How to Capture a Stray Cat

If you notice a stray cat on the street, you may wish to try and catch it so you can take it to a vet or cat sanctuary so it can be identified and cared for. However, if a cat has run away or is injured, it is probably very anxious, which can make it very difficult to approach. Below is a guide to approaching a stray cat.

Approach slowly

Even a normally affectionate and friendly cat will run away when they are startled by someone they do not recognise. If you approach a stray cat too quickly, it is likely to jump over the nearest fence or to hide under the nearest car so it can escape. You should approach a stray cat very slowly while also clicking your tongue. Avoid any sudden movements that could frighten the animal.

Read the cat's body language

Cats display a range of different behaviours that can be used to indicate how they are feeling. Some behaviours are obvious signs of aggression and distress such as hissing and spitting, but there are also some more subtle behaviours you should look out for.

If the cat curls its tail slightly, this means that it is happy for you to approach. If the tail is lowered, this is a sign that the cat is submissive, so it should be OK for you to go closer. However, if the cat holds its tail straight up in the air or sweeps it from side to side, this indicates that the cat is very unhappy.

Do not make eye contact

Between humans, eye contact can help to build trust. However, in the feline world, it signals dominance and aggression. Therefore, you should not make direct eye contact with the cat for long periods of time. You should occasionally break eye contact by looking away or closing your eyes, as this will help to signal that you do not mean any harm.

Extend your arm

As you get closer to the cat, you should stop and slowly extend your arm. Wait in this position until the cat approaches you. As the cat approaches, it will be able to sniff your extended hand. Once the cat is familiar with you, you should be able to pick it up.

Once you have successfully caught the stray cat, you should take it to a vet who will carry out a medical examination and determine if it has a microchip.