and are likely very friendly and approachable
- Roam large territory and may have specific places they visit often
A cat with a collar and a bell is often a good sign that its owners know it is out. This cat should only be brought to ACCC if it is injured, unhealthy or a nuisance on private property.
- Once lived in a home but were lost, abandoned or otherwise forced to survive on their own. Their behaviours are somewhere between owned outdoor cats and feral cats
- May still be approachable but are likely more skittish and no longer used to being picked up or handled
- May form small colonies or live by themselves
- May have adapted to outdoor life quite well and be in healthy condition
- May still rely on neighbourhood people to feed them and provide shelter and may become ill or injured
These cats should be monitored and brought into ACCC if injured, unhealthy in appearance or a nuisance on private property. Rehabilitation into a new home may be possible in some circumstances but should be done through the proper process.
- Are born wild or have not had human interaction for a significant period of time
- Are completely self-sufficient and rarely have injuries, frostbite or are malnourished
- Do not allow themselves to be handled or touched by humans and will back away or run when approached
- Remain fairly hidden and are nocturnal in nature, living in colonies in one territory with a sufficient source of shelter, food and water
These cats should not be brought to ACCC as they cannot be rehabilitated into domestic cats. Feral kittens can be brought in at approximately three months of age, once they are no longer dependent on their mother’s milk.
If You Have Determined That the Cat Needs Assistance Please Consider:
- Knocking on neighbours doors, putting up posters on mailboxes or placing flyers in doors. Indoor cats don’t stray far from home.
- Posting pictures on social media such as Animal Care & Control's Facebook page as well as Edmonton Lost Pets and Edmonton and Area Lost Pets Facebook pages. Community social media pages should also be considered and sites such Kijiji and Craigslist.
- During business hours, cats can be brought to our facility for safe keeping and to locate an owner.
- If a found cat is healthy and it is outside of business hours, please secure it in a bathroom, garage or carrier until we open in the morning.
- If it is after business hours and the cat is in distress or injured, please take it to Guardian Veterinary Centre as they offer 24-hour emergency service and receives lost pets on the City’s behalf. This service is for emergency cases only.