Stray Cats

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We understand that your first inclination will be to pick up a cat that is wandering outdoors.  After all, you want to do the right thing.  But capturing them and bringing them to the Shelter may do more harm that good. A stray cat who is healthy and friendly likely belongs to someone in your neighborhood. Cats have a far better chance of reuniting with their owner when they're left in the area in which they’re found. Less than five percent of stray cats that are brought into shelters are reclaimed by their owners. For this reason, we encourage you to leave healthy and friendly cats where you discovered them.

If you feel that the cat is in danger or creating a nuisance, and action needs to be taken, first try to determine whether they are a stray or feral cat. General differences in behavior and appearance may include:

Feral Cats

Feral cats are notably quiet and keep their distance from people. Generally, feral cats will:
Not approach you.
Wait until you move away before approaching food.
Be silent.
Only be out at night.
If you see a feral cat, do not attempt to capture it. The Shelter does not accept feral cats from the public. If the feral cat is causing a nuisance or danger to the public, please contact Animal Control.

Stray Pet Cats

Stray pet cats are usually tame and accustomed to contact with people. They will frequently seek out human contact and exhibit behaviors such as meowing or purring. Stray pet cats will often try to make a home near humans in car garages, front porches or back yards. Generally, stray cats may:
Have a collar.
Approach you.
Approach food right away.
Be vocal.
Look disheveled.
Be seen at all hours of the day.

Helping Stray Pet Cats Return Home

If a stray pet cat continues to wander in your neighborhood for a few days, here are some tips to help them find their owners and return to their forever homes:

If you can approach it and has a collar, see if the collar has contact information for it's owner and call them.

Take a picture and post it on our Lost And Found Pets In Porter County Facebook page, including the location and any other identifying information you may have observed.

Tell your neighbors and post flyers in your neighborhood.

Call the Shelter to see if anyone has reported a matching cat missing in your area.

Turning In Stray Pet Cats At The Shelter

Remember, capturing and turning in stray pet cats at the shelter should always be a last resort, and should only be done if the cat is in immediate danger or creating a nuisance. If the cat is in immediate danger or creating a nuisance, your best and safest option is to contact Animal Control.

If you find it absolutely necessary to capture and turn in a stray pet cat, please be sure to follow these guidelines:

We do not accept animals from outside of Porter County.

Before capturing the cat, call the shelter at (219) 465-3550 to be sure we have room.  Many times, especially during the summer months, we may not have open space in our cat quarantine room to accommodate stray pet cats.  While we do have large cat community rooms, we have more limited space in our quarantine room. To protect the health of the cats in our community rooms, we require that EVERY stray cat brought into the Shelter be put in quarantine for seven days to be sure they have no communicable diseases before they are moved to the community rooms.

Use extreme caution when picking up a stray cat even when it appears friendly. Even normally friendly cats who are lost can be frightened and bite or scratch unexpectedly. Never put an unconfined stray cat in your car, especially when children are present. You don't know the cat's current vaccination status, and scratches and bites could result in unforeseen medical consequences for you and your children.

Intake hours are Tuesday through Friday from Noon until 4:30 PM, and on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon until 3:30 PM. The Shelter is closed on Mondays. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED STRAY CATS in carriers or cages at the Shelter during hours when we are not open.  This is a violation of the law and there are surveillance cameras on our property.

You will be required to provide your drivers license when turning in a stray pet cat.


Click on the icon below to submit your question to Animal Control online now and an officer will respond to you within 48 hours!
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Two cats and two puppies holding a sign

Porter County Animal Control serves all of Porter County EXCEPT FOR THE CITY OF PORTAGE. All information contained in this section of the website is only applicable to the areas served by Porter County Animal Control. If you live in the City of Portage, you will need to contact them directly at (219) 763-1825, as they may have different policies and ordinances.