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I think we've been adopted by a local cat

(33 Posts)
RunningBear78 Tue 27-Aug-13 12:28:17

We have been visited in our garden by a very pretty tabby for the past year or so. Every now and then she would poke her nose into the kitchen and take a peek but then shoot off. She was always very affectionate, desperate for cuddles, and clearly never gets brushed as she constantly malts like crazy.
We've wondered for ages whether she doesn't have a cat flap, as she often meets us at the front door to walk through the house to the back garden!
In the very hot weather dh discovered her looking very hot and bothered and dehydrated in the garden, so gave her some water which she lapped up, followed by a bowl of milk, which she also devoured.
Since then, perhaps not surprisingly, she has been to visit much more regularly. I've bought a brush and regularly give her a brush so we can cuddle her without getting covered in hair. Every now and then dh gives her some milk, now she loves him smile
We have been quite worried that she doesn't seem to go home, or can't get in to her own house when she wants. She seems fed, isn't overly skinny or anything (although clearly doesn't get milk at home!)
Anyway, the past few weeks she has been sitting outside our back door meowing and looking very lonely, and quite sad when we close the door on her in the evening. This morning she was out the front and dh found her dirty and wet and meowing loudly at him as he set off for work. He had to leave her meowing on the front step. This morning when I got up, she wandered into the kitchen and lay down for a snooze. She has never been that relaxed in our house before. She's nuzzling me as I type this and purring away and seems so content (and no I haven't fed/watered her)

So, I know deep down that cats are tarts and just want food and cuddles, and will take them where they can, but this little mog seems totally starved of cuddles and grooming and as we have been giving both she seems to want to move in! We don't know who she belongs to, but we worry about her, and I don't quite know what to do now.

Is giving her cuddles and brushes and occasional milk/water a bad thing? She has a collar but not contact details ...

FairPhyllis Thu 29-Aug-13 18:05:27

I would say it's pretty normal. Some cats are very sociable and will look for company wherever they can get it. If her owners are working in the daytime she might just be looking for someone to hang out with while they are out.

I would stop giving milk as it can make some cats ill - plus I think it does count as feeding her.

I've seen quite a few threads on MN where the OPs are very distressed that a neighbour is trying to tempt their cats away by giving them milk and food etc. The neighbours usually justify it with the same kind of passive 'oh but she adopted us, what can you do' that was in some of your posts. Just saying that it would be easy to misinterpret this as you wanting to keep the cat, that's all, so best to talk to the owners.

RunningBear78 Thu 29-Aug-13 14:56:51

fairphyllis I was looking for some clues as to whether I should be worried about this cat or whether it normal happy cat behaviour to spend so much time hanging out in another house as I haven't had my own cat for a few years now. and if I should be worried, what would be a good course of action.

just to reiterate, we haven't fed her, have NEVER kept her inside - she just wanders in a lot because I regularly keep the back door open. we regularly have to make her leave, she has never left of her own choice - we have just given her milk (no more!) and water when it has been very hot, a regular brush when she visits and cuddles. most of the time she seems happy to just sleep on the kitchen floor or door mat. today she is trying to help me work on the computer smile we have no intention to keep her, or steal her or anything like that. I just wanted some reassurance about whether she was ok or whether we should investigate further.

we've decided to make efforts to find the owner and let them know that she is regularly in our garden/kitchen during in case they ever get worried about where she is.

I could often feel the chip in my cats necks. It feels likeva small grain of rice, just a tinyblittle nobble under the loose neck skin.
And your not trying to steal the cat, the cat is trying to adopt you!

Wandastartup Wed 28-Aug-13 23:46:00

Our neighbours asked us to feed their cat while they were away. They then forgot to leave a key do fed her at our house instead of theirs. We then went away for 2 weeks but within 2 minutes of us being home the cat came round to visit. Mentioned it to the neighbour after cat spent most of the weekend asleep in our play room- oh yes she probably likes your house better as you have no dog and older children.

cozietoesie Wed 28-Aug-13 23:27:00

We have no cats round about us these days. We do have a lot of foxes.

