Capture and contain it with care. If you see a stray cat or dog, try to capture and contain the animal if circumstances permit. Always approach stray animals slowly and cautiously while speaking in a calm, gentle voice. You can also use food to coax a frightened animal into approaching you. Ideally, dogs should be secured using a leash or contained in a fenced yard. Most cats do not like to be held for any length of time, so stray kitties are best confined inside a cat carrier, secure box (with air holes), small room of your house, or temporarily in your car (as long as the car is well ventilated and not too hot).
Call the authorities. Never put yourself in harm’s way by attempting to capture an animal that is behaving aggressively. Call your local animal control or police department immediately. Be sure to give the dispatcher the exact street address where the animal was last seen.
Check for ID. Once you have contained the lost pet, check to see if the animal is wearing an ID tag. If so, you may be able to immediately contact the owner and return the pet to her or him.
Get the pet scanned for a microchip. If the pet is not wearing an ID tag, the best course of action is to either take it to your local animal shelter or call the animal control/police department to pick it up and transport it to the shelter. The shelter staff will scan the animal for a microchip.
Take pets with no ID to an animal shelter. If the animal has no ID tag or microchip, its best chance of being reunited with its owner is generally at an animal shelter. The shelter is the one obvious place where owners are likely to look for lost pets.
Post fliers. Whether you hold the lost animal yourself or place it in the custody of your local shelter, there are several ways you can help find the owner. If possible, take a photo of the pet and post fliers around the area where the pet was found. You can also place a “found” ad in the classified section of your local newspaper.