I Found a Cat

Please note that due to the current public health emergency situation all animals are being accepted and reclaimed by appointment.  Please call 519-966-5751 to book an appointment.  


Be sure to read below or call us for guidance BEFORE deciding to bring in a stray cat.  We will talk to you about the various factors involved and help determine what the likely best option is for that cat.  In some cases (for example, a healthy stray cat with an ear tip), the most humane option is to leave them right where they are.


Fees to Drop Off a Stray Cat

Windsor, Essex, Tecumseh, Lakeshore, Kingsville, and Amherstburg: No charge
LaSalle, Leamington, & Pelee: $30

There are never fees to drop off a stray animal who is sick or injured.

These fees help offset our costs, however, no animal will be turned away just because the finder cannot afford to pay.

The best approach to helping a found cat depends on a number of factors. Please scroll down and identify which situation fits your found cat:

I’ve found a cat who seems to be sick or injured

If you’ve found a cat who appears to be sick or injured, and there is no sign of an owner, the Humane Society will come and pick it up or you can drop it off between 8am and 6pm seven days a week. Our medical staff will assess the cat, and make treatment decisions. You may also take the cat to a veterinarian yourself, but the vet will expect you to pay for treatment, even though the cat isn’t yours.

Sometimes our ability to treat an ill cat or kittens can be limited by the lack of a foster home to allow them to recover in. Our medical isolation areas are small, and cats often don’t recover quickly because their immune systems are stressed by being kenneled. If you find an injured or ill cat or a young kitten and are willing to foster them if they are treatable please ask us about “Foster to Surrender”. Please note that all medical decisions regarding the cat will be made by the Humane Society’s veterinarian.

I’ve found a litter of baby kittens

Is their mom around, or have you seen an adult cat nearby? Cat mothers have to leave their kittens at times to seek food, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t coming back.  Chances are good that she’s somewhere nearby.  She won’t necessarily abandon the babies just because they have been disturbed, although she will often try to relocate them if she feels they are in danger. Kittens’ best chance at growing up healthy is with their mom, so ensure that you don’t remove them unless you are sure that mom is really gone. If mom isn’t use to people, she won’t come back as long as people are in the area. Even the best foster care program is no substitute for a mother cat’s care. Taking kittens away from their mothers too young can have consequences for health and behavior in both the short and long term. If you find a litter of kittens, the very best thing to do is watch and wait for mom to come back and if she does, make sure she has food and shelter until the kittens are old enough to be adopted.  Please do not being in moms with kittens younger than 6-8 weeks of age.  It is far better for them to stay with mom where they are comfortable, and during that time, start handling them so they get used to and comfortable with people.

In order to help baby kittens get to a point where they are eating on their own and ready for adoption we rely on foster homes. If you find young kittens who have really been orphaned and need to come into care, please consider becoming a foster home for them until they are big enough, healthy enough and friendly enough to go up for adoption. We will provide all medical care and supplies until they are ready for adoption. You just provide the love and TLC! If you’re interested please ask us about “Foster to Surrender”.

A friendly cat just showed up at my door

Most likely, this cat belongs to someone nearby and is just wandering. They will most likely make their way home on their own, often before their people realize that they are missing. Please don’t bring a healthy, friendly stray cat who you haven’t seen before to the Humane Society unless they have been hanging around for a while or seem to be having difficulty.  The odds for a friendly outdoor cat getting reunited with its family are more than 10 times better if the cat stays in its home neighborhood than if it comes to a shelter.  Please send a photo and found report to pound@windsorhumane.org which we will post to help connect you with someone who is looking for their cat. It also helps to post notices around your neighbourhood, as the cat may not have travelled far and their people may be looking for them. You may also want to watch to see if it goes home on its own – it might be a community cat that cruises around several homes for food and friendship and is doing quite well in that lifestyle!

The Windsor Star will publish a free 3-line ad for a found animal. There are also a number of sites online where you can post a found animal. Include specifics, but leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who claims to have lost the animal to describe it. You can also take the cat to a vet or to the Humane Society to be scanned for a microchip.

If you find or are feeding a cat who is friendly with you, but not friendly enough for you to pick up and carry, or friendly enough to be approached and petted by a stranger, please see the heading below.  

There are stray cats around my house who run away when I approach them

If you find a cat who isn’t friendly enough to walk up to and pet or pick up, they may be a “community cat” or feral cat. These are cats whose home is outdoors, and who normally have not lived inside a home. When you find a feral cat in good condition, chances are someone is feeding this cat. If it is ear tipped, then it has been sterilized and the best thing to do is just not intervene.  Sometimes these cats may engage in behaviours that can be annoying, like urine marking or mating, but trapping and removing them usually isn’t the best solution. Often, a neighbour is feeding the cat and his friends, and if you remove one (or several) the remaining cats will breed more quickly to fill the spaces that the removed ones left open.

Talk to your neighbours, as you may be able to come up with an effective solution. The cost to have the cat fixed at the Humane Society’s spay/neuter clinic is only $50, and by fixing the cat you will reduce nuisance behaviours and prevent the birth of kittens while allowing the cat to stay in his territory and protect it from other cats who may move in. Please call us at 519-966-1118 for more information about how to borrow a trap and arrange surgery.   Feral cats are very stressed by coming in to a shelter, so the best thing to do if the cat is not ear tipped is to bring it to our clinic for same day surgery, rather than to the Humane Society where it will have to be held for a stray period. 

While you may desire to see these cats in a home, the reality is that for feral cats, their “home” is outdoors, and they are normally not adoptable into a typical home. It isn’t an easy life, but it is the life that they are comfortable with. Feral cats are not normally friendly enough to be adoptable, but by fixing and releasing them (also called Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR) you will make their lives easier, and allow them to live where they are comfortable. Please note that all trapped community cats that are brought into the Humane Society as stray cats will be considered for Return to Field if they are healthy and not candidates for adoption due to their unsocial behaviour.

There are stray cats around, but they all seem to have part of their ears missing

This is a great thing, as it means that your neighbour is likely being a responsible cat caregiver! When a feral, or “community” cat is spayed or neutered, a small piece of their ear is removed at the time of surgery to identify them as being spayed or neutered. Ear tipped cats normally have a caregiver, and they are living outside because that is the home that they are most comfortable in. They should not be trapped and brought to the Humane Society unless they are sick or injured, and should never be trapped and relocated as that is extremely stressful, and many cats don’t survive relocation.

Ear Tipped Cat Poster - Low Res