The Hervey Foundation for Cats
You Just Found a Cat Outside, What Now?

You Just Found a Cat Outside, What Now?

Many of us have found ourselves in this situation. We just rescued a cat from a bad situation, or perhaps one that seemed lost, and now we are wondering what to do next. First of all, good for you! Cats need more allies in this world and people who step up to help them are certainly considered good in our books.

In the case of a cat, there are a couple of things you need to get figured out quickly to ensure the cat feels comfortable, safe and can make it through the night. If you are taking care of them for the night before bringing them to a shelter, the following tips may be very helpful for you. If you are planning on keeping the cat, which is wonderful, some of these tips should only be considered temporary solutions. 


All living creatures need water. Cats are no exception. Grab a bowl and fill it with clean water, then put it on the floor for them to drink!

Find Food

A hungry cat will eat most meat-based items, but cat food is truly the best choice. If you can, run to the nearest store and grab a few tins of wet cat food. Wet food both hydrates and satiates. 

If you aren’t able to get to a store, a can of tuna can be just as good for them. Be sure to add some water to the tuna and break it up and make it a bit easier for the cat to eat. 

With your newfound kitty munching on something good to eat, you can work on some of the next steps. 

Setup a Litter Box

Most dollar stores will sell cheap plastic litter boxes if you need something inexpensive. You will, however, need to get your hands on some litter. Cats need places to go to the bathroom, and if you don’t provide them with one, they will find somewhere secluded to do their business. You do not want this – it can be a terrible thing to move a piece of furniture and find out your cat has been going number two behind there for a number of days.

Litter is usually fine gravel or another similar substance. You can get away with shredded newspaper, but this is not a good permanent solution. Clumping litter is ideal as urine locks up into a ball, whereas clay litter typically just saturates and grows smelly. 

If you are unable to attain a plastic litter box, you can use a cardboard box if you wrap it with a garbage bag. This is not a long-term solution and is likely not one your cat will like much either. The plastic bag at the bottom of the litter feels unnatural to them and they will often paw at it after digging through the litter. This can break the seal of the bag and cause a mess. 

As a rule of thumb, cat litter should be about 3 or 4 inches deep for the cat to truly feel comfortable using it, but in a pinch, for an overnight, you can get away with less. Just make sure you remedy that as soon as possible. 

Provide a Safe Spot

A cat in a new and unfamiliar environment will naturally want to hide. You can help them feel safer by placing them in a room that has places for them to hide. If it does not, you can add an overturned box with a hole cut in the front of it, or perhaps a cat bed, or anything that might allow them to cut off some of the outside stimuli and allow them to relax on their own. 

Next Steps

First of all, if you are a kind person who lives in a stable place, consider keeping the cat! Cats are wonderful animals who can provide immense levels of companionship and happiness in your life or the lives of your family members. 

If you are unable to keep the cat, or you don’t think you can provide them with a decent home, then you will want to contact a shelter as soon as possible to arrange a time for drop-off. 

Dan Huen & Choice OMG

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