Is it really a stray?

First and foremost, it is important to ensure that the cat is not owned. This can be done either by bringing them to your local vet for a free microchip scan, or by placing a paper collar on the cat with your phone number and “is this your cat” written on it. Printing paper posters and placing them on your street is a good way of asking if the cat belongs to your neighbours. Be very careful of using social media and always ask for proof of ownership prior to passing the cat on to a stranger. Many opportunists seek free cats and pretend to own them. If you are concerned about the cat’s health, please contact RSPCA Cruelty Line at 0300 1234 999. They may issue a voucher and advise you to take the cat to your local vet where emergency health treatment can be administered, or they may be able to trace the cat’s owner if the cat is microchipped and with up to date information.

Garden nuisance

It is very common that an unneutered cat visits a garden where they attack owned pets and steal their food. These cats mark the territory with a foul smell and they are also the source of constant screaming at night where they either mate with female cats or fight with other cats for their territory.

What can be done in this situation? Either the cycle is broken and the cat gets neutered, or this will continue in perpetuity, one litter after another, with more stray cats claiming residential gardens. What can you do? It may seem an overwhelming thought at first, but actually anyone can help a stray by at the very least getting them neutered. This is practised all over the world and many countries have either government funded or charity funded neutering programs, so this usually doesn’t even cost a penny. To find vets local to you who offer free neutering in London area please check:

If you think the unneutered cat causing nuisance and harm to your resident cat is owned, try to encourage the owner to get their cat neutered by explaining that once neutered, cats don’t produce that foul smell, they don’t viciously fight to defend their territory and they don’t populate the area with more cats. It is negligence to own an unneutered cat and you are within your rights to seek compensation if your cat suffered death or injuries caused by an owned pet if evidence can be provided.

Seeking help from a rescue

In the ideal world all cats in need of help would be secured and brought into safety. Unfortunately, England is now on the verge of cat crisis, and rescues are not coping with the numbers of not just unwanted pets but also unneutered stray and feral cats living in colonies in every neighbourhood. People deliberately breed cats for profit, they sell cats illegally and they don’t check if their “product” has been neutered or ever seen a vet. This never-ending circle of negligence and pushing the responsibility onto others is not going to stop until people’s attitude towards neutering is going to change.  Until then, when someone’s unneutered male cat makes a stray female pregnant, it is indeed going to be impossible to enforce taking responsibility for the litters fathered by owned pets nor the children of these cats, nor their children. One cat can produce over 2,000 cats in its lifetime.

This is precisely why when a kind person spots a sick or injured cat and they try to find rescue to help, they hit the wall. Help how? Where is this cat meant to be placed? This is an endless dilemma for all rescues. Are we going to help a suffering animal? How are we going to help? Well, this is down to individual rescue places, their capacity and their current situation with virus outbreaks. It is not uncommon that cats, particularly feral cats or those with injuries that cost thousands of pounds to treat, are being euthanised. If this is something that you disagree with, please use the opportunity to become an advocate for these cats and actively take action by promoting neutering and by educating your friends, your family and your community on how important this is.

Remember that these battered or feral cats are never anyone’s choice to adopt, which is why they end up dead. They die to make room for the adoptable cats such as kittens or owned pets. There may be long waiting lists at the shelters to adopt a pet, but we assure you, these long lists are exclusively for young, healthy and cuddly kitties, and never for the death row cats.

At Bushy Tail Cat Aid we are a no-kill shelter. What we, however, are is a small home-based rescue place with a very limited capacity. Just because we won’t euthanise a cat already in our care, it doesn’t mean that this will prevent another cat out there from pain, suffering and potential death. It only means that the lucky ones who are with us will get a chance to stay alive. It also means that for as long as they are with us, there will be no room to help other cats in need.

It will never be possible to help every cat, but it is always possible to neuter them. We promise you, if you neuter just one cat, you will save hundreds of lives.

Reporting a stray to the rescue

We understand that some cats need a trap and experience with trapping. Please contact us providing the location of the cat, and we will see if we can work out a plan. Please bear in mind that sometimes trapping one cat can takes weeks and it requires countless hours of minding the traps. Bear in mind that no rescue operates as property cleaning service and it doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. If you need help with an animal causing nuisance on your property, a volunteer will help you outside their working hours and in their free time. They will do this free of charge, but we encourage you to offer a donation towards the veterinary treatment of a cat you are reporting.

What do we need in order to take on the cat?

We need to know the exact location and we need to have the access to the cat. Is there somewhere safe to place the traps that can be monitored?

Please fill up and submit this form and we will get back to you:

Can I bring a cat to you?

Essentially: yes, but this very much depends on the circumstances of the cat, on your donation towards the veterinary cost of the cat, and on our capacity. Bringing over a fully vaccinated, friendly cat is much less of a problem than bringing over a litter of kittens with cat flu, who need a temperature-controlled isolation unit. We are a rescue and not vets, therefore injured cats should be brought to the veterinary hospital where they can receive medical treatment. The veterinary hospitals in our area who operate 24/7 are Medivet Watford or Vets Now Harrow.