What to do if you have a visiting stray cat
If the cat is injured or sick, contact your local SPCA immediately! If the cat is pregnant or nursing kittens, contact a local rescue as soon as possible.
Otherwise, we recommend you follow these steps if you have a stray cat visiting your property:
Establish whether the cat is owned. Does it have a collar? If you can, take a photo of the cat and post it on local social media pages. Contact the New Zealand Lost Pet Register and ask them to post about the cat on your behalf. Quite often in these cases the cat is a local and lives close by.
If the cat is friendly or handleable, try a paper collar. You may be able to obtain one from a local vet or rescue, otherwise search for a printable template online. Write your name and phone number on the collar and place around the cat's neck. If you have had no contact from an owner within seven days, try to get the cat to a vet for a microchip scan or contact a rescue to do this for you.
If the cat is microchipped, the vet or rescue should contact the owner. If no owner can be found or the cat is not chipped (but friendly), the SPCA should be involved. Generally the vet clinic or rescue will make contact with them.
What to do if the cat is unsocialised or timid:
If you aren't able to handle the cat and you do not have access to a trap, contact your local rescue for assistance.
If you have access to a trap, follow these steps:
Make a plan for the cat! These are your options:
1) Trap-Neuter-Return: this is where you desex and return the cat to your property. This is the fastest solution as you will not need to wait for rescuer availability, but it will cost in vet fees. Some rescues may be able to give you access to discounted desexing if you go down this route. If the cost is prohibitive try doing some fundraising or getting some money together with your neighbours. If you do not wish to return the cat to your property, try and find a barn/farm placement for the cat. Your local rescue may be able to help you find one.
2) Contact a rescue for help: a rescue may be able to help with TNR or bring the cat into care. This can take longer as it depends on whether the rescue has space and resources available to help. You may be waitlisted if you choose this option.
3) Trap and foster the cat yourself: You may wish to have a go at working with the cat yourself. Contact a rescue for advice if you are considering this option. Often if you are able to care for the cat, a local rescue may be able to help with desexing and rehoming once the cat is friendly enough.
Go forth and catch the cat! If you have organised for a rescue to help with desexing or fostering, make sure you get the go ahead from them before you start trapping. Communication is key.