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How to Tell If a Cat Is a Stray

The following is an excerpt from Petfinder’s monthly Ask the Experts Q&A on Facebook. Like our Facebook page to learn about upcoming Q&As.

Q: How can I tell if a cat is lost or if it’s someone’s pet that they let outside? —Brent B.

face of a cat


A: Boy, it’s hard to tell just by looking at a cat whether it belongs to someone or not. We work cases all of the time where a beloved cat that has a xenophobic (fearful, catatonic, feral-like) temperament, looks and acts like a feral cat, but is actually a family member who happens to be shy.

So, scanning for a microchip, putting up a neon “found cat” sign, checking the shelter for lost cat reports, and checking Craig’s List ads are ways to see if it is a lost cat.



Kat Albrecht
Missing Pet Partnership
Seattle, WA

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