Stray Cat Rescues in The USA! Everything You Need to Know (2024)

Today we are going to talk about stray cat rescues in the USA. Cats are some of the most popular pets in America.

However, many cats have lost their homes in some way or another, and we refer to them as strays. Stray cats still need a home, and many places will take them in and prepare them to adopt. 

Stray cats can present difficulties when picked up off the side of the road or even when adopted from a shelter.

Rescues for stray cats can provide the needed support and careful reassimilation that these cats need. Continue reading to learn about stray cat rescues in the USA.

Other articles you would like: Cane Corso Adoption and Maltipoo For Adoption.

What Separates A Stray Cat From an Outdoor or Feral Cat?


Technically, a stray cat is also considered a community cat. However, strays are different from feral or outdoor cats as they are acclimated to life with humans.

It is essential to understand the blurry difference between the two because one can be reintroduced to life in a house and the other cannot. 

That is not to say there is no hope for a feral cat, but that trying to reacclimate a feral cat to a home is a long, trying process that may have no actual results.

It is a toss-up and entirely depends on the cat. But stray cats just need a little love and affection, and some time to get used to living with people again.

Feral Cats 

While feral cats are often referred to as unsocialized or unfriendly toward people, they are simply cats unaccustomed to living with human interaction.

While it seems crazy to think that there are animals that live in the city but are not used to living in the presence of people, it is true.

For cats, being used to humans is more than just the presence of a person, but their food, attention, touch, and smells.

Feral cats can be assimilated but usually only before they turn about four months old. It is much more challenging to break an adult habit than one formed as a kitten. 

Feral cats could have been strays or pets once but have been separated from humans for so long that they are no longer comfortable around them.

The kittens born to feral cats can be socialized as long as they are brought in before that four-month mark. 

Stray Cats

Stray cats can be community cats but are never feral cats. At some point, stray cats lived indoors and were fully house-trained.

Cats become strays when they have lost their home, either by wandering away, being left behind, or being abandoned without contact with people. 

Stray cats often are tame and safe to be around. They do not always need to be rescued, as sometimes a few people in the area will feed them and give them warm places to stay when it is cold. 

Rescue centers will take in strays as long the fact that the cat is a stray is confirmed.

More often than not, stray cats are simply curious and can be left to their own devices. You can provide food and water if you want, but they do not need to be taken into a shelter.

Community Cats

Community or outdoor cats can be either strays or feral. They technically are owned by no one and do not live indoors.

There is no set behavior for a community cat, and their conduct will vary widely. While some community cats make for great pets after a TLC, others are past the point of socialization. 

Some rescue shelters will refuse to take a community or outdoor cats. A community or outdoor cat is owned by the community, so the cats do have someone who takes care of them and legally owns them.

It has some form of home and is being taken care of by a variety of people. Just because a cat does not live indoors does not mean it is homeless or in need of help. 

Community cats are perfectly safe as long as they have been spayed and neutered. If they are sick or injured, then you can bring in community cats to any veterinarian clinic, but it is best to return them from where you found them after treatment. 

Large Stray Cat Rescues Nationwide


There are not many organizations that hold locations all over the USA.

Instead, they typically have a headquarters and a few locations, but work with local shelters. However, there are a few large organizations that take in cats at multiple places across the nation. 

Some big names to look at are:

One of the most prominent issues with rescues today is that they have a kill policy to ensure that the shelter never stays full for long.

Many rescue shelters have begun to implement no-kill policies even though this means that if they are full they cannot make room for any other animals.

Places like Best Friends, ASPCA, and the Humane Society are implementing no-kill policies. While this is not the most profitable endeavor, these places are taking steps to ensure that not only stray cats but all animals are well taken care of. 

Humane societies exist in almost every city in the country. They are the driving force behind protecting stray, feral, and community animals. If there is not a local humane society, there is typically a shelter that partners with them.

How to Find Rescue Centers


Rescue centers are a dime a dozen, but there are some key ingredients necessary to create a good shelter.

However, when you are looking for a shelter to care for a stray cat that needs care you need to look at their policies and how they treat the different animals that come through.

The first step to finding a good shelter is examining how they operate and what they do when the availability fills up. Some centers will refuse to take in strays; check their websites to see if there are specific details you need to know beforehand. 

There are sites such as Petfinder that work to connect people to safe places to adopt stray cats. If there are no locations close to you, then sites like these will help you connect to a beneficial rescue center to help you find the perfect pet.

