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AIBU?

To keep someone else's cat?

165 replies

Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 10:18

Or not. I don't know what to do honestly and I'm posting here for traffic.

For the last few weeks there has been a very skinny and timid cat darting into ours and the neighbours house, I'm assuming looking for food.

I didn't feed it, told the dc's that it most likely had an owner and cats are like that.

However I got increasingly concerned when I realised she appeared to be living in our outhouse, and she was getting thinner and more desperate to get in the house.

I asked around the neighbours I could get hold of but no one had any idea whose she was. I checked lost cats posters etc. and she matched none of those I could find in our town.

I went out to get some cat stuff/food and started to feed her.

She hasn't really left since. She's either sunning herself in the garden, rubbing herself around the dc's legs and lying on her back in the living room for her tummy to be tickled. Honestly, she's more like a dog than a cat Grin

We appeared to have adopted an adorable cat without even really meaning to. So yesterday we bought some cat litter/tray and cat bed, toys, scratching post etc. Even talked about getting a new door so we could have a cat flap added.

Then a young boy from the estate told dd yesterday dinner time that he knew the daughter of a couple who are two doors down. He said they had had a skinny black female rescue cat from the RSPCA a couple of months ago.

Now I don't know this couple very well at all. They have been there for a few years but our only interaction has been the wife screaming at my dm to move her fucking car because her moving van couldn't park directly front of her house. And the smell of some strong weed that the dad is very fond of constantly blowing over.

They have a dog that's has never been out for a walk in the four years they've been there that I know of (disabled so I'm here all the time) and sits in their front window barking all day.

They have about twenty (not an exaggeration) chickens in the garden in a pen. It's not a large garden.

So true enough, I'm not predisposed to being fond of them, but I hated the idea of a young girl missing her cat so went round with a picture of Kitty Softpaws according to Puss in aboots mad dd our stolen cat.

I haven't had any answer, though I can see they are in. I tried looking at the back of their house last night to see if there were any lights on but there weren't when I looked.

I'm going to have to return her aren't I? If I take her to the vets she'll probably be microtagged and they can call them.

I don't want to though. I keep thinking about how she seemed to be getting skinnier and more desperate and how content (and less skinny) she looks now.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 12:25

No we certainly haven't left her shut in.

I had to close the door last night as it was 2am and she wouldn't come outside. I also couldn't get hold of neighbours. This morning she was curled up in the cat box and had used the litter tray.

During the day I leave the door open so she can come and go as she pleases. I've never noticed her leaving our garden though. She used to roam the estate and try to get in other people's houses.

She's still in the garden curled up next to the dc in the shade.

I've tried calling over the garden when I thought I saw the husband outside but no answer.

For now we are just going to have Sunday Dinner (I'm sure they'll be lots of chicken left over she can steal Grin) and figure out exactly what to do tomorrow.

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IrritatedUser1960 · 09/07/2017 12:26

Keep the cat, I very much doubt she has been microchipped. Take her to a vet far far away and give a false name just in case.

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LeakyLittleBoat · 09/07/2017 12:27

i wouldn't contact or ask your neighbours about her until you've checked for a chip, just take her to a local vet. If she does turn out to be theirs I'd still wouldn't say anything, you're not 'keeping' the cat away from them, you're just not chasing it away when it chooses to visit you and enjoy your hospitality are you? If they say anything you don't mention cat litters or food bowls, you just laugh and say "oh yeah, she seems to like our garden, we don't mind her coming in to sunbathe, she's no trouble."

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 12:29

We will definitely check her microchip when we can get in at the vets if I don't get a reply to my letter to the neighbours.

Another neighbour has been round and said it definitely looks like the cat the other family adopted a while ago, though he hasn't seen it in their window for a few weeks (corresponding with it moving not our outhouse)

Dh says he hopes if it does have to be taken away that it's to a loving home and not to them.

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MikeUniformMike · 09/07/2017 12:30

You would be able to feel the chip when you stroke the cat.
Rspca/cat rescue would have vetted prospective owners before rehoming. They are v fussy.
Cat will stay at yours now even if you take it back. Leave well alone. Cakecat is now yours.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 12:31

Oh right so I should check microchip first?

If it is my neighbours microchip won't the vets keep her and return her?

Or would they let me take her back to our street?

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sadmum2017 · 09/07/2017 12:31

Unfortunately, you don't get to decide whether this cat had a loving home, because you really don't know. I would probably keep it and continue to make efforts to find out it it belongs to someone, as you have been doing. Approach local vets, CP and RSPCA.

I have had an awful experience with my cat going missing and being 'adopted' by someone else. This person had received one of the many fliers we posted through letter boxes, but decided she liked him so much she'd just keep him as a house cat. Eventually her partner phoned us to say that our cat was with them. He was microchipped, but unfortunately that is not proof of ownership believe it or not. Cats are free roaming and don't really belong to anyone. I would hate to think of children missing that cat as much as I missed mine.

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CoolCarrie · 09/07/2017 12:32

Cats choose their owners, so let her come and go as she likes, as you are doing now, the cat knows who cares for her.

