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Cat stealing food or genuinely hungry?

(19 Posts)
tinstar Sun 12-Aug-18 20:03:54

So, we don't have a cat flap but we put our cat's food on the windowsill of a room that we're in a lot and open the window when he wants to come in and out.

We've occasionally had neighbours' cats chancing their arm and coming in for a bit of food. But for the last few weeks we've had one cat coming in pretty much whenever we open the window (our cat deals with this by turning his back on him. Highly effective. Not).

I'm worried he's a stray and genuinely hungry. DH, who is much more of a cat person than me, says cats are thieves and the reason this cat bolts so much food is because that's how they behave when they're stealing. Is that right do you think? DS's gf is sure this cat belongs to someone nearby. Intruder cat has just devoured a sachet of cat food and some biscuits and is now looking at me hopefully!

OP’s posts: |
viccat Sun 12-Aug-18 20:51:49

Make a paper collar for intruder cat with a message that reads "Am I your cat?" or similar, and your phone number. Secure with cellotape around cat's neck. If owned, you will hopefully get a phone call. If not, the cat might well be a stray and a visit to vet's for free microchip scan is in order.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 12-Aug-18 21:35:34

IME cats don't bolt food, I think that cats hungry. Do you know his owners?.

Some people go away without arranging care and think that's ok.

tinstar Sun 12-Aug-18 21:48:33

No I don't or I would just ask them. I'll try Viccat's paper collar suggestion. I suppose he could be ill or have worms making him constantly hungry.

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Fluffycloudland77 Sun 12-Aug-18 21:58:45

I would feed him in the meantime incase he's lost. It'll make it easier for you to take him to be scanned if he visits for food.

Want2beme Sun 12-Aug-18 22:10:26

IME, cats who are fed regularly, don't bolt down food or hang around waiting to be fed. I'd continue in to feed him and try to find out if he has a home and is being neglected.

hlr1987 Sun 12-Aug-18 22:23:26

It depends on the cat, some are greedy and will eat food everywhere they find it, others won't. We had a very well cared for cat next door who would eat there, come to our house and steal our cats food and then head further up the street. Generally if you feed them, they keep coming back and it can lead to cats adopting different houses. It can be a power play, the cat who eats the most and has first dibs on food is boss cat so it could be an attempt to claim your house as its territory. If you have concerns about it's health take him to a vet but he probably is just scrounging.

hlr1987 Sun 12-Aug-18 22:26:05

And yes they eat faster if there's a chance it will disappear on them...

tinstar Sun 12-Aug-18 23:06:19

Well he looks okay and is clearly bullying our cat who defers to him all the time. Our cat hates being in overnight and when I open the window on a morning he jumps up onto the window ledge, but then lets the other cat muscle past him and eat all the food. I then have to push the intruder cat out (gently) and close the window with my cat on the inside so he can get some food.

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hlr1987 Tue 14-Aug-18 14:21:15

Sounds a bit of a pain! I would just suggest trying to feed yours in a different place? If there's no food to grab the other cat will eventually get bored, it will take a while though until he gives up and I would expect him to yowl outside a lot. It's probably a good thing your cat defers, or they would be fighting each morning instead.

tinstar Fri 12-Oct-18 08:29:55

So we did the paper collar thing. It was on for about 5 days and no response so we assumed it was a stray and DH took it to the vet.

Turns out she is chipped. Vet kept the cat for the owner to collect. A few hours later cat was back at our house confused.

We don't have a cat flap but keep a downstairs window open as much as we can for our cat to come in. The 'stray' is always waiting outside for me to open up on a morning, comes in, eats, then settles down on the window ledge to sleep. She will happily stay there all day and the only way I can get her out before we shut the window at bedtime is to physically pick her up and carry her.

I don't want to leave her in overnight as I don't know if she has been treated for parasites so I don't want her to have access to the rest of the house. We have dogs which mean she doesn't try and come in further through the day but they're upstairs on a night. I can't see any evidence of fleas on her but can feel a few small scabs on her body.

We obviously can't put flea treatment on her as we could be double-dosing her. Our vet has spoken to the cat's vet who can't divulge any information and can only contact the owner on our behalf. The owner apparently doesn't speak very good English and isn't very responsive.

I'm at a loss really. I don't particularly want another cat but she's a little sweetheart. When DH took her to the vet I'd assumed she mustn't be chipped, Vet would check her over and we would keep her. But now she seems to be living with us but we can't look after her properly. Any suggestions!?

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fenneltea Fri 12-Oct-18 08:52:01

If she's being obviously neglected then I'd probably just treat for fleas anyway, if she has scabs then she likely has them and hasn't been treated.

There is a cat posted regularly in my area as a neglected stray unneutered, flea ridden and stealing food. Every time someone takes him to a vet he is claimed, and straight back in the same situation again. He also has a foreign owner and I think that their idea of ownership is just having a cat about rather than actually caring for it.

I think it might be worth offering the cat a home and seeing if the owner would surrender her? There is a voluntary organisation called Harvey's Army who will check microchip details and contact the owner, or alternatively contact the RSPCA with your concerns and see if they can help? It's tricky as she obviously has an owner, just not a very good one by the sounds of it. I'd be inclined to care for it anyway.

tinstar Fri 12-Oct-18 19:39:31

Well I've bitten the bullet and put some advocate on her neck (we lost a cat a few months ago so had some spare).

So she can stay overnight if she wants (which she always does).

That solves the problem in the short term, but in the longer term we need to make contact with her 'owner' (which we can do through our vet and hers) and see if we can transfer ownership.

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Want2beme Fri 12-Oct-18 20:56:46

So glad she's with you. Let's hope she has now found her forever homesmile

fenneltea Sat 13-Oct-18 09:19:30

Good on you tinstar, she's a lucky cat to have found you.

tinstar Sat 13-Oct-18 10:00:45

But she hasn't found her forever home yet. If her owner won't respond I won't ever be able to take her to the vet. They know she's not our cat and they would just do what they did the other day - keep her and get her owner to collect her.

They did collect her, but I don't understand why they didn't respond to or remove the paper collar I put on her. She wore it for about 5 days before we took her to the vet.

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fenneltea Sat 13-Oct-18 12:54:21

It's a tricky one, I daresay a different vet wouldn't know her history if she moved in with you, I hope her owner does the right thing by her, every animal deserves good basic care at the very least.

I wonder if it's possible she just isn't returning home for some reason, so they haven't actually seen her with the collar on? Either that or they just don't care. sad

YetAnotherSpartacus Sat 13-Oct-18 13:18:11

Is there some undercover guerilla organisation that will alter or remove chips in cases like this?

fenneltea Sat 13-Oct-18 14:16:17

The best action would be for the previous owner to surrender her to the op and then the chip can be updated legitimately; but that might not happen if her owners want to keep her. A chip isn't proof of ownership anyway.

I think I'd probably care for her and if she needs treatment then I'd just take her to a different vets, I don't think a vet would refuse to treat an animal needing care. My vets don't routinely check for a chip.

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