Rescuing a Stray

Maybe you’ve seen him for days, wandering the streets and looking lost and hungry. Or maybe she just showed up in your backyard. If you’ve found a stray cat or dog, what do you do?

Get the animal out of danger.

Do not let the animal continue to roam the streets. If you cannot take him/her into your home, take the animal to the local shelter where he/she is safe from the elements and injury from cars, humans, other animals — where he/she cannot reproduce, bringing in more unwanted animals to face a similar fate.

Put the word out.

Contact your local animal shelter and humane organizations and give them a description of the animal and where he/she was found. Contact your local police department – many of them assist with animal control – and local veterinarians. Put up posters in the neighborhood and in your local supermarket, laundromat, and library. Advertise in the local newspapers – sometimes they allow free advertisements for found animals.

Protect yourself and your animals.

Keep the stray separate from your pets and other family members until you can assess its personality and health. The animal may be hurt, undernourished, traumatized, or sick. Wash your hands after handling the animal to avoid carrying any diseases to your own pets. Watch out for fleas, earmites, and other parasites that could be transmitted to your pets or your family. Make sure all your animals are up to date with vaccinations. If you can, take him or her to a vet for a checkup and some basic care.

Written by Ginnie Maurer and Cathy Imhoff