We live in a quiet family type town without much in the way of stray cats. I almost never see one.
Anyway, I accidentally adopted a cat that appeared in our yard by being friendly and offering food. I never planned to make any real effort to catch it, but turns out that being friendly and offering food was all it took. (Well, I did initially trick her into the house or she never would have went.) Since that was a pretty clear indication to me she wasnt a feral, we did make some modest efforts to find an owner, asking the immediate neighbors and posting on the town forum (which admittedly not many read). We didnt try too hard, because it seemed she had been out on her own a bit . . . she was super hungry, accidentally biting and drawing blood from my hand when I put food on it, and gobbling down what we gave her. She also looked a bit thin (not skin and bones though...she looked ok).
Took her to the vet yesterday . . . turns out she is a 3 year old already spayed female, no microchip.
We did have her inside a week before letting her be an indoor/outdoor cat (which she has been for 3 weeks or so), so arguably we might have confused her sense of direction. That said, she really looks like she gained two pounds in a month with us, and a week isnt that long for a 3 year old cat that knows how to and wants to go to its home. She clearly isnt looking to go anywhere, we can generally find her near the house if we are inclined to look for her, and she is commonly in calling range. So I think she was lost or abandonded, and probably not from super-nearby or she would just stroll home.
I feel a little bad, but I probably shouldnt right?