...Is this pet really lost?
We recommend that you err on the side of caution and always ASSUME a
"new" or "hanging around", or sick or injured animal IS LOST and
in need of help.. Pets
can't talk or ask for help, they absolutely rely on you to be a
kind human and help them be reunited to their home, or to get to
medical help if need be. If a cat is "hanging around, try
putting a paper collar on it with a note to see if anyone
responds, meanwhile proceed as below
Use our checklist, to help find a lost pets owner
ad with an optional free photo here on
Search our lost pets
your nearest SPCA so they can record details of the
putting up a makeshift sign outside your property (use the inside of an
old cardboard box) so that people driving or walking looking for their
pet can see your sign.
If you have found a dog, take the dog for a walk around
the neighbourhood, the owner may see you or be out be
out driving around looking for the dog
Control if you have found a healthy stray dog.
NB A stray dog must be
passed over to Animal Control or the SPCA within 48 hours, or it is
considered an offence to hold the dog any longer.
Take the pet to the vet of your choice for a free
microchip scan. If the pet is
microchipped it can be
reunited very very quickly. Did you know it's not only dogs
that can be microchipped, it's also cats, rabbits, guinea pigs,
reptiles and even birds. A chip scan is normally free
for a lost pet (but please call ahead to the vet to
check) and at the vet ask the vet or vet nurse to also
identify the sex, possible age and breed/s to help give
more information for your Petsonthenet ad.
Q: Can I just keep this pet I've found?
A: No, it's not "Finders Keepers.." this pet belongs and is loved by
another family, possibly with children who will be absolutely devastated
by the loss of their pet. Please DO NOT KEEP pets, make every effort to
reunite the pet FIRST.
To keep a found dog is stealing, the dog MUST be handed into a SPCA or
Animal Control within 48 hours. (You can express interest to then
adopt the animal if not claimed, but you will need to meet all the
shelters normal requirements such as fencing etc and an adoption fee
will apply. This often covers important vet work such as desexing and
vet checks to ensure the pet is behaviourally and physically able to be
For a cat, rabbit, turtle etc, if after AT LEAST seven days of
intensive advertising on Petsonthenet, fliers and other means, the owner
is still not found, you could consider adopting the pet, but we would
recommend you continue to advertise for a period of several weeks AND
definitely have the pet checked for a microchip at the vet (this should
be free). Try to help your children and people in your household to
understand that you are looking after the pet only until the owners can
be found. Do the right thiing. Do what YOU would want someone to do for
YOUR lost pet. And if you decide a pet is for you and the pet is
reunited, see our
Adoption ads or go to your nearest shelter or SPCA and
"Adopt and Save a Life" (Don't BUY
Q: The pet I have found is injured or sick,
what can I do?
A: Contact your local SPCA or vet urgently
Q: I've found a pet that I can't keep until
the owner is located, who can help in the meantime?
A: Phone your local vet or
for advice. For dogs call
Animal Control. Please don't take them to a pet shop
where they will be sold before the owner has a chance to
find them. If their owner does not arrive after the
seven day stray time at the SPCA, you may be able to put
your name down if you are interested in adopting the
pet, or the shelter will put the pet up for adoption if the health
and temperament of the animal are good
Q: Should I still put an ad on Petsonthenet.co.nz if
a pet I found has already been passed to another organisation
such as SPCA, vet, dog control etc?
A: Yes. This will definitely help the owner track their pet down
Q: Should I still put an ad on Petsonthenet if the
animal was dead/has since died of its injuries etc
A: Yes. Most people say the worst thing is not knowing what has
happened to their pet. Although it is distressing
to know a pet has died. It is better than never knowing and always wondering. Please put as much as a
description as possible such as colour, special markings,
size, breed etc. It helps to put where the pet was found
i.e. City, Suburb and street address etc and on what
If you come across a deceased pet (and where it is safe and practicable)
the animal should be moved to a safe place such as a grass verge away
from traffic but where a searching owner will still see the animal. If
at all possible, the animal can also be taken (in a box or similar) to
the nearest vet or SPCA. The vet or SPCA will then scan the deceased
animal for a microchip and store the remains for a period of time with
hopes the animal will be repatriated with it's owners.
If the pet was moved to a vet/SPCA, please note those
detail on your Found Pet ad. Even if you just happen to see a dead cat or dog
etc, we welcome reports of sighted deceased pets so that owners can
be repatriated with their pets remains and get some closure.
It can be helpful to take a photo of the
deceased pet to help aid potential identification later, but please
don't publish these photos on your Petsonthenet ad.
Q: What about wild cats?
A: You will need to contact your nearest SPCA
or Animal Control to
discuss the options for wild cats. Each of these in
different parts of NZ can have
different policies for managing wild cats. Their
policies can also vary depending on whether the cat/s is
healthy, sick or injured.
Q: What about wild kittens?
A: Some SPCAs or rescues will take wild kittens. Contact your nearest SPCA
for their policy on this. Injured or sick wild kittens
contact your vet or the SPCA.
Q: How can I help tame wild kittens for
A: As they wean from their mother (between four - six weeks of age)
handle the kittens as much as possible in order to tame
them. Only tame, healthy wild kittens will have a chance
at re homing. It could take a couple of weeks of
intensive handling and feeding to tame them
sufficiently. The older they are the harder it is to
tame them but remember they must be weaned or they will
not survive without their mother. (If the mother has
died, the kittens will need bottle feeding every few
hours. Begin weaning to mushy kitten food at four weeks
onwards, as well as milk. The milk should ideally be special
kitten milk from vets, rather than cows milk or they
could get the runs! Contact the SPCA
or your vet for more information.)
Take the weaned litter inside in a small room such as a
laundry. Kittens aged six weeks and up need feeding 3-4
times a day with special kitten food (from supermarkets)
and plenty of fresh water and special
kitten milk. You'll also need a shallow litter
tray and litter, or dirt or sand for the tray, which
needs cleaning at least daily
Any other questions?
Please email us at
team@petsonthenet and we'll get back to
you soon with the answer and add it to our FAQ.
If you have appreciated our advice, support and free
support us with your donation so we can continue to
reunite and rehome more pets throughout NZ. Every dollar
helps, thank you.
Feline Founder of petsonthenet.co.nz,
Sammy. Her three day disappearance in 2000 inspired the birth of PetsontheNet!
for her story).