Please contact us if you recognise any of the lost cats in our gallery
What to do if you find a stray cat.
Cats found – Quercy Cats has written agreements to take in stray domesticated cats.
Think of the consequences of your actions! If you are in a holiday home you must think very carefully before feeding a “stray” cat. It may not in fact be a stray at all, if it is friendly, follow the advice given here, and if it is a feral or semi-feral cat, then it will usually fend for itself.
In any case, if you are not a permanent resident and you start to feed the cat, over the time you are available it will become accustomed to being fed and possibly lose the ability to fend for itself once you leave.
Before taking any steps towards looking after a stray cat it is important to check and make sure that it is in fact stray or abandoned. Cats are naturally resourceful creatures and can be independent of their owners.
Whilst there are many cats who love lots of attention and cuddles, never roaming far from their owner’s side, there are other cats that are quite happy wandering through fields and gardens, a cat you find could simply be in a normal part of, or exploring potential new expansions of, its home range.
Ask yourself – Is it really a stray?
- Check around all the local neighbours, even if you think they don’t have cats, they could have recently adopted one or know where the cat comes from.
- Inform the local Mairie. Whatever they say to the contrary, stray animals are under the responsibility of the Mayor of the town or village where they are found.
The municipality are obliged to organise their care and must permanently display contact information of the service (whether during or outside opening hours).
At night or on the weekend, an emergency telephone number must be displayed. Just to remind you that the identification of pets is mandatory in France and even outside any legal obligation, the identification is, in case of loss of a pet, essential to find its owner!
- It is vitally important to check if the cat is identified in some way. In France there are 2 types of identification, tattooing and microchip, both of which register owner’s details on the Fichier National Félin database.
If the cat is friendly enough to handle you should take it to a vet to verify the identification, and find the owner. If the cat can be enticed into a box or, better still, a pet transportation case (ask around to see if you can borrow one – vets usually have one spare) then this is the best way to transport him, cats should never be transported loose in a car.
- Is the cat wearing a collar? This might give the name and address of the cat’s owners. If the cat is looking well fed and yet is not wearing a collar it could still be a far roaming pet. In this instance the cat may well go home of his own accord.
- If he doesn’t, or if there is a risk that he may become injured (for instance if he is found wandering by a busy road) it is best to contact a vet who should be able to help you either find the owner or give you the details of any animal rescue organisations nearby.
- If it is a feral cat, and you have enough time, you would be well advised to try to catch it to have it neutered (females can have up to 4 litters a year, leaving you with a huge problem of up to 2000 cats and kittens in just 3 years!).
Go along to your Mairie to ask if there are any neutering programmes already in place. Check what the commune’s policy is on feral/stray cats.
Some communes have programmes in place to deal with these cats; some have agreements with either the local pound or independent charity associations.
Before a new home can be found for a stray cat, it is a legal obligation that it is identified by microchip
Finding an injured stray
Often, stray cats become injured by traffic. Any injured animal becomes defensive and nervous after injury and cats are no exceptions.
An injured cat will lash out if it is scared and will not want to be picked up. If the cat, however, is in a place where he may get further injuries or if he is a risk to others it is important to move him. The safest way of moving an injured cat is to carefully cover him with an old towel or blanket before picking him up.
This will contain his legs and more importantly claws. Moving an animal with broken bones, however, is really a specialist task and a call to a local vet before moving it is strongly advised.
If the cat is feral and injured, vets are legally obliged to treat their injuries free of charge. This applies to any injured wild animal.
Finding the owner
If possible, take a photo, along with details of the cat (the vet should give you an indication of age etc) and make posters. Posters can usually be displayed in the Mairie, La Poste, Vet’s clinics, supermarkets, outside your house and anywhere else you can think of!
Place the photo and details of the cat on as many websites that you can find, bear in mind that it is a legal requirement here in France for all cats to be microchipped before finding new owners.
Notify the local fourrières (pounds).
