Part of Ireland's TNR Manual
How to Help Community Cats
Adapted for Ireland from Alley Cat Allies.
Check for a tag or microchip
If a cat has a tag, call any numbers and attempt to track down the guardian. The collar may only have a number for a veterinarian; a call there may help track down her home. A veterinarian or rescue group can also use a scanner to help you determine if the cat is microchipped.
Check relevant organisations and lost and found ads
Firstly call your local dog warden and garda station. The dog wardens aren't obliged to follow cats, but you may have one locally who is more helpful than most - it's worth a try. The Guards are obliged to note lost and found domestic animals - some stations are better than others. Stress they write your report down in the lost & found Book, not a piece of paper. And call them regularly to follow up.
Local vets and pet shops are next on the list. And check local papers for 'lost' listings.
Online there's more to help you. If you've found, or lost, an animal companion we recommend you check the following sites for more comprehensive listings and information:
- Lost and Found Pets Ireland
- Lost and Found Pets Facebook page
- Munster Lost and Found Pet Help Line
- Munster Lost and Found Pet Help Line on Facebook
- Irish Animal Shelters Lost & Found Facebook page
And don't forget to post on your local facebook pages - often the network can be good for lost & found companions.
Be advised that if you take the cat to your local SPCA, she may be killed. Always ask the shelter about their adoption procedures, typical duration of stay and kill policies. If you do turn over the cat, realise that you may not be able to reclaim her if the guardian is not found.
Spread the word
And, if you really feel the cat is stray, rather than abandoned, it's worth putting posters up locally in your supermarket, vets, pet shop, etc, and where you found the cat. You can place your own 'found' ad in the same places listed above - your local newspaper and online. Describe the cat’s colouring, fur length, location where she was found, gender, any distinguishing features and a photo if possible. Include your phone number and/or email.
Be very wary of dishonest callers. Ask callers to: describe their cat in depth; provide a reference, such as a veterinarian; send in advance, or bring along, a photo of the cat; and give you their name, address and phone number. Leave out some information about the cat on your flyer so you can confirm the guardian’s story.
Do NOT give the cat to anyone without some form of proof of ownership.