At Act 2 Rescue, we share your passion for helping unhoused cats, and we understand the frustration that can arise when it feels like there’s no one to turn to. We receive hundreds of phone calls each week from compassionate individuals like you, but our resources are limited, and we want to shed light on why we may sometimes be unable to accept cats immediately. This blog is dedicated to providing guidance on what to do when you find a cat in need and how you can make a difference.

Step 1: Check for a Microchip & Seek Medical Attention If Needed Immediately

One of the first things to do when you encounter an unhoused cat is to check for a microchip. Don’t assume that friendly cats are “community cats.” It’s incredibly challenging for a cat, especially a friendly one, to survive on the streets. They lack the instincts needed to protect themselves and may not know how to hunt. If you find a friendly cat, take it to a veterinarian to have it scanned for a microchip. It is free and no appointment is needed. If there’s no microchip, proceed with the following steps.

If the cat needs medical attention, please don’t wait for help. It needs to get to a vet or worst case the shelter (which will pry euthanize but will end the suffering). Be aware some vets have extremely high pricing due to the shortage of vets. Be careful of this. See Veterinarians we Love! ( for recommendations.

Step 2: Do Not Relocate the Animal

Resist the urge to relocate the cat. Relocation will take the animal away from the little protection it may have in a local colony or even people helping feed it. Relocation is a delicate process because a new cat in an area will likely be a target of attacks from established colonies. 

Step 3: Provide Food and Water

Friendly cats are often unable to fend for themselves outdoors. If the cat is friendly, please try to find options for it besides an outdoor setting. Please give them food and water at minimum. Friendly cats are often unable to hunt and will likely suffer and slowly perish. New cats will inevitably take the place of the other cats. A small fixed colony of ferals is very healthy for the environment to control pests. Unfixed colonies can quickly spiral out of control, leading to hundreds of offspring.

Step 4: Secure the Cat or Kittens

 Secure the cat or kittens in a safe location. This could be a large dog kennel, bathroom or extra bedroom with few hiding places. 

If you’re dealing with kittens, it’s essential to monitor them for a few hours before taking them in, as they may have a mother who is their primary source of nutrition. Capturing the mother along with the kittens is ideal. Kittens without teeth need to be bottle-fed and have their waste stimulated every 2-4 hours. They also require a low heat source, like a pet-safe heating pad. 

Step 5: Call for Rescue Support

Rescue organizations operate primarily on volunteer efforts and often have limited budgets. When seeking rescue support, be prepared for volunteers who are juggling overwhelming demands.  If you find a rescue who can assist you, please also check to make sure they are a safe rescue with good outcomes. If you can foster the cat or kitten and prepare them for adoption by ensuring they are vaccinated, sterilized, and microchipped, you significantly increase the chances our being able to assist you. If you are able to do this, please text 951-444-9108 and ask for assistance. You can also email us at Be aware we can miss messages in the volumes we receive so plesae message again if you don’t get an answer in 24 hours.

Another humane option is to call the animal shelter and ask if you can foster for them. They will assist you with getting the kitty prepped for adoption. Once adoptable, they can put it in windows or adopt out. This option doesn’t have the safeguards of rescues checking the adopters so you can also ask a rescue to pull your foster from the shelter until together you can find a safe home. (Be aware, even fostering for the shelter, if the animal gets sick, it will be euthanized). Our rescue does assist shelter fosters when animals are ill or if they need behavioral assistance and has pulled from the shelter so the foster has a more vetted adopter. Contact us at the above number/email if you need support with this. 

If you are fostering, we offer behavioral assistance.  text “woof” to (951) 261-8100 to receive 30 days of Petcademy support 

Step 6: Continue to Assist

If you’re unable to foster, search for a suitable foster and continue to assist in finding a home for the cat. Even if you give your cat to a rescue, your help in locating potential adopters can be invaluable.

Caring for cats in distress is a shared responsibility, and together, we can make a significant impact on their lives. While we may sometimes be unable to accept cats immediately due to limited resources, your dedication and proactive steps can save lives. Remember, every small effort counts in providing a better future for our feline companions. This experience has probably shown you the critical need for rescues which are privately funded. Please consider monthly donations to our rescue to assist us in continuing this vital community support.


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