Do an internet search to find details of all animal rescue centres in your area (Association Chat/ Association animal) so that you can inform them and possibly ask for help in finding the cat a permanent home.
Whatever they say to the contrary, stray animals are under the responsibility of the Mayor of the town or village where they are found.
The municipality are obliged to organise their care and must permanently display contact information of the service (whether during or outside opening hours). At night or on the weekend, an emergency telephone number must be displayed.
Just to remind you that the identification of pets is mandatory in France and even outside any legal obligation, the identification is, in case of loss of a pet, essential to find its owner!
Thousands of cats are abandoned or lost every year in France as with any other country, even contrary to the opinion of many British citizens, in the UK too!
Many stray animals
The difference here is that the infrastructure is fragmented, uncoordinated, disorganised and lacking in good management, so, don’t be surprised if the local rescue centre says it’s full or puts you on a waiting list, especially over the summer months when abandoning is at its height – as is kitten season.
There simply are too many stray animals and not enough homes. This is why you should give the rescue centre as much notice as possible, don’t leave it until the last minute or just before you are due to leave, even if you’ve had ‘promises’ from someone who would like the cat, it is much better to keep all options open.
You can always pass on the rescue centre’s details to potential owners, and don’t forget to contact the rescue centre to tell them that you have found a home for the cat.
All rescue centres have severely limited space, resources, money, and volunteers; they sometimes have no choice but to put cats to sleep if they are not adopted.
The cat will need to be tested for FIV and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia), microchipped (legal requirement in France), vaccinated, and neutered. Yes, this will cost money. It costs rescue centres money too (rescue centres rely on donations to cover costs).
Keep the cat separated from your own cats until it is tested. All this completed will vastly increase the cat’s chances of being taken in by a rescue centre. Offering a donation will help even more.
The rescue centre will have to provide food, litter and possibly medical care for the cat until it is adopted. All this costs money, and the rescue centres are doing it for dozens of cats at once, not just one.
Found a cat Checklist and Reminder
- Does the cat have a collar; if so are there any details of his owner? Ask around the local neighbourhood, Mairie, etc
- Does the cat have a tattoo in his ear? If so call the i-CAD (National identification database) on 0810 778 778, quote the tattoo number and they will take your details and alert the cat’s owner.
- It is possible that the cat is microchipped; In this case, take the cat to a vet, charity or the local pound, and they should be able to read the chip number in order to find the cat’s owner.
- Place details on the web site Pet Alert 82 and Pet Alert 47, and Filapat , here there is a section for found cats and most good charities and vets sign up to receive each new postings.
- If you have a photo, please send it to us by email.
- All of this can take several weeks, so please be patient, if you start feeding a cat, you are taking on the responsibility for it’s welfare. We are unable to accept any cat, unless the above advice has been followed.
Keeping the cat
If all efforts to find the owner fail, you may decide that you’d like to keep the cat yourself.
In this case, take a look at the advice concerning the Pet Passport Scheme, this will be essential to facilitate your travelling with the cat.
You may need to find a temporary home for the cat while your plans are put into place. There are many catteries that are used to these situations and can help you; it is worth asking for a long-stay discount.
Lost a cat ?
- Do a complete tour of the neighbourhood, asking if anyone has seen the cat, take a recent photo if you have one.
- If your cat has some identification, tattoo or Microchip, notify the i-CAD (French national Identification database) on 0810 778 778, and check that all your contact details are up to date.
- Check on the website Pet Alert 82 and Pet Alert 47 , and filalapat.fr to see if anyone has found the cat.
- You can also send us the cat’s details, if you have a photo that really helps, please send it to us by email.
- Inform all the local neighbours, vets, Mairie, other animal charities, the local animal pound, etc
- Cats don’t normally venture too far from home. If the cat is injured it may be hiding out, so check all possible hiding places. Keep calling and keep checking the neighbourhood, rattling biscuit boxes or using any other means that the cat is used to, to get his attention.