Accidental stolen kitten - return or not?

(29 Posts)
Yumdoritos Sat 10-Sep-16 02:22:30

Bit of a weird one -

I was visiting my friend abroad, he lives in a small town. We were in the park there and a tiny kitten ran up to us, rubbing itself on our legs and playing around us. It had no collar on and looked really young, maybe 3-4 months, they shouldn't be outside at that age?

Anyway it was running around without a care in the world, could have easily run into the road as it had no road sense and was super confident and friendly. We took it to the vet to check for a chip. It didn't have one, but it had bad fleas. Wasn't neutered and the vet said it wouldn't have been vaccinated either, so assumed it was a stray

We paid for flea treatment and worm treatment, and unsure what to do with it (there are no shelters nearby) got it microchipped to my friends details and planned to keep it as a house cat. Took it home, fed it, it ate LOADS. We named it and understandably got attached to it.

I am back home now in a different country, but my friend said that today there were missing kitten signs around the town.... describing the kitten and saying it hadn't returned from being let outside

Should my friend keep the kitten or give it back to its 'neglectful' old owner? He paid for its medicine (flea and worm) and chipped it to himself. It was outdoors unvaccinated, unchipped, unneutered, and at way too young of an age (3/4 months) AND covered in fleas, I'm not sure that the kitten should be given back to an irresponsible home like that, but we both feel guilty for accidentally stealing it. What's the right thing to do?confused

PovertyPain Sat 10-Sep-16 02:34:36

I was coming on here to give you a bollocking, but the fleas thing would defiantly concern me. Kittens that young can get very ill, very quickly as a result of fleas. Kittens should be vaccinated between 9-12 months, but how do you know it wasn't vaccinated, or did you just assume? It is two young to be outside as it runs the risk of being attacked by a Tom, and possibibly killed.

I think the fact that a sign is up, suggests that someone does love it. Oh, bugger, I don't know! confused

CatThiefKeith Sat 10-Sep-16 02:38:39

I'm probably not the best person to give advice in this situation 😂

KoalaDownUnder Sat 10-Sep-16 02:50:46

^ grin Keith

RubbishMantra Sat 10-Sep-16 04:12:58

One of my DSis lives in a foreign country. Chipping is not the norm, and all her dogs have been semi-street dogs that she adopted.

I'm a cat person (hence being a Lady of the Litter) and I wouldn't let a kitten roam free at 3 - 4 months - that's teeny tiny! Kittens shouldn't be allowed to roam until weeks after neutering, and only then under supervision to begin with.

I can see your dilemma though....

MephistoMarley Sat 10-Sep-16 04:24:11

3/4 months isn't too young to go outside is it? confused

WatchingFromTheWings Sat 10-Sep-16 04:48:08

I think more should have been done to find the owner before claiming it for himself. The kitten should go back....if there's posters everywhere it's only a matter of time before someone realises.

Yumdoritos Sat 10-Sep-16 09:33:13

Chipping is common in the country this happened in so I am surprised it wasn't chipped.

I thought cats should be 6 months+ to go outside, and obviously be vaccinated/neutered/chipped before that. The fact the owner seemed so ignorant to taking care of the kitten properly makes my friend reluctant to give it back. It's the vet who suggested it was stray and who said it wouldn't have been vaccinated. If it was vaccinated the vaccine wouldn't have kicked in yet so it shouldn't have been outdoors (vet said first vaccine at 12/13 weeks, then wait 2 weeks, do the second one, 2 weeks after that the cat is properly protected, but the cat seems too young for this to have happened)

We couldn't have just ignored it when it was wondering around so small and had fleas, obviously didn't want to pay for its treatment and then just give it away to somebody else which is why it was chipped to my friend and then kept

If friend keeps it there's no way anyone would know. Wanted to keep it as house cat and he lives in a top floor apartment

Yumdoritos Sat 10-Sep-16 09:35:59

If friend gives it back to the owner, what guarantees that the owner isn't gonna just put it outside again without all the required protection etc? The vet reckoned it had fleas for some time so don't know how the old owner didn't realise and get it treated. The poor cat could just end up in the same situation all over again if it's given back

BluishSky Sat 10-Sep-16 12:13:04

In the situation - taking all as true, I would be tempted to keep. But round us the attitude seems too be that cats can look after themselves, but most don't seem to thrive on that sad

I'm not sure what the law would say...

Soubriquet Sat 10-Sep-16 12:15:47

Is it an easily identifiable cat?

Could it have been a different kitten the owner was looking for?

Yumdoritos Sat 10-Sep-16 13:12:41

The kitten is full black, there was a picture on the poster of it and described as the same age so pretty sure it's the same one as it is only a small town.

Now it is microchipped to my friend and he paid for that and all flea/worm treatment it needed (around £80 total), I am not sure what the law would say - but as I said nobody would ever know my friend has it unless he told them since he lives in a top floor apartment.

We are just feeling bad after seeing the posters but the kitten didn't seem like it's last owner was very responsible or took care of it... Obviously it is also super cute and we love it already, it follows my friend (and me when I was there) around everywhere and always wants attention.. it suckles on my friends clothes and does the grabby thing with its paws like it's trying to get milk. Soooo adorable!

