What to do if you find a stray cat

                                KITTEN SEASON 

Do not remove found young or newborn kittens from their mother!  

Although most people think they are doing the right thing, newborn to four-week old kittens are better off with the mother cat to take care of them and the sad truth is that the majority do not survive if removed. Kittens under four weeks of age must be bottle fed around the clock and local shelters and most rescues do not have the resources to take care of them. Rescues are better able to handle orphan kittens four weeks and older.  If you find any stray kittens, leave it alone and check back every so often for three hours.  Mother cats have to leave their kittens to hunt for food and will usually return within 3 hours. Sometimes the mother cat is moving their kittens and you might happen upon a kitten in that process.  Remove kitten(s) only after three or more hours have passed and the mother cat has not returned or is nowhere in sight.


If you cannot stay with the kittens to watch for the mother, scatter a ring of flour around the kittens. If the mother returns, you will see her paw prints in the flour.


If you find a stray cat who is not wearing identification:

  • Contact your local animal control office to report the found pet and leave a detailed description. You are required to do this within 48 hours by VA code. Pet owners will often report a missing pet to a municipal animal control office and the pet can be reunited.
  • All Virginia localities have a waiting period that must be met in order to find the owners pet.  VA stray hold period is a minimum of 5 days if the animal has no ID. If the animal has an ID such as a collar, the stray hold period is usually a minimum of 10 days.
  • Have the feline checked for a microchip with a local veterinarian or Animal Shelter.  This is free and taps into a national microchip database.
Animal Control

Chesterfield County Animal Control, 9300 Public Works Rd, Chesterfield, 804-748-1683
City of Richmond Animal Care and Control, 1600 Chamberlayne Ave, Richmond, 804-646-5573
Goochland County Animal Control, 1900 Hidden Rock Lane, Goochland, 804-556-5302
Hanover County Animal Control, 12471 Taylor Complex Ln, Ashland, 804-365-6485
Henrico County Animal Control, 10421 Woodman Road, Henrico, 804-727-8800

  • Check with neighbors and place flyers around your neighborhood.
  • Post information on your neighborhood website/blog/Facebook Group
  • Check lost and found pet websites such as Petco Lost Love , pawboost.com, craigslist.com, https://www.facebook.com/Va.Lost.Found.Cats, petamberalert.com, and http://www.richmondgov.com/AnimalControl/LostAndFound.aspx, Lost and Found Pets in Chesterfield  and RVA
  • Local media sites such as nbc12.com  also share information about found pets.
  • Your veterinarian or local animal control office can scan the cat for a microchip.  If the pet needs emergency veterinary attention, please take him to the nearest veterinary clinic or after hours to an 24 hour emergency veterinarian.
  • If you are unable to locate the pet’s owner and are considering keeping the pet, you can do so after reporting the pet to Animal Control and holding him for a requisite stray period to give the owner an opportunity to claim him. Stray periods are usually around 10 days, but vary by locality. If you are unable to keep the pet, you may also contact your local animal control office or a pet rescue organization.
  • Always ask about any organization’s euthanasia policies.
Emergency Veterinarian Hospitals:
  • Virginia Veterinary Center (VVC), 3312 W. Cary St. Carytown, 804-353-9000  Hours: 24/7/365
  • Dogwood Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, 5918 W. Broad St., 804-716-4700 Hours: 24/7/365
  • Veterinary Referral and Critical Care, 1596 Hockett Rd, Manakin-Sabot, 804-784-8722. Hours: 24/7
  • Virginia Veterinary Center (VVC) 2460 Colony Crossing Place, Midlothian 744-9800
Other Urgent Care Centers:
  • Partner Veterinary Urgent Care – Richmond 804-206-9122
  • BetterPet Urgent Care- Mechanicsville 804-422-2713
  • UrgentVet- Midlothian – 804-924-0404
Local rescue groups that offer assistance:
  • Adopt Rescue Cats – 804-262-9592
  • Cat’s Cradle of Greater Richmond
  • Chesterfield County Humane Society – 804-717-6236
  • Hanover Humane Society – 804-798-0806
  • Henrico Humane Society – 804-262-6634
  • Hopewell Humane Society – 804-458-7303
  • Louisa Humane Society – info@louisahumanesociety.com
  • Meow Stories- 540-270-9141
  • Richardson Rescue – 387-3758
  • Richmond Animal League – 804-379-0046
  • Richmond SPCA – 804-521-1300
  • Smitty’s Cat Rescue -804-691-0475
  • Southside SPCA -434-736-9595
  • SPCA of Petersburg and Colonial Heights – 804-526-7722
  • St. Francis Humane – 804-598-6636
  • West End Cat Rescue – 804-751-4501
Local Groups that assist with community cats:

If the cat appears to be feral, do not attempt to interact with the cat!  C.A.R.E. does not work with feral cats and suggests that you call one of the following organizations that have feral resources for assistance:

Other Resources

Red Rover Domestic Violence and Pets

Animal Welfare Institute of Safe Havens

COVID–19 Emergency Resources for pets and people