It happens to the best of us–when trapping or in day-to-day life, we come across a little social kitty who just wants to be friends. If you have the time and resources, there are lots of ways you can help this sweet cat!
A friendly stray cat may not be “homeless” at all – she could be someone’s pet who’s wandered away, so the first step is to try and find the cat’s home. If it turns out that she doesn’t have a home and you want to care for her as a foster kitty, we also have tons of tips on how to adopt her out, including ways to advertise to potential families, and how to find the best fit once people start responding.
Occasionally, you may come across a community cat who isn’t feral, but who’s scared and not acting completely open to being near people. We have tips for helping her feel at ease in our how to soothe a stray guide.
It’s important to know that if you don’t feel like you have the time and resources to take in a friendly cat, that’s OK. In that case, though, it really is best to leave her where she is after Trap-Neuter-Return. We strongly advise against taking the cat to the shelter, where even if she is friendly to people and could be adopted, she still faces a very high likelihood of being killed there (about 70% of cats that come into animal pounds and shelters are killed). What’s more, cats who are lost from home have a more than 13 times better chance of being reunited with their owners without the shelter than through a shelter. More than 60% of cats who are lost go home on their own. So if you can’t take in the kitty right now, don’t feel badly! She will be OK on her own outdoors. Providing food and shelter will help keep her in the area so if the perfect person comes along to adopt her, you’ll know where she’ll be.
 The National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy, The Shelter Statistics Survey, 1994–97, https://faunalytics.org/feature-article/the-shelter-statistics-survey-1994-1997/
 Lord, L.K., et al., Search and identification methods that owners use to find a lost dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc, 2007. 230(2): p. 211-6.