You have noticed that there is a stray dog or cat close to your home. You don’t simply want to walk on, but want to help the animal find its owner. Perhaps the owner abused it, abandoned it or it has become separated from caring owners who are looking for it. Anyone who loves animals wants to do the right thing in this situation, but not everyone is prepared for what steps to take. You wonder whether it is safe to touch the animal, whether you should put signs up that the pet has been found or consider taking it to the local animal shelter. Just as learning basic first aid can be lifesaving when faced with an emergency, so knowing what to do when you find a stray animal can make the difference in the life of a dog or cat.
If the animal is a dog, you can feel pretty confident that it has a home somewhere. Don’t leave the scene, but keep your eyes on the dog to make sure it doesn’t get away. The dog may be fearful at first because it is not used to you and is not sure what your intentions are. Many animals who have been abused may seem timid around people they don’t know and yet show signs of seeking help. Try to speak to the dog and in a calm, reassuring voice that shows concern. Dogs can pick up on positive and caring energy from people, and even if they do not understand your words they will sense that your intentions are good.
When you see a stray cat, you may not be sure at first whether it is a feral cat or belongs to a home. There are many stray cats that have never been domesticated and are not used human beings. You can tell the appearance and behavior domesticated cat. In general, feral cats are unkempt and show less inclination to approach you than it domesticated cats will. Stray cats will simply run away or if they come towards you at all, it will simply be for food. Once ferals see that you do not have food for them, they will run away. A domesticated cat that is lost will behave differently from a feral cat and will not necessarily give up on you if you do not immediately provide food. These cats will give you a pleading look as if they are asking you for help. In addition, a combination of intuition and common sense can also tell you whether these cats are strays or lost domesticated cats.
Once you have the animal in place, give it some food for reassurance and check that if it has any identification or injuries. If the cat or dog has a tag on its collar, you are in luck, and most likely, you can reunite the pet owners if their phone number is listed on the tag. If you notice that the animal is injured, carefully remove it from the place and take it to an animal shelter for medical care. If you notice signs of abuse or neglect on the animal, go to the authorities and do not bring the pet back to its owner. You should then post notices around the neighborhood for a 2-mile radius and post information on neighborhood pages of social media platforms. Include a photo of the animal and your contact information so the owner can get in touch with you.
It is not uncommon nowadays to find that the owner has embedded a chip onto the animal. This is the best way of making sure your pet is found if you ever become separated. The chip contains full information about the owner and makes it much more likely that lost animals can be returned. When you take the animal to the shelter, ask about the presence of the chip that can help you find the owner.
Once you have dropped off the cat or dog at the animal shelter, you may worry about its fate. What if the owner does not come forward and claim the pet? In this case, you might consider adopting the animal yourself or try to find a home for it. The difficulty in the situation is if the original owner shows up and you have formed an attachment to it. If you have a strong suspicion that the cat the dog was abused, neglected or intentionally abandoned, make a case the authorities that you have the right to keep the animal. However, you should also recognize the mistakes happen and some animals can simply get lost even if they are well cared for.
However, it is impossible simply to claim the animal right away. The laws regarding the holding stray animals vary from state to state. In some cases, it is five days and others, the period could be a week. Once the holding period is over and you make every effort to look for the original owner, you can claim the animal as a pet as your own. Make sure that you give the cat or dog proper vaccinations and that that is spayed or neutered.
If you already have animals in the home, introducing a new one can be a challenge, particularly if you have a cat. Dogs tend to have a pack mentality and are likely to readily accept new dogs into their tribe. Cats, however, are choosy about the company and a bit more difficult when it comes to accepting additional cats. Although cats and dogs are not known to be the best of friends, a cat can often accept a dog more readily than another cat. However, harmony is not impossible the transition is done with patience. Cats can be intensely territorial and often feel threatened by the introduction of a new feline. They tend to feel more at ease if the newcomers a kitten rather than a grown cat. Try keeping your existing cat and in separate rooms for least a few days until they get used to each other. With the passage of time, your cats may become the best of friends.