TheSilverySoothsayer Wed 28-Aug-13 23:10:53

Sadly there are few cats living near my DF in S London these days, but not so long ago there were a fair few, and this was the case since way back [old gimmer emoticon]. It was taken for granted that cats would be in and out of neighbours' houses, just in a sociable way. I had a childhood filled with cats grin, some of them even lived in our house and owned us

The collar thing sounds the way to go.

FairPhyllis Wed 28-Aug-13 08:14:15

By all means fuss her and put a note in her collar. But as there's nothing to suggest she is a stray (she has a collar and seems to be getting food somewhere else), don't feed her or keep her locked in.

What do you want from this thread? It seems like you basically want people to give you permission to take the cat because you like it, and you're justifying it in your head by saying you don't think it gets enough cuddles elsewhere hmm.

thecatneuterer Tue 27-Aug-13 23:17:48

Of course you should take her in. Yes you should take steps to find out if she has an owner, as we've suggested above, but don't leave her outside distressed and hungry in the meantime.

cozietoesie Tue 27-Aug-13 22:08:04

I'd just let her in, Bear. There are potential problems with feeding her - if she's on a special diet for instance - but my first concern would always be to keep a cat safe and close to home. You can try to find her owner tomorrow - getting her inside and safe from foxes and cars would be enough for me tonight.

RunningBear78 Tue 27-Aug-13 21:59:29

oh god, she has spent the whole evening sitting outside the back door meowing at us and peering at us through the window looking all sad. Feel evil for not letting her in, but trying to be strong for an evening.

I find her behaviour quite confusing. It doesn't seem like usual cat behaviour on the scrounge for food, when they usually trot off and entertain themselves if you aren't interested. Instead she hangs out in our garden meowing, sitting on the back door step just waiting for us to let her in. All she wants is cuddles, and to sleep on the door mat or kitchen floor. Very odd, poor puss ...or stupid us for being such softies when it comes to cats!

thecatneuterer Tue 27-Aug-13 16:26:14

Gobby ... not worth anyone's time.

The problem with all this advice to not feed, to leave well alone etc as cats like this generally have owners is that the many thousands of stray cats in the country will then go hungry. She may well have had a home but been thrown out, or got lost, and then not feeding her or giving her shelter is just unkind.

I would take her to a vet to be checked for a chip (most vets will do this for free) and the chances are the vet will also have a stock of paper collars that you can write a message on. Or you could get a normal safety collar with a barrel and write a little message on the paper in the barrel.

If you don't get any reply then I would presume she is stray.

RunningBear78 Tue 27-Aug-13 16:11:22

Thanks folks, I might put a little note on her collar letting the owners know she is hanging out at our place in case they start wondering where she is during the day/evening. If that doesn't work I'll investigate the vets and a chip, but it could be quite epic trying to take her to the vets!

It isn't like she sleeps over with us, and she is clearly going home to be fed so it isn't like we've kidnapped her!

Gobby ...nah not even worth my time biscuit

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 27-Aug-13 15:06:22

I didn't say it was. But it is an example of a much loved cat that went missing. It also demonstrates how distressing it is when that happens.

SoupDragon Tue 27-Aug-13 14:49:46

This is nothing like the story on the "missing for two years" thread. hmm

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 27-Aug-13 14:44:44

Gobby, that level of aggression isn't called for.

OP, I think the suggestion to put a note/your phone number in a collar round her neck is a good one. If there's a nice owner that will bring them out of the woodwork.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 27-Aug-13 14:42:44

I am a cat owner and think Gobby your attitude is just rude. Cats are wandering creatures...they have their own minds which is why they're so special. OP isn't locking it up! It's sociable and choosing to visit her.

I don't mind that my Siamese visits the elderly lady next door but one...he goes in through her open window and she LOVES him. She told me about his visits and you could tell how thrilled she was....she can't look after an animal full time but even if she could I wouldn't mind!