My friend had it for about a week by now, the posters were only put up 2 days ago. Friend wants to keep it but isn't sure what's right which is why I wrote here wondering what other people think

FuzzyWizard Sat 10-Sep-16 13:30:49

I'm a bit confused. Did your friend get it microchipped to him on the same day that he found the kitten? Without any attempt to find the owners beyond getting it scanned at the vet? If that's the case then IMO the cat should be returned to its owners. They probably haven't had it very long at all if it's still very little and may well have been planning to get it microchipped. Your friend shouldn't have spent money he resents the loss of on an animal he had only found that day and clearly belonged to someone else. The fact that it was super confident and friendly was a huge clue that someone loved and cared for it.

PovertyPain Sat 10-Sep-16 13:39:47

If it suckles on clothes (known as pica) then it sounds like it was taken away from it's mum too early. Poor wee thing. I wonder was it got on impulse but the owner hasn't made any effort to learn about cats? As a cat and dog obsessed person I would normally tell a person to give a cat back, but it sounds as if this kitten might be better in your friend's care. Maybe the owners will be more responsible if they get another kitten.

WeirdAndPissedOff Sat 10-Sep-16 13:46:01

It's a difficult one.
In the UK a kitten could be fully vaccinated at 13 weeks of age, and many vets suggest microchipping whilst the kitten is being neutered. Ours also wouldn't keep a collar on.
Of course a small kitten like that shouldn't usually be outside by itself, especially if not chipped or neutered yet, but technically if the kitten is vaccinated and male, it could be seen as ok to go outside.

So the situation you describe could just be a clueless/thoughtless owner rather than a neglectful one, and it does sound as though they are missing the kitten!
Plus if you don't get in touch, they are likely to assume the worst has happened - I know I'd be heartbroken in that situation!

However the fleas and the age would bother me too. And I could see how your friend would be unhappy parting with kitten, especially after paying so much.

Ideally you should have put up some "found" posters nearby whilst looking after the kitten, or tried to make sure it had no owner before keeping it.

I would contact the owner, I think.

Yumdoritos Sat 10-Sep-16 21:52:40

Yes it was chipped on the same day at the vets recommendation because he said it looked like a stray due to the amount of fleas and how thin it was, but suggested someone may have been feeding it. There's no shelter nearby and understandably my friend didn't want to pay for flea and worm treatment to just give the cat to a shelter anyway, so he got it all done with the plan of keeping the kitten after what the vet had said. It was a week after this that we saw the posters

allsfairinlove Sat 10-Sep-16 22:09:24

This is a really tricky one.

You hear a lot (on this site too) about instances where flea treatment doesn't work. So it is possible that the owner wasn't actually being negligent but that the treatment simply hadn't worked.

Difficult decision to make. Feel sorry for your friend flowers

sparkleglitterdaisy Sat 10-Sep-16 22:22:20

3-4 months is far too early to go outside . To be honest I think he should probably just keep the cat , sounds like the cat has a really good & loving home now . If you hadn't of taken it then it may well have been killed by another animal or tom cat or run over by a car .

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 10-Sep-16 22:31:43

I'd just keep it. Who the fuck lets young kittens roam like that?.

YelloDraw Sun 11-Sep-16 12:06:41

3/4 months isn't too young to go outside is it?

I thought 6 months+ was the recommended time once they have had all their vacs?

RoastChickenDinner Tue 13-Sep-16 17:41:26

It sounds as though you've made up your mind and just want us to endorse that you are right. The fleas are worrying, but it is possible that it escaped rather than was let out. In Scotland this would be classed as Theft by finding...

Fraggleyourock Thu 15-Sep-16 14:58:34

What did your friend end up doing, yum? What a tough situation to have been in. I really wouldn't know what to do for the best. I suppose if your friend feels as though the kitten will be better looked after there, then that would probably be the way to go. Hard to know without really knowing the potential original owners situation...

Yumdoritos Thu 15-Sep-16 17:38:32

So far he has kept it and is attached to it but he still isn't sure what to do. I thought of maybe calling the number on the poster anonymously and vaguely explaining the situation or just saying that he saw someone with the cat? Just so the owner doesn't think it's dead or injured, but that might make it worse or they could get the police involved etc so it seems too messy to actually do? But seemed a nice idea in my head!

I think he will end up keeping it. If it was 3-4 months then my friend has probably had it for now almost as long as the old owners did, still feel bad though!

allsfairinlove Thu 15-Sep-16 21:26:34

Don't feel bad. Ignore my previous (and maybe others) voicing a bit of concern regarding ownership...the kitten is LOVED. Nuff said.

steppemum Thu 15-Sep-16 21:39:26

hmm. I remember my female kitten, she was 5 months old, had been vaccinated, but not yet neutered or chipped. No collar because she was still indoors. She came into season and got out of the door when she was at the other end of the flat 2 seconds ago and disappeared.

When she turned up 24 hours later (with a smug look on her face the little floosy) I took her to the vet and got her neutered. But if you had found her in that 24 hours....

It is only the bad fleas that make me think you may have a moral point. Everything elses I think is pretty normal - it may have had first vaccination, it may have been going to get neutered and chipped at 5-6 months (recommended age when current steppe cat was done) etc.

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