What to do if you come across a cat or kitten that needs help
By Patricia Kraft
You wander out on your deck with a morning cup of coffee in hand and are greeted by the forlorn mews of an abandoned cat or kitten. You might be tempted to hope the stray will just go away. However, ignoring the cat or kitten will only make the situation worse.
While you absolutely did not cause the problem, it has become yours, and may even cost your time or resources to resolve it. The stray is probably not going anywhere unless you help it. Fortunately, if you live in the Big Canoe community, the BCAR cat shelter, Maggie’s House, will partner with you to resolve this problem. Call us at (706) 268-1346.
First, If the homeless or lost cat or kitten is crying out for help, please investigate the situation, the cat may be injured and require immediate veterinary care that BCAR can arrange.
We suggest you offer the hungry cat some food. Leave a small amount of food for the cat to establish a feeding area. Be sure to remove the dish after the cat eats so it does not attract bears. The food will keep the cat coming to this safe feeding location and it will be easier to catch later.
If the cat is friendly, please check with your nearby neighbors to determine if it belongs to one of them. If not, call Maggie’s House as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide the exact area where the cat was found. Also, be prepared to give a description of the cat, that is, the approximate age, weight, color, and sex. If your cell phone has a camera, provide us with a photo of the cat.
If the cat is friendly enough to be put in a carrier, arrange to bring the cat to Maggie’s House. One of our volunteers will meet you there. Our volunteers can scan the cat for an identifying microchip and take a clear picture of the cat if needed.
We will next contact the Big Canoe Public Safety Office (North Gate), Dawson County Humane society, and Pickens County Animal Control that a cat has been found, providing its description and picture. Maggie’s House will send an email blast to all BCAR volunteers, and provide the Big Canoe postal facilityPost Office and Big Canoe’s social media sites (Facebook’s Neighbor to Neighbor and Friends of Big Canoe Sidebar) with a timely posting about the cat.
If the cat is not approachable (feral, injured or frightened) please be careful. Many stray cats are fearful of people, so be patient and persistent. BCAR cannot trap the cat for you, putting our volunteers at risk, but we can help. We can lend you a trap and offer how-to instructions.
If the cat is determined to be unhealthy by the veterinarian, it will be euthanized. If the cat is feral and is found to be healthy, it will be neutered, microchipped, and eventually released, often as a farm’s barn cat.
If Maggie’s House has room for another cat, it must be checked by the veterinarian and declared healthy before entering the kennel. If a veterinarian appointment can’t be made right away or the cat kennel is full, we may ask if you can foster the cat until an appointment can be set or space is available. If you have pets of your own, you may want to borrow a cat condo or cage from BCAR for the cat until it can be seen by the veterinarian.
The first seven days the cat is in Maggie’s House or foster care, we will actively look for its original owner, after which it will be put up for adoption.
Those cats who enter Maggie’s House as residents for adoption are given time to acclimate to the kennel before our amazing team of volunteers begin socializing them in preparation of finding their forever homes. Please plan to visit Maggie’s House and our wonderful cats and kittens at BCAR’s Open House on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.