Monday, October 5, 2009


Q: I found a friendly cat outside. I think it is lost/hungry/stray/seeking a home. What should I do?

Hyde Park Cats would like to empower you to help the cat you have found. If you have found a stray cat, please follow the steps below.

First, ask yourself if you think this is not a stray cat, but your neighbor's cat who is out. Use your best judgment (is it filthy? struggling mightily to get your attention? skinny? no collar?). Keep your eye out for this cat. It might turn into a stray cat!

If you think it is a stray (lost) or homeless cat, we encourage you to help.

If you take the cat into your home, keep it separate from any resident pets. Place the cat in a small room with a litter box and food. A bathroom is a good option—something with a door and tile floors. Don't worry too much about a litter box. Cats will naturally use a box ... you can fill it with shredded newspaper if you can't get litter.

If you decide you want to keep the cat you should still attempt to find the owner, so:

  • Contact us about it (send photo please).
  • Place an ad in the Hyde Park Herald and
  • We'll advertise the cat in our lost-and-found section on Facebook and our lost-and-found coordinator will communicate with you to try and reunite the cat with a possible owner.
  • Take the cat to a vet to be scanned for a microchip. This is a free service.
  • Post fliers around the block where you found the cat.
  • Post fliers elsewhere (vet, pet market, grocery store).

    If you don't want to keep the cat, but can foster it for a while, during which time we seek adopters, we will help!

  • HPCats will feature the cat on the blog and petfinder
  • We will provide vet services
  • You will work with our Adoptions Coordinator to set up appointments with potential adopters

    If you can't keep the cat at all:

  • We may be able to place the kitty in a foster home. Availability is limited, but we try. It may take an hour or a week. We ask that you help us by taking the cat to the vet and having it scanned for a microchip and checked for general health, including information on age, gender, and possible spay/neuter status. Sometimes we are full up, but we always want to help stray Hyde Park Cats.
  • We strongly encourage you to help us find a foster home for the cat you have found. Our foster space is very limited. If you, the finder, can help out here, it dramatically increases our ability to help the kitty!

    If you want to bypass Hyde Park Cats:

  • Stray cats may be admitted to Treehouse Humane Society, a no-kill shelter. Space is limited. This is a wonderful shelter that only works with stray and abused cats. You cannot relinquish your own cat to Treehouse, but it's a great place to try and place a stray you have found.

  • You can try other shelters such as PAWS Chicago or a shelter from this list

  • Finally, City of Chicago Animal Care and Control, 2741 S. Western Ave., is open from 7am until 11 p.m. seven days a week for drop-off. Animal Welfare League is also available for drop off at either location (check website). These are not no-kill shelters. They may very well euthanize any animal brought in. However, we encourage you to bring a cat to one of these shelters rather than dumping an animal on the street.

    Please remember that Hyde Park Cats is a community organization made up of volunteers working on their own time. We are not paid for our work. We do not have a physical shelter but depend on foster homes and the goodwill and civic-mindedness of our community. We cannot always respond to immediate, urgent, or emergency needs.