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LeakyLittleBoat · 09/07/2017 12:38

If the vet tells you the cat belongs to your neighbours you simply apologise for bothering him and say you'll take the cat back since you're going back there anyway, if it turns out to belong to someone else you could offer to care for it until they come to collect it and if it has no chip then you tell him you're keeping it, have him microchip, vaccinate and arrange to spay if necessary.

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dollydaydream114 · 09/07/2017 12:38

You do need to get her microchip checked - she might not be the cat the people over the road adopted at all. She could belong to someone else who is desperately missing her.

The RSPCA don't generally rehome animals that are very underweight - they feed them up until they're healthier before they find them homes.

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llangennith · 09/07/2017 12:39

Cats decide where they want to live. Keep feeding it and caring for it. I became the carer of a cat whose owners were emigrating to Australia four years ago. Within a week the cat moved in with a family at the end of the road. They came and told me and asked if I wanted her back. I said since she seemed to prefer their home to move they should keep her. You can't force a cat to stay somewhere. It's your cat now.

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IloveBanff · 09/07/2017 12:40

You need to make sure she is spayed if she isn't already too. You sound wonderful OP. Lucky cat to have found you and your family. Flowers

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lottieandmia · 09/07/2017 12:40

'Cats are free roaming and don't really belong to anyone.'

This is not true, cats definitely do belong to their owner - I believe there is legislation to back this up.

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MikeUniformMike · 09/07/2017 12:40

I'd be gutted if CharlieAlphaTango went to live elsewhere or was abducted.
He is unlikely to go of his own accord as he has trained me very well.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 12:41

If it is those neighbours I think I can safely say, if nothing else, that the home seems to be very chaotic. Though of course I don't know them well, only really from observation, and i could be completely wrong.

But it's a noisy screaming slanging matches every night house that has a lot of animals and I'm surprised that they were okayed for an adopted animal (I thought they needed a bit extra stability, quiet etc.)

I won't lie. I wouldn't like her to be shut in there.

Luckily it's not up to me Grin considering that I'm currently wearing a fur, purring, necklace I assume CakeCat is capable of choosing herself if that's the case.

If she isn't the skinny rescue cat (I've not seen another that would match her description) then I accept it's out of my hands if it turns out she was lost from further away and she'll have to go back.

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sadmum2017 · 09/07/2017 12:43

lottie If you can't prove you own a cat how is it enforceable? This is what Cats Protection told me when I contacted them after my cat was essentially stolen and kept inside someone else's home.

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MikeUniformMike · 09/07/2017 12:44

Keep her. Do you have a photo and name?

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lottieandmia · 09/07/2017 12:44

'Cats are regarded in law as the ‘property’ of their owner. The theft of a cat is treated as an offence under the Act, in the same way as theft of any other property is.

A cat that is lost or has strayed is generally regarded as the property of the original owner. It is therefore necessary to make all reasonable endeavours to locate the original owner whenever possible.'
This is from the CPL.

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lottieandmia · 09/07/2017 12:46

Surely it's enforceable if the cat is chipped? I really don't think the OP is doing anything wrong taking care of this cat though.

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ClaireSunflower · 09/07/2017 12:46

I would just start feeding the cat. If she is obviously hungry and you are happy to do it she will probably just move in with you of her own accord. If cats aren't happy where they are they tend to rehome themselves quite easily. I acquired a lovely elderly cat this way, no idea where he came from but turned up at my house hungry and we fed him and he never left! He passed away last year after 10 years with us.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 12:48

Fingers crossed for no microchip then! And definitely will check she is spayed. It was heartbreaking listening to the woman from the local cat centre. I hadn't realised there were so many kittens and cats out there with nowhere to go and more and more added everyday.

Second preference would be a lovely home that she got lost from, though I think that's unlikely given the coincidence of her being adopted, terrorising the neighbours and moving into our outhouse. But it's a possibility.

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hildasmuriel · 09/07/2017 12:49

Please get her checked for a chip. You have no idea if it their's or not and it may be someone's loved pet. If no chip you should put a paper collar in. Lots of cats do the rounds if they know they get fed. Put the collar with your details on and then if it's going home they can let you know.

I have a very skinny black cat who eats like a horse, I'd hate somebody to assume she was neglected and that they could keep her just because she's skinny sand greedy.

If she does turn out to be the neighbour's then chances are she will carry on coming to you anyway if you wish to feed her.

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ethelfleda · 09/07/2017 12:51

This is how we ended up with our cat too - well the skinny and wandering in to the garden and never leaving part. There is a whole story about her on here (thread is called 'to adopt a cat halfway through a pregnancy') and I have just put a pic of her on it as I brought her home for good half an hour ago Smile
I'm a fan of whatever is best for the animal. Definitely get her checker for a chip etc but if she is happier with you then she should stay.

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sadmum2017 · 09/07/2017 12:53

I understand that a cat is classed as a possession. I have probably not been clear, but the problem is how to prove ownership and actually get the cat back. CP advised me that a microchip was not proof of ownership - which absolutely astounded me! There is a big difference between someone breaking into your house and stealing your prize Persians from your home, and someone holding onto a cat which has strayed onto their property to nosy in their windows. Which was what happened to me.

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MikeUniformMike · 09/07/2017 12:53

I'm not sure how you tell if a cat has been spayed. If she is staying, you should get it done. cats also need jabs so you'll be taking her to the vets anyway.

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