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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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MoonfaceAndSilky · 09/07/2017 12:53

Whatever you decide to do about the cat, please report them about the poor dog - never been for a walk in 4 years? Some people shouldn't be allowed to have pets Sad

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 12:53

I've been feeding her, I give a mixture of biscuits and wet food that the pet shop recommended.

Blush I may have also sneaked her titbits of roast chicken and dh's poached salmon when she does her now trademark giant black eyes and pitiful mewl.

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Nikephorus · 09/07/2017 12:54

FFS the FIRST thing you should have done was pop to the vet to check for a chip! Not have a wander round town looking at posters or talking to a couple of neighbours. There may well be a really anxious owner panicking about the fate of that cat. And even it comes from the house with a thousand chickens so what? That doesn't mean it wouldn't be loved and cared for.
Don't keep someone else's cat! Angry

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ShizeItsWeegie · 09/07/2017 12:56

When you take her to the vet, if she has a microchip the vet can call the central database and get the address. Ask them to give you the address and you will sort it. The vet won't take the cat off you as they do not have that right. Cats are not owned in law or rather it is a grey area. A microchip is not a sign of ownership even in dogs (which are owned and can be seen as a possession or chattel). In your shoes I would just make the cat at home at yours. There's a very good reason why she is at yours and not elsewhere, poor little soul.

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LeakyLittleBoat · 09/07/2017 12:58

If she does turn out to belong to some loving home and they want her back, well, you're going to end up with an unused cat box, litter and food so, you know, what you were saying about the heartbreaking number of kittens and cats with nowhere to go at the cat shelter - you know where I'm going with this?
OP, I really hope you get to keep her, you sound like a truly lovely person any cat would give its 9 lives to live with but if you don't, please consider getting one of those shelter cats.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 13:00

I don't usually feed cats as I know they are most likely the neighbours (and opportunistic little buggers) but on the occasion dd has they usually hang round for half an hour and then disappear.

Despite previously roaming the estate this one hasn't left our garden or house since I first noticed it appeared to be living in our outhouse, got worried about her getting thinner and fed her.

I'm definitely not holding her hostage, the door stays open all day every day and most of the night.

Another neighbour did report them about the dog, he told dh round the shop. Apparently the rspca said that unless the animal was visibly ill or injured they didn't consider it to be neglected. Even if it did never go for a walk.

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lottieandmia · 09/07/2017 13:02

This is why I'm glad I have house cats tbh.

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Garnethair · 09/07/2017 13:03

Can I share my recent stray cat story? My cat went missing in early spring. He was in good health and had very regular habits, liked his dinner bang on time, never went far etc. So when he didn't come home one night I feared the worst. We scoured the area, reported him missing, circulated his poster etc.

Nothing. Three months went past and we got rid of his bowls and the cat flap as we couldn't bear to ever own another cat. Then one night a lady called and said she had been feeding my cat at night, he was in bad shape, but she had searched online and found his poster. She couldn't get near enough to catch him as he had gone feral. She rang at midnight and said he had turned up and we drove to her house. This was over a mile from our house. No idea what his story was for the three months he was missing or how he ended up so far away.

Anyway, he's home now, growing stronger and eating well. I can't thank his rescuer enough. Please take the cat to the vet and get him scanned OP.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 13:03

LeakyLittleBoat yes we've discussed that. At fist we said we could donate the ton of unused cat things to a shelter.

But now I think we'll all be pining if she goes, she's definitely neatly inserted herself into our lives. We will definitely be looking in adoption ourselves if that's the case.

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lottieandmia · 09/07/2017 13:03

I think I'm the OP's case she is simply looking after an animal whose owners have not. UNLESS of course this is a cat who has got lost and therefore hasn't been able to find her home & food.

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tabulahrasa · 09/07/2017 13:05

Get her checked for a chip, if she belongs to that house and it's as bad as you suspect it is, she'll be back at yours under her own steam anyway.

