I Have Found an Animal

Good Samaritan Fostering

If you find a lost/stray animal and decide to keep them yourself, be sure you contact the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter first.  YVAS is usually the first call/stop for many owners who are missing pets, so you’ll want to file a Found Report for the shelter to keep on file.  Found Pet Reports can be filled out online, over the phone, or in-person at YVAS.  We also suggest that you bring the animal to the shelter in person so we can scan it for a microchip (done free of charge).  Lastly, we recommend posting the animal on the Lost/Found Pets of Billings MT Facebook group.  This group has over 20,000 members and is a great tool for reuniting lost animals with their owners.

Housing a stray in your home is an option as long as you’re committed to doing what’s best for the animal and can help them search for their home.  Make sure that you can keep your resident animals and small children separate from the stray animal; as it could be sick, fearful, or aggressive.

Roaming Neighborhood Cats

If you see a cat, leave it where it’s at!

While it may be concerning to see a cat(s) roaming your neighborhood, YVAS recommends leaving these cats where they are unless they appear sick, injured, or pregnant.  If the cat appears healthy, chances are that it has a home nearby.  Nationwide, less than 2% of stray cats brought to shelters are ever reunited with their owners.

We understand that free-roaming cats can cause problems; however, instead of displacing an owned cat from their family and neighborhood, here are some other options to try first:

  • Do not feed the cat for at least 48 hours – this will encourage the cat to find its way back home.  A cat in reasonable condition will not be harmed by a lack of food for this time period.
  • Paper collars – You can use these to verify if a cat is lost, abandoned, or owned.  You can find our free collar template and instructions here.
  • Find solutions for safe & effective cat deterrents for your yard and garden, like this video.

I Found a Kitten or a Litter of Kittens

Thanks for looking out for the most vulnerable animals in our community!  In most cases, kittens don’t actually need to be rescueda kitten’s best chance of survival is with her mother.  This flowchart will help you make decisions that increase kittens’ chances of thriving.  To determine the age of a kitten, click here.

Next, assess the kittens to confirm mom is providing care:

  • Are the kittens plump, clean, and warm?
    • If yes, mom knows best!  She is doing her job and likely out getting dinner.  It’s safe to leave her kittens in the nest.
    • If the kittens are six to eight weeks old, they are old enough to be spayed and neutered.  Contact YVAS at 406-294-7387 and we can make a plan!
These kittens are clean, quiet, and dry. They are plump and have full bellies with light pink coloring, showing that they are warm.

These kittens are clean, quiet, and dry. They are plump and have full bellies with light pink coloring, showing that they are warm.

  • Are the kittens skinny, dirty, cold, or noisy?
    • Mom might not be around.  Time to help her out and intervene.  Before bringing kittens inside, review this page.
    •  Do you want to foster these kittens?  Don’t worry – we’re here to help.  Visit Kitten Lady and Maddie’s Fund for resources and guidance on raising kittens.  You can also sign up to become a YVAS foster parent by clicking here.
    • If kittens appear sick or injured and you’re unable to get them care through a local veterinary clinic, call us at 406-294-7687.  Review this infographic for signs of a sick or injured kitten.
Kittens who need help may be noisy, dirty, thin, wet, and cold. You may see nasal discharge and crusted-shut eyes.

Kittens who need help may be noisy, dirty, thin, wet, and cold. You may see nasal discharge and crusted-shut eyes.

Need an Animal to be Picked Up

If you’ve found a lost/stray animal and need it to be picked up, please note that the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter does not pick up strays.

You will need to call Billings Animal Control at 406-657-8226 and make arrangements for pickup.  If you have found a lost/stray dog in Yellowstone County, call 406-256-2958.  At this time, Yellowstone County Animal Control does not pick up lost/stray cats.

If you are unable to wait for Animal Control, you can drop off the stray in person at the shelter during regular business hours.

Injured Animals

If you have found an injured animal, please call Billings Animal Control at 406-657-8226.  Animal Control contracts with local veterinarians to help injured strays.

Wild Animals

The Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter is unable to accept wild animals (i.e. wild birds, rabbits, etc.).  If you need assistance with a wild animal, we recommend that you call Billings Animal Control at 406-657-8226 or Montana Fish & Game at 406-247-2940.

Deceased Animals

If you’ve come across a deceased animal, you can call Billings Animal Control at 406-657-8226 and they will make arrangements to pick up the body.  Deceased companion animals are brought to the shelter where they are temporarily housed and scanned for microchips.  Animals’ remains are housed at the shelter for a minimum of one week.  If no owner comes forward, those remains are cremated.

Lost & Found Pets

Lost and Found Kitten