What to do if you find an injured or stray animal?
If you find an animal that you suspect is a stray, it is important to try and find out if the animal may need help. Here are a few tips on what to do if you encounter a potentially injured or stray cat or dog:
IMPORTANT - If you encounter a stray animal
You need to asses whether the situation is:
Safe to approach - A stray animal is likely to be very stressed and have high anxiety levels, thus meaning they could be aggressive or run away if approached too quickly or openly. Remain calm and ensure your and others safety before approaching.
Are they in immediate danger? - If you have encountered an animal that is in a crisis or dangerous situations (for example, fallen into a river or in the middle of the motorway), please remain calm, move with caution and do not put yourself in danger.
Call for help - If you can't help or are not sure what is best to do, call professional help. You can call us (if local) on 07467243212, call your local rescue, vet or in dangerous circumstances, the RSPCA (0300 1234 999).
It is extremely important to consider these factors before approaching an animal. Of course, not all scenarios will be dangerous or a risk, however it is a good idea for your own safety to consider these steps first to avoid further harm to either you or the animal.
If you find a stray cat...
Cats are natural explorers and wanderers. Unlike dogs which require observation and generally stay in close contact with their owner, cats can roam far and wide due to their outdoor nature.
Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to tell if a cat if truly homeless or has just chosen your home for his or her second lunch!
That's why it is very important to try and make sure the cat is truly stray or lost before considering taking it to a rescue or local vets. The best way to do so is by attaching a paper collar to them as a temporary measure. That way if he/she is just visiting you often, the owner can let you know that they are indeed just exploring.
PAPER COLLAR TEMPLATE
Click one of the buttons below and print out this paper collar template.
Fill out any contact info you wish to share.
Attach a small piece of tape to each corner so you are ready when the cat is within reach. Don’t cover the entire collar with tape. For the cats’ safety, it needs to be easily torn off if it gets caught on something.
Place around the cat’s neck leaving plenty of slack. (You should be able to place 2 fingers beneath it.)
You may need to make a new collar if the first one comes off. If the cat returns and you haven’t received any contact, please call us at Wallington Animal Rescue.
If you do not hear anything and are positive that the cat is stray, then please follow these steps in order to calmly help them:
Is the cat friendly? If the cat is approachable and is generally friendly, then they may be used to human contact. You should consider trying to capture the cat into a basket/carrier cage and transport them to your local vet or animal rescue (such as us!).
To handle the cat, be sure to remain calm, approach the cat slowly and quietly. Prepare a blanket to wrap them in, as to avoid scratches from their claws. Perhaps lure them in with some cat biscuits or plain meat such as chicken or ham. And be aware that if the cat runs, it may not be back; however you should prepare the attempt again in case.
Injured or aggressive? If the cat does not approach you easily, seems afraid or is even aggressive, the cat may be in pain or even feral. The goal here would be to obtain the cat and get it to the healthcare it needs, as well as get them neutered and treated so they can live a healthy life.
If the cat is in pain, then you will need to be extra cautious and careful with this operation.
It would be best in this scenario to contact your local rescue to obtain the cat with their skills and experience. We can help you capture a stray cat if need be so please don't hesitate to call us.
Once the cat has been obtained: You've caught the cat and you are on your way to the vets to get them looked at; great job! Now, please be aware that because you found the cat and no one has contacted you, it does not automatically belong to you. The vets will search for a microchip in the cat to identify an owner. If they do not find a chip, please ask the vet for their advice.
For pets that do not have chips and cannot be traced back to their owner, we retain them within our peaceful rescue so they can recover from their injuries, ordeals and even pregnancies. We will try our very best to try and trace an owner via means such as social media. We will feed them, care for them, and make sure they are living the best lives we can offer them before rehoming them to their owners or on our Adoptions page.
Post photos on social media If you do find a lost cat, whether it is healthy or injured, you could always attempt to take a photo of them and post them on social media to try and find the owner. You can also make 'FOUND' posters and pop them in the local area. Post in local groups and area pages online and get people to share it. You can also join our Facebook group for lost and found animals in Wallington and surrounding areas.
If you are local and find an animal that is lost, feral or injured, please contact us and we will come help you as soon as we can.
If you find a stray dog
It is a little easier to spot a stray dog, as wild dogs are not a common encounter here in the United Kingdom. If you do spot a seemingly lost dog...
Is the dog friendly? As much as we'd like to all imagine dogs are being full-time silly goofballs who just like a tummy rub, this is not always the case. If you find a lost dog, please be cautious; the dog is likely to be on edge and scared... and high-anxiety can mean aggression. The last thing you want to do is immediately approach the dog and end up being bitten or mauled out of fear.
If the dog is indeed friendly, still proceed with caution. Move slowly and calmly, give the dog some room and don't make too much of a fuss over them, as this may scare them.
Getting them to safety If you do manage to get hold of the dog, either go immediately to a local vet or call a local rescue. Either of them can scan for a micro-chip in the dog (did you know micro-chips are a legal requirement for dogs now?) and hopefully locate their owner.
Injured or aggressive? If a dog is aggressive, please do not approach it. You will need to call a local rescue, dog warden, or RSPCA. You should not put yourself at risk as dogs are stronger than they look! The dog may not naturally be aggressive, however if it is in pain or frightened, it may react in self-defence.
If the dog is injured but approachable, keep an eye on them and contact professional help of a local rescue or vet. If the dog allows you to come close or is even in such a bad way that it is not responding, you can try to wrap them in a towel and transport them to a vets yourself. Please just be wary in case the dog becomes suddenly frightened and lashes out.
Post photos on social media If you do find a lost dog, whether it is healthy or injured, you could always attempt to take a photo of them and post them on social media to try and find the owner. You can also make 'FOUND' posters and pop them in the local area. Post in local groups and area pages online and get people to share it. You can also join our Facebook group for lost and found animals in Wallington and surrounding areas.