But she's might be lost from somewhere a bit further away and be much loved and missed Sad

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MaMisled · 09/07/2017 13:06

As the loving owner of a very skinny and affectionate cat who has been missing for 11 days now......please don't feed the cat until you've tried every which way to track down its owner. My cat bulks up in the colder months but in the summer she chooses not to eat much.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 13:10

I will be calling the vet in the morning, definitely going to take her and get her checked over etc.

Still debating what to do if she turns out to be the neighbours.

If they don't reply to my letter or knocks can I 'officially' keep her or would that still be wrong?

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 13:13

She wasn't just getting skinnier she seemed to be getting increasingly desperate to get into the house. Especially at night.

As I said I don't feed cats as a general rule. CakeCat is something different, I could tell.

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sadmum2017 · 09/07/2017 13:14

Well our neighbour (a mile or so away) had been feeding our cat for weeks. He's fond of his food is a greedy shit and had kept going back as part of his daily routine. Not all wandering cats are lost or homeless. I'm not suggesting the OP should ignore or chase the cat, but endeavour to find its owner and not make assumptions about where it comes from.

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 13:18

That's what I mean.

She wasn't doing the usual of following a daily routine and turning up at certain times. She wasn't leaving.

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ShizeItsWeegie · 09/07/2017 14:02

I would keep her. You are already keeping her thankfully. Let her decide. OP you are making the assumption that you have some say here! She luffs you now. You luffs her. Let it be

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mistlethrush · 09/07/2017 14:07

A friend's cat moved out after about 3 years and went to live with a neighbour. She cam back about 6 years later and lived out her days back in her original home.

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SparklyMagpie · 09/07/2017 14:08

Get her checked an if it turns out its your neighbours, i'd keep her. Looks like she's settled in and made that choice for you OP

Sounds like she or he is very loved an taken care for Grin fingers crossed

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Cakeahoy · 09/07/2017 20:50

Still can't get hold of the neighbours. God knows why, I can hear them in the garden, we are in terraces Grin

CakeCat is curled up on my lap purring away.

Bit choked up about taking her the vets tomorrow. I'm blaming the wine.

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TamzinGrey · 09/07/2017 22:12

I work at an RSPCA cat rescue centre. All of our cats are chipped and remain registered to us so that we can keep an eye on them. We take them straight back into our care if there is any cause for concern after they've been rehomed. We always do home checks and we are extremely fussy, so I can't imagine that the home that you've described would have been approved. We would never ever home a "skinny" cat. We will allow poorly cats to be fostered, but for adoption they have to be in peak condition.

Please get her scanned. If she's a rescue cat she will have a chip. If she's an RSPCA rescue cat there is no way that they'll allow her to return to the home that you've described.

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Chops2016 · 09/07/2017 22:41

I really wish people wouldn't feed other people's cats. I know they mean well but you don't know the cats history or medical problems and it can end up in disaster.

I had a beautiful tabby for 15 years, the last few years of which she became quite ill and had to be given laxative mixed in to every meal otherwise she would get so constipated she needed to be put under anaesthetic and have a full enema. A "kind" neighbour kept feeding her biscuits which inevitably ended up with a vets visit (to the tune of 175 quid) and a very poorly kitty every few weeks. I asked the neighbour to please stop feeding her and she did stop for a while, but then started again. In the end she had to be put down because it was happening so frequently she had no quality of life and we physically couldn't afford the vets bills any more.

Please please don't feed other people's cats 😔

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counterpoint · 09/07/2017 23:06

Maybe don't post a picture of the cat with the note. Just say you have a cat and see if their description will match your cat.

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Wolfiefan · 09/07/2017 23:12

Our old girl was skinny. Because she had a medical condition. If you took her in and fed her you would have killed her.
Put a paper collar on with a note. Scan for chip. Don't just take in a random cat and start feeding it.

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kali110 · 09/07/2017 23:17

It may not even be that persons cat!
We lost our cat and we were distraught.
He looked as though he weren't cared about, ( very thin) in actual fact he has a medical condition And is a very old cat.
I would hate if a person had found him and decided to keep him.

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