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PC Pet files- Theft Act 1968

Theft Act 1968 – Ownership

Did you know that cats are regarded as property in the UK? If you have suspicion that someone has stolen your cat, you will need to call the police, not the RSPCA and you will have to prove that the cat is your property. This can be difficult as some cats that live in cities and towns may visit many properties and different people daily. You will need to prove ownership of your cat; a microchip registration is not proof alone but will help towards confirming ownership. It’s always good to have your cat registered at a local vets and a record of its history over a period of time or cat insurance certificates.

I am worried that a cat near me may be a stray, what do I do?

Stray cats

Cats are avid explorers and sometimes they end up going into back gardens all over their community. Some are clever enough to look hungry and even take food from their neighbours and then wander back home again to have even more lovely treats! However many cats do get mistaken for strays so here is some advice on what to do if you are concerned a cat does not have an owner.

If you see a healthy, friendly cat that you think may be a stray, monitor it closely, make sure it is not sick or injured and contact your neighbours and other members of the community to see if the cat is owned. A neighbour may have a new cat, or someone new may have moved to the neighbourhood and their cat may be out exploring so please do not take it away from its location before exhausting all the options below.

Unfortunately, the National RSPCA doesn’t have the resources to collect healthy strays. If you would like advice please call our Branch on 0303 040 1565.

Cats are considered property in the UK, which means that a lost or stray cat belongs to its owner, and you need to do everything possible to return it to its rightful and original owner before you consider taking on the cat for yourself or try to rehome it elsewhere. You should do this for at least 7-10 days.

  • Try placing a paper collar on the cat requesting the owner contact you. You can download paper cat collars from the National RSPCA here. Remember to always take precautions when approaching the cat and fixing the collar.
  • We also recommend you visit Pets Located, an online resource that reunites owners with their pets. Social media can also be a really useful tool in helping to reunite lost pets with their owners. There are often local lost and found groups/pages for pets that you can post on.
  • Putting up posters in your local area can also be effective, you can download and print a found poster here. 
  • You can visit our website here and report a lost animal, or you can take a look at the lost animal section to see if you the cat has already been registered on there. Click here for lost animals..
  • If none of these options work for you and you are unsuccessful in finding an owner, you can take the cat to your local vet who will be able to scan the cat for a microchip.
EmmaPC Pet files- Theft Act 1968