I found a cat
What should I do?


“For so long, we thought bringing cats to shelters was the best way to help them, but we now realize that most of the time, we can actually help them better by leaving them where they are. Lost cats are more likely to get home, kittens are more likely to grow up healthy and happy, and community cats are more likely to thrive (and less likely to cause problems) when we help them in the community where we find them rather than bringing them to a shelter. That leaves the shelter with room for the cats who really do need our help – those whose owners can no longer keep them, cats that are sick or injured and those who have been victims of cruelty and neglect.”

Kate F. Hurley, DVM, MPVM
Koret Shelter Medicine Program
UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health

If you find a friendly, healthy cat, we ask that you please leave it be.

Often, friendly neighbor cats are indoor/outdoor cats and not lost at all, simply roaming, which is perfectly legal in city and county areas and something cats love to do.

When you find a friendly “stray” adult cat, the odds for this 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. If you find a cat that seems stray, you may first want to watch and wait to see if it goes home on its own – it might be a community cat that cruises around several homes for food and friendship. If not, the best thing to do is take a photo and post it on your local neighborhood network site, local lost and found facebook group, lost and found page for your local shelter, and post signs around the neighborhood. You can also take the cat to a vet or your local shelter to be scanned for a microchip.

If you decide to remove the cat so it can be scanned for a microchip, we encourage you to return the cat to the location at which it was found.  Again, most cats don’t roam more than 6-7 houses from where they live. It is always best to knock on the doors on your street to see if anyone knows the cat.  

What if the cat is feral, not friendly or has an ear tip?

When you find a feral or community 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. 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 one of the Sunday TNR (Trap, Neuter & Return) clinics at the Sacramento SPCA for surgery.  To make a surgery appointment or discuss other feral cat solutions, contact feralcats@sspca.org.  Removing the cat does not tend to solve the problem long term.  

What if a cat is sick or injured?

Please bring the sick or injured animal, during regular business hours, to the appropriate shelter.  Please note that these agencies are currently only accepting sick or injured cats.  If the cat appears healthy, please leave it be.

The information below is subject to change. Please visit their website for current information.

Found In Bring To Website/EMail Phone
City of Sacramento
(green street signs)
City of Sacramento Animal Services
(Front Street Shelter)

2127 Front Street
City of Sacramento Lost/Found Dogs
City of Sacramento Lost/Found Cats

311 or
(916) 808-7387
(By Appt)

Sacramento County
(white street signs)
Sacramento County Animal Care
(Bradshaw Shelter)

3839 Bradshaw Road
Unincorporated Sacramento County Lost/Found link
(916) 368-7387
Citrus Heights

Placer County Animal Services
(not Placer SPCA)
11232 B Ave
Auburn, CA 95603

Citrus Heights Animal Services link
(916) 725-7387
Elk Grove Sacramento County Animal Care
(Bradshaw Shelter)

3839 Bradshaw Road
Elk Grove Animal Services link (916) 687-3042
After hours: (916) 714-5115
Rancho Cordova Sacramento SPCA
6201 Florin-Perkins Road
City of Rancho Cordova Animal Services link (916) 851-8852
Folsom Sacramento SPCA
6201 Florin-Perkins Road
Folsom Animal Services link
(916) 355-7230
Roseville Placer SPCA
150 Corporation Yard Road
City of Roseville Animal Control link
(916) 782-7722
Yolo County Yolo County Animal Services
140 Tony Diaz
Yolo County Animal Services link
(530) 668-5287