I Found a Cat


I Found a Cat Who Seems Lost  

A cat who looks healthy with good body condition and coat is very rarely lost. Millions of pet cats are indoor/outdoor; we might not know where that cat lives, but good body condition tells us the cat knows where home is and will make its way back on its own. Even cats who are actually lost are 10–50 times more likely to be reunited with their owners if they stay in the neighborhood where they are found (instead of being removed from the area and taken to an animal shelter). Following the recommendations of leading national organizations such as the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program (KSMP), National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), ASPCA, American Association of Feline Practitioners, and Million Cat Challenge, we do not admit healthy free-roaming cats to the shelter.


If the cat looks healthy, please put it back where you found it/leave it where it is. Refer to this I Found a Cat flowchart for more guidance. If you believe the cat is truly lost, here’s how you can help:


  • Wait a day or two to offer food, as extra feeding can discourage cats from going back home on their own.

  • Play detective—ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes them. If the cat is friendly, use this paper collar template to help determine if the cat is owned.

  • Post a photo and description of the animal on social media. Some options include: NextDoor, Craigslist, Petco Love Lost, PawBoost, and surrounding neighborhood Facebook groups and local “Lost & Found Pets of [CITY NAME]” Facebook pages (for example, Contra Costa County’s Lost Pets or Fido Alert East Contra Costa County).

  •  Create a Found Pet flyer and post it in the neighborhood or distribute it to doorsteps of homes nearest where the cat was found. Don’t think in terms of street travel—cats don’t!—think distance, or “as the crow flies,” and post flyers on all the major streets that transverse your neighborhood.

  • Complete a Found Cat report on our website with a photo and check Lost Cat listings .You will receive automated email notifications when an animal matching your request is reported lost in the area, and our lost and found volunteers may reach out to you for updates. Animals don’t know city limits, and it’s possible they may have been relocated from out of Contra Costa County, so file a found report with other shelters in the area, including Antioch, and visit our Resources page for additional hints and tips to increase the chance of getting your pet back home.

  • Check for ID tags or bring the cat to a vet to have it scanned for a microchip and, if needed, visit www.petmicrochiplookup.org to enter the microchip number and find the owner.

If you are unable to locate an owner, you are welcome to keep the found pet in your home, provided you file a found report, check for microchip/ID and make concerted efforts to locate the owner. If an owner does not come forward, you may be considered the legal owner per CCC Ord. 416-2.010 and after complying with applicable lost property laws in your jurisdiction. 

For more ideas, see our Lost & Found Resources Guide. If you need help completing the forms on our website, our staff will be happy to assist you at 925-608-8400.

Additional Resources

See our Lost & Found Resources Guide.

PLEASE NOTE: We can only accept animals found within our service area of Contra Costa County, which excludes Antioch. If you find an animal in Antioch, please contact Antioch Animal Services.