If you find an injured, stray cat outside, then a kind thing to do is to take the cat to a local pet clinic. Most pet clinics will provide care for strays, but it's wise to know what to expect throughout the process. Here are the key things worth knowing.
1. You'll generally be expected to pay for the service.
Customers are often surprised to learn that when they bring a stray cat to the vet, they are expected to pay for services rendered. The cat may not technically be yours, but since you are the human bringing it to the vet, you are considered the customer and will be charged as such. That being said, it's worth telling the vet that the cat is a stray and asking whether they have any assistance programs available. Some vet clinics have emergency funds and donor funds that they can draw from to provide care for strays. Just keep in mind this is not always the case. If you bring a stray to the vet, you should expect to pay.
2. The vet will likely want to test for feline diseases.
There are a lot of diseases that are rampant in the feral cat population. Feline leukemia and feline herpes virus are two of them. Most vets will want to test stray cats for these diseases when you bring them in. The results of the tests will help guide their treatment recommendations. Plus, knowing whether the cat has one of these contagious diseases will help the vet decide whether or not it is safe for the stray to interact with other cats.
3. The vet can help you explore adoption options.
If you want to keep the stray cat, then that's great! But if you cannot have a cat, the vet is a great person to ask about adoption and rescue resources. Most vet clinics cannot take in strays themselves, but they often have relationships with rescues that can help.
4. You may be advised to euthanize the cat.
Be prepared for the possibility that the vet may recommend euthanasia. Some stray cats have multiple contagious diseases and are simply unlikely to recover without treatment. Or, treatment may cost more than you're able to spend. It will ultimately be up to you whether or not you opt for euthanasia, but don't be shocked if the vet suggests it.
Now you should have a better idea of what to expect if you take a stray cat to a pet clinic. Don't be afraid to ask the vet or their staff any questions you might have.