Advice for Adopting a Stray Cat


Have you ever come across a stray cat and wanted to take him or her home? While adopting a stray cat may seem similar to adopting any cat or kitten, there are some differences. Unlike cats adopted from a shelter or an owner, you may not know everything about a stray cat. Before you find yourself in the position of bringing home a stray, there are some things you need to take into consideration.

Bringing a Stray Cat Home

Before you bring a stray cat home, you should consider whether your home is going to be a safe and suitable environment for the cat. If you have other pets, think about their behavior and personalities. Will they welcome a new member of the family? Additionally, you should make sure the stray cat doesn’t have a family already.

While distinguishing a stray from a loose cat can be difficult, there are some steps you can take to make sure you aren’t adopting a pet that has a home. “Get a microchip scan; talk to neighbors; advertise on lampposts and classifieds; and talk to local shelters and vets to rule out the possibility that a responsible pet owner is in this cat’s life” (McDonald). If you owned a cat that got out of the house or went exploring, there is a good chance you wouldn’t want another family to adopt your cat. Attempting to find the owner will help ensure you are adopting a cat that actually needs a home.

It is important to take things slowly with a stray cat. Because you don’t know the cat’s background or history, you probably won’t know what he or she has experienced in the past. For instance, he or she may be very timid, aggressive, or scare easily. In order to make the transition easier, you should keep him or her in a designated area or room with food, water, and a litterbox. This room should be just for the cat, a place where he or she can rest and feel safe.

Keeping your new pet isolated is also important if you have other cats as well. While a stray kitten may accept and be accepted by others pretty easily, an adult stray cat may take longer to adjust (Mitchell). For the first week or so, you should monitor any socialization or group play among your pets. More importantly, you must keep your stray cat isolated until you can take him or her to the vet.

Make Sure Your Stray Cat is Healthy

If you decide to bring a stray cat into your home, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. While it may be difficult to lure him or her into a carrier, a visit to the vet is very important. Stray cats may have ear mites and fleas. They also may not be spayed, neutered, or vaccinated. In taking your stray cat to the vet, you can ensure the safety of your new pet as well as the safety and health of any pets you already own.

While taking in a stray cat shows utmost compassion, there may be some challenges to consider. However, with time and preparation, he or she can become a wonderful companion and addition to your family.


McDonald, Brian. “How to Adopt a Stray Cat.”, 14 May 2010,

Ternes, Kathleen. “Tips for Adopting a Stray Cat.” Feline Docs, 2 Feb. 2014,

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