He tends to pop round to hers after his morning nap when I am busy. He sits on her lap and she gves him a sardine or two....he comes home...why would I mind ffs?

Katnisscupcake Tue 27-Aug-13 14:36:01

Definitely second taking it to a vet and finding out if there is a microchip.

My Mum has a pure white cat who liked to believe that she owned the street. Would wander up and down at a snails pace stopping all the traffic and spent her days in the fields catching (and eating - yuk) rabbits and mice.

One day a lady drove past, stopped and put her in her car because she looked sad!!!

She was gone for 9 months. It was only when the batty old witch lady took her to the vet for something and explained how she 'came across her' that the vet checked for a microchip and contacted my Mum. At the time the cat was about 13 years old.

She's back home now and at 17 years old, still going strong. My Mum was so lost without her.

Of course this doesn't relate to your situation, but cats will do ANYTHING for extra food or cuddles... Best to get it checked out.

GobbySadcase Tue 27-Aug-13 14:14:50

I've lost two cats to people like you.
Leave. The fuck. Alone.
Not yours.

volvocowgirl Tue 27-Aug-13 14:10:20

Have you thought about putting one of those tube note holders (that they use to hold ID or medication notes) on her collar with a little note in and your phone number? Any owner would notice that and respond hopefully. If no response in a month, then maybe she is homeless?

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 27-Aug-13 14:05:34

Go and read this thread

RunningBear78 Tue 27-Aug-13 14:01:26

Woooah easy there! We haven't fed her, ever, and would never do that as she doesn't look malnourished, as I said above. We didn't actively adopt her, she came to us for cuddles, even before we started giving her water, milk and anything other than a stroke in the garden.

I know she isn't a 'stray' as she has a collar, but with no id tag on. Can you feel the chips or do they need a vet to inspect? We just feel a bit sad that she just doesn't seem to get that much attention or have anywhere nice to curl up and sleep at home, where ever that might be, which is, I assume, why she likes our garden and now our kitchen floor.

Put her back outside because she isn't your cat right. helpful. thanks. We did that for a year and a half, she didn't really get the idea.

Got it, no more milk. Will also let DM know as she has been feeding her fluff balls milk for the past 30 years!

From all the cats I've known, if the owner looks after them well, loves them lots and feeds them they are unlikely to just move out. The only other cats I've know to actively adopt new families are those that don't get cuddles and are mistreated at home. Looks like we'll have to keep the back door shut and see if we can find an owner for her.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 27-Aug-13 13:21:41

Oh God, I'm on another thread at the moment about a lost cat (from the original owner's POV) and it's HEARTBREAKING.

OP, is she chipped? Get her checked for a chip by the vet. If she is then they can trace her owner.

I never feed visiting cats, or let them sit on laps/sofas etc, but I do stroke and talk to them like a loon and put down water if it's hot or they sit in the sink or start drinking out of fetid puddles. I think these are reasonable boundaries and hopefully don't encourage cats to think I've adopted them and abandon their owner.

And yes, definitely no milk.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 27-Aug-13 13:15:42

But there's nothing to suggest this cat is a stray, she's probably hanging around because she gets stuff she isn't allowed at home - milk. If she has a family somewhere they'll be heartbroken if the OP decides to adopt her.

volvocowgirl Tue 27-Aug-13 13:12:45

My cat lets herself into all the neighbour's houses if their doors or windows are open. She also looks like a right scruff half the time as she's white but like to roll round in muck and under cars.
Please make every effort to find the owner before you adopt. I'd be heartbroken if my little bundle of muck and fluff moved out :-(

cozietoesie Tue 27-Aug-13 13:08:20

Many cats have lactose intolerance. Seniorboy appears not to have and has stolen milk in the past (glasses of milk left stupidly on the floor) without apparent ill effect. (He loves fridge cold milk but he doesn't get it - water is what's left out for him.)


Is there no way you can actively find out who she notionally belongs to? I'd have no problem, given what you've described, in giving her occasional food, love and shelter but it gets more problematic if she might need vet care or longer term accommodation.

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