VCA MacArthur Animal Hospital
Published: Jan 11, 2013

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Stray cats are not uncommon, and it can be heartbreaking to see a feline trying to live on his own. However, before you decide to take it upon yourself to raise a stray animal, you need to consider the safety of yourself, your family and the feline you are trying to help. Here are some things to keep in mind when making this decision.

Assessing the cat's behavior
Some stray cats may be eager to accept a human companion while others may prefer life on their own. If you find that a stray cat continually seeks you out for attention or affection, then you may want to consider adopting the animal. However, if the cat seems to be afraid of humans, or shows cat behavior problems like aggression, then you should think twice about bringing him into your home. This doesn't mean you have to let the cat fend for himself on the street - instead, you can alert animal control or a nearby animal shelter, and allow a professional to address the issue.

Adopting a stray cat
Speak to a veterinarian about adopting a stray cat before you decide to bring one into your home. The vet may be able to give you advice on how to go about introducing the cat to your home, or he or she might tell you to leave the cat alone or call an animal shelter. In any event, it's important to listen to your vet's suggestions, as he or she is medically trained to deal with felines, be they domesticated or stray.

If you do decide to bring a stray cat into your home, your first plan of action should be to take the animal to a vet hospital for a full checkup. There, a professional can check for cat fleas, ringworm in cats or any other illness the animal may have picked up while living on the streets. This is also a good time to talk about neutering or spaying a cat, as doing so could help cut down on the overpopulation of felines.

If you decide that raising a stray cat isn't a good choice but would still like to care for a pet, then you should consider adopting one from a local pet shelter. There are plenty of felines in need of a good home, and a cat who's been in an animal care facility will likely be quicker to adapt to a domestic lifestyle.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately.  If it is after hours, please contact one of the following nearby emergency care clinics:

VCA Alexandria Animal Emergency 703-751-2022

VCA VRA, 301-926-3300

VCA Southpaws,703-752-9100

Please request the emergency hospital send us a report so we may follow up with you the next day.