Know the Difference: Lost Versus Outdoor Cats

Cats are a great companion for many Edmontonians, but they can cause frustration when they enter a neighbour’s property without permission. While cats are allowed to roam, cat owners are responsible to understand and communicate their outdoor cat’s tendencies to neighbours. That way, the neighbours are aware that the cat isn’t lost while roaming outside.

There are subtle differences between lost cats and outdoor cats, but if you see a cat wandering around your neighbourhood, examine its behaviour to determine whether or not it is lost. Outdoor cats are confident outdoors, so they will approach strangers and enter unfamiliar yards. Some lost cats may show signs of confidence, but they typically hide from strangers and are difficult to approach.

Even if you find a lost cat, the best thing to do is to put up posters. While it’s tempting to bring it home, lost cats tend to not travel far, so their owners are likely to find them. However, if a lost or outdoor cat looks injured or unhealthy, bring it to the Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC).

If a cat becomes a nuisance and you don’t know the owner, there are several ways to make your property less inviting. The ACCC rents out cat deterrent kits with samples of multiple deterrents that can be borrowed for one week for a refundable deposit of $100. You could also try spreading repellents like vinegar or orange peel on your property.

Finally, if deterrents do not work, call 311 or learn how to humanely trap the cat so ACCC staff can pick it up. From there, the cat is listed on the Found Pets Search, which will hopefully lead to a quick reunion with its owner.

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