Found Cats
Found Cats

Stray Cat

When finding stray cats or kittens, our initial instinct may be to remove them from their environment and bring them indoors. But before doing that, read through our guide below to determine when it is best to leave cats and kittens where they are and when it is best to seek additional care.


I found a stray adult cat


I found stray kittens



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What To Do When You Find A Stray Adult Cat

If you find a healthy adult cat outdoors, it is generally best to not remove them from their environment. They could be an owned outdoor cat or a community cat. Community cats do not do well in the shelter environment and are often happiest outdoors. The best thing you can do for outdoor community cats is have them spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their familiar environment. This TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) process helps prevent community cat overpopulation. If you find a cat who is missing the tip of his ear, this means that he has already completed the TNR process. Learn more about Community Cats and how to help them.

If you find an adult cat who is injured or looks sick, it is best to take them to a vet or bring them into the shelter.

For more information about what to do if you find a cat or kittens outside, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



What To Do When You Find Stray Kittens

There are a few things to consider before bringing stray kittens indoors and into an animal shelter.

  1. Are their surroundings safe and free from traffic?
  2. Do the kittens appear healthy and warm?

If the answers to these questions is ‘yes,’ their mother is likely around and is taking great care of them. Mama cats frequently leave their kittens in a safe place while out hunting for food. If you do not see a mother nearby, keep and eye on the kittens from a distance for several hours to see if their mother returns. Mom may be too nervous to approach with you close by, so ensure that you are watching the kittens from a distance. If the mother returns to her healthy and safe kittens, they should stay where they are. Provide food, water, and shelter for the family. When the kittens are about eight weeks old, the entire family can begin the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) process. Learn more about LifeLine's TNR program.

If the kittens are cold, dirty, or in immediate danger, the best thing to do is to remove them from their current environment. This could mean bringing them into an animal shelter, finding a rescue group to take them in, or caring for them on your own. If you live in Fulton or DeKalb County in Atlanta and opt to bring them into the shelter, they may be eligible for our foster program. Learn more about our Kitten Sittin' program. If you are willing to care for the kittens in your home until they are old enough to be adopted, let our staff know when you bring the kittens into our shelters. For detailed information about caring for underage kittens, check out

The infographic below is a helpful resource when determining what to do when you find stray kittens. Feel free to save the image to your phone, and share it with your networks!

Finding Stray Kittens

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Founded in 2002 and now managing DeKalb and Fulton County Animal Services, LifeLine Animal Project is the leading non-profit organization working to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in metro Atlanta shelters. Together, we will make Atlanta a no-kill community.

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