If you cannot find any close shelters, then the best place to go for information may be a veterinary clinic. If there are pets, there is somewhere or someone for them to go to when they are sick or injured.

What Makes a Good Rescue Center?

The best kinds of rescue centers are the ones dedicated to animals. You need to visit and see how they care for the animals.

While this seems like a no-brainer, animals get mistreated every day. Just as a shelter unintentionally bites off more than it can chew. 

Another thing to consider is the shelter’s availability, as it can be just as detrimental to take in more animals than they can care for. If a rescue center continuously takes in too many animals, it cannot properly take care of them. 

Check the papers and guidelines from the shelter, as there has to be some form of evaluation to ensure that their animals are going to good homes and will not be used for nefarious purposes.

A good shelter will have a friendly staff or, at the very least, will be hospitable and answer any questions you may have.

What Can You Do When You Find A Stray Cat?


If a stray is desperate enough to come to people, they most likely need food and water. The best food for a stray or a feral cat is either tuna, chicken, or beef, preferably tuna. Avoid fruit, veggies, or other food except for sweet potatoes. 

Give them water and not milk! Cats drinking milk is more of a stereotype than a fact. The only foolproof way to hydrate is water, and clean, fresh water is best for cats. Do not be afraid to let the cat inside if the weather is nasty or if it is super cold/hot. 

While there are many stray cats, often, they belong to somebody. Once the cat has warmed to your presence, check to see if there is a collar or a tag.

If the cat stays a while, but there is no collar, you can try contacting the owner, if there is one, by attaching a makeshift collar with your number. 

No one owns some stray cats, but others have owners that allow them to roam as they please. If no one contacts you after a few weeks and the cat continues to choose to stay with you, then you should take it to a vet for a checkup. 

Cats need to stay on top of shots and vaccines. Most pets are spayed and neutered, and stray cats will need to be since they roam around so often. There is also the possibility of ticks, fleas, or other parasites, so they have to be checked out by a vet.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Choosing to Adopt a Rescued Cat

Any pet that is adopted later in their life will present challenges. Like humans, animals have habits and tendencies that can be challenging to unlearn, and learning new behaviors can be a trying process.

Acclimating can be even more pressing if the animal is not tame, meaning humans make the cat uncomfortable and are not socialized. 

If you find a stray cat you wish to adopt, and there seems to be no apparent owner, there are ways to go about the process of adopting them.

And the cat will have to prepare for life as a pet. Now there is no guarantee that an animal will acclimate to tame living.

If you have never had a pet or a cat, taking in a stray or adopting a rescued cat is a big decision that needs time to process and consider. Having a pet is an incredible experience that produces a mind-blowing bond! 

However, taking on a challenge like a cat before you are ready can not only ruin the experience and hurt the cat but may also ruin any chances of you ever being a cat owner again.

So it needs to have been a thought-out and not spur-of-the-moment decision.

How to Properly Care For A Stray Cat

After finding a stray cat, the best thing to do is to feed them and provide some water.

After that, it depends on the situation. If the cat stays with you and makes no effort to leave or return each time they depart, you may consider fostering or finding the cat a home. 

However, if a stray cat comes in simply to get out of the weather or cold, it will probably leave afterward. The stray might wander back over if a similar situation happens again, and over time a relationship may occur, or it could be a one-time thing. 

There is a lot you can not know about the pet you adopt, especially if they are a reduced stray with a questionable background. They may shed a lot or be uncomfortable around people. Cats are temperamental, even when adopted as kittens. 

While stray cats present many challenges, it can be more rewarding to adopt a rescued cat than a kitten. Sometimes all they need is a good home and a loving family.

A stray cat can become the best pet, even with the difficulty or health problems from their time as a stray, feral, or community cat.

Conclusion For “Stray Cat Rescues in The USA”


Cat adoption is so much more than finding a pet. Rescue cats need homes, too, just like stray cats. Most used to be stray cats.

While there are different types of outdoor cats, based on their socialization and living situations, rescue shelters provide options to find the perfect cat for your family. 

There are many rescues within the US to consider when looking for a cat. Most rescue shelters will take in stray cats if that is the specific cat you want to adopt.

But keep in mind that all pets need a place to stay and people to love and take care of them.

You will also like:

For more information about Cats, check out the video down below: