It happens to the best of us. Sometimes our pets make plans without us. If you’ve lost a pet or found a pet, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know in this guide (or here for Spanish).

If You’ve Found a Pet 

Most animals are found close to home (on average just a few houses away) and a neighbor has a MUCH higher chance of helping a pet get home than a shelter does. If you’re able to hold onto a stray pet while you look for the owner you’re upping the odds that they’ll find their family while helping shelters save space for sick and injured pets. That’s a win-win!  

There are many ways to help a pet get home. Most owners are found through microchips and social media.  

  • View pets who have been reported lost in the area here.
  • Text ‘foundatx’ to 47177.
    You will receive texts with proven tips that guide you through the family-finding process.
  • Scan for a microchip.  
    Microchips are tiny permanent IDs located under a pet’s skin, usually located at the back of their neck or by their shoulder blades. Local vet clinics and 24 hour emergency pet hospitals can scan for a microchip for free. For more information on scanning, view our how-to guide here.
  • Create a Found Report.
    Let Austin Animal Center know you’ve found a pet by creating a ‘Found Report’. The pet will be posted both on our website and The pet will stay active on our website for 14 days. The owner can contact you through or if the owner sees the photo on our website, we’ll put them in touch with you. 
  • Post on Social Media. 
    Post on Austin Lost and Found Pets Facebook, Nextdoor, and Craigslist both in ‘Pets’ and ‘Lost and Found’.  
  • During COVID, AAC is temporarily scheduling intake for healthy found pets to prevent overcrowding. If you cannot keep the pet in your home you can schedule an appointment for shelter intake here. If the animal is sick or injured or you are unable to wait for an appointment, call 311 for Animal Protection. Walk up intakes will not be accepted.

    Healthy Found Cats 

  • Around 35% of owners allow their cats to free roam, sometimes without visible identification like a collar or nametag. In Austin, it’s very common for people to let their own cats outside, or to be a caretaker to a free-roaming cat without an identifiable owner, also called a ‘community cat’. Community Cats can be friendly or adverse to people. Try the paper collar trick to see if this cat has someone looking out for it: 
  • Print thisPaper collar template 


    Found a kitten? View our guide here

    Email our Community Cats program at for more services available to you and community cats. 

If You’ve Lost a Pet  

  • View pets who have been reported found in the area here and our Found Pets Map here. Check daily!
  • Text ‘lostatx’ to 47177. 
    You will receive texts with proven tips that guide you through the pet-finding process.
  • Post on Social Media. 
    Post on Austin Lost and Found Pets Facebook, Nextdoor, PawBoost and Craigslist both in ‘Pets’ and ‘Lost and Found’.
  • Search
    Sometimes pets are taken to shelters in other areas. Visit our list of surrounding shelters here.
  • Create a Lost Report 

​​​To Reclaim Your Pet from Austin Animal Center 

  • If you have found your pet in our shelter, please call our Reclaim Hotline at 512-978-0556 or email (hotline is answered daily during business hours). 
  • Pets are held for 72 hours and then are released for adoption or transfer. Contact us ASAP! 
  • Bring proof of ownership like vet records or a photo ID of your pet to reclaim. 
  • Bring your photo ID-- we accept Driver's License, US or International passport, government or other official photo identification and Mexican Consulate cards.

Unique or Exotic Pets

Austin Animal Center takes in all types of unique pets, from tortoises to ferrets. 

If you found a unique pet and you’re unsure how to care for this animal please do not let it go. We will house the animal while we attempt to contact the owner or we will partner with an experienced rescue group to get it the care it needs. Call 311 for Animal Protection or schedule an appointment for shelter intake here. 

If you lost a unique pet, please check our online database and select ‘Other’ to search for animals other than dogs and cats. Some rescue groups do accept animals directly. If you’re not seeing your pet check in with our partners to see if someone has brought your pet to them. 



Call 311 for sick, injured, or abandoned wildlife. Our Animal Protection Officers will transfer non-critical injured wildlife to Austin Wildlife Rescue. Animal Services does not remove or relocate healthy native wildlife; call 311 for humane solutions.  

For more details on everything lost and found, view our Pet Reunification guide here.  



LostATX and FoundATX Texting Programs 


Agreement to Receive Text Messages 
By providing your mobile number, you agree that Austin Animal Center may send you text messages (including SMS and MMS). Austin Animal Center will send you up to twenty (20) messages per month. Message and data rates may apply. 

You may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP to phone number 47177. For help, send the word HELP to 47177. 

You agree to notify us of any changes to your mobile number and update your account with us to reflect this change. 

Austin Animal Center does not store your personal information for this service. Phone numbers and other information are stored by Simple Texting. Simple Texting's privacy policy can be found at

Will I be charged for the text messages I receive? 
Though Austin Animal Center will never charge you for the text messages you receive, depending on your phone plan, you may be charged by your mobile provider.