Found a lost or stray pet? Immediately check for the pet’s identification and ask the people in the immediate vicinity if they know who the owner is. If the pet doesn’t have an ID tag, here are several options that will help them find their way home.

Steps to take if you found a PET:

Take the pet to the shelter that serves your jurisdiction https://www.sdhumane.org/jurisdiction-chart/ or a local veterinarian office or clinic to have them scanned for a microchip (it’s free).

Start by searching San Diego Humane Society’s website for pets reported as lost, and post flyers in your neighborhood as well as in regional lost and found Facebook pages, Nextdoor and Craigslist under the lost/found community page.

Contact San Diego Humane Society at 619-299-7012 and other shelters in surrounding cities to file a Found Pet Report, which will include information like the pet’s age, weight, breed, color, overall description and location found. Remember to email a photo of the pet to [email protected]. The information and photo will help us cross-reference our Lost Pets database.

Take the pet to one of our campuses in San Diego, Oceanside or Escondido for us to scan for a microchip, vaccinate him or her and file a Found Pet Report. We can either admit the pet into our care or you may foster the pet until we locate the owner.

If you can’t take the pet to one of our campuses or the shelter that serves your jurisdiction, and you’re willing to foster him in your home, be sure to file a Found Pet Report and email a photo of the pet to [email protected]. You can contact us at 619-299-7012 with any questions.

If the owner is not located and you are interested in adopting the pet, San Diego Humane Society will be happy to provide you the information needed to adopt the pet after the required stray holding period. Legally, the transfer of ownership of a lost pet may only be completed after the required stray holding period to provide owners time to locate lost pets. If an owner does not come forward and the pet is a candidate for placement, they will become available for adoption or transferred to a rescue partner organization.

When Should You Bring A Cat To A Shelter?

If you encounter a cat that appears sick, injured or in immediate danger, please make every effort to rescue the cat and bring them to the animal shelter associated with the jurisdiction where the cat has been found. If you have found a cat in one of San Diego Humane Society’s service areas and you bring the cat to one of our shelters in Escondido, Oceanside or San Diego our admissions team members will scan the cat for a microchip, enter the cat’s description and photo into our Lost Pet database and search for a match. We will also provide care and comfort to the lost cat.

At San Diego Humane Society we recognize cats are not dogs and therefore, the same sheltering methodology should not apply. Unfortunately, scientific studies and experience have shown that less than 5% of stray cats entering animal shelters are reunited with their owners. Cats have a better chance of returning home on their own when they are left in the area in which they were found. According to a 2010 study of California animal shelters, 70% of cats entering California animal shelters were euthanized.

For this reason, San Diego Humane Society employs a comprehensive approach to reuniting lost cats with their families by using technology, social media and community networks to increase the likelihood of family reunions rather than encouraging finders to bring healthy cats to shelters. At San Diego Humane Society we are proud to have a nearly 10% Return To Owner rate for cats, three times the national average.

Is That Cat Really Lost?
How can you determine if a cat is a lost pet or a cat who just spends time each day outdoors, or simply a free-roaming, community cat?

A few indicators can help you decide:

  • If you encounter a cat who is wearing a collar and tag, more than likely the cat belongs to someone in your neighborhood;
    • If you are able to, call the phone number on the tag and inquire if the cat is actually lost, or if the cat is just spending time outdoors.
  • If you meet a cat who is missing a small portion (1/4-1/2 inch) of the tip of one ear, this indicates the cat has been spayed/neutered and is a free-roaming community cat;
    • No action is necessary unless the cat appears injured, sick or in immediate danger.
  • If the cat is friendly but doesn’t have a visible form of identification or ear tip, the cat probably resides in the neighborhood and is either allowed to spend time outdoors or may, in fact, be lost.



To help reunite the animal you have found with their owner, you may search here to view animals that have been reported missing to San Diego Humane Society.