What to do if you find a stray animal

Have you found a stray dog or cat in London? Find out what to do next.
Written by Mayhew team
Updated 1 month ago

If you think you have found a possible stray cat or dog, please follow our below advice.


Nervous and feral cats

These are wild animals and cannot be tamed or homed to a domestic environment.

Nervous and feral cats may require capturing to be neutered. Do not try and capture nervous or feral cats yourself. It is especially important that female cats who are feeding un-weaned kittens are not caught and separated from their kittens so please contact us on 020 8962 8000.

Friendly strays

If a cat has turned up at your home and is friendly and you are able to temporarily care for it whilst seeking its owner then you should:

  • Ask – Enquire with neighbours to see if anyone knows who owns the cat.
  • Collar – If the cat is friendly enough, make a paper collar with the message “Is this your cat? Please phone…” Put this on the cat for a few days, and if nobody calls you can assume the cat isn’t travelling to and from its home. To make the collar use a strip of normal plain paper, place around the cat’s neck and secure the ends with a small piece of sticky tape. Please don’t use strong paper or shiny paper – the collar should easily tear apart if the cat gets caught on anything. Alternatively use a cat safety release collar with the message attached.
  • Check for a microchip – Get the cat scanned for an ID microchip. If you have access to a safe cat carrying basket to transport the cat in then your local vet should do this free of charge.
  • Posters – Put up ‘Found cat’ posters – keep the cat’s description general so that any potential owner has to give more specific details and distinguishing features and/or provide a photo.

Unneutered strays are the main reason for the cat population explosion. Please aware if you start to feed a friendly stray and encourage it to stay with you then you are making it reliant on you for food and are then responsible for it and the ensuing litters of kittens. Please contact us if you need advice and to see if you qualify for our free neutering services.


If you encounter a stray dog please immediately phone the dog warden closest to you from the list below, or visit www.doglost.co.uk.

Barking & Dagenham 0208 215 3010
Barnet 07825098947
Bexley 020 8303 7777
Brent 0208 937 5252
Bromley 0300 303 8657
Camden 0782 509 8947
City Of London 0207 600 2222
Croydon 0208 726 6000 (opt7)
Ealing 0208 825 6000
Enfield 07815 512833
Greenwich 0208 921 8157
Hackney 0208 985 5930
Hammersmith & Fulham 0208 753 1081
Haringey 0208 489 1000
Harrow 0208 901 2600
Havering 01708 432777
Hillingdon 01895 250 190
Hounslow 0208 583 5555
Islington 0207 527 3222
Kensington and Chelsea 0207 361 3001
Kingston Upon Thames 020 8547 5002
Lambeth 0207 926 8860
Lewisham 0208 314 2098
Merton 020 8545 3170
Newham 0208 586 9739
Redbridge 0208 708 5061
Richmond Upon Thames 01932 425 718
Southwark 0207 525 2000
Sutton 0208 770 5070
Tower Hamlets 0207 364 5008 (opt 1)
Waltham Forest 0208 496 2225
Wandsworth 0786 053 4733
Westminster 0845 757 3268

If you are unsure what to do, do feel free to give our team at Mayhew a call on 020 8962 8000 and our reception will be able to advise you.

Did this answer your question?