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Discussion Starter #1
There is a male tabby who's been hanging around for several months. He's not fixed and I think he's a stray, not a feral; however he's the most skittish cat I've ever seen around people. He won't eat even if it's left out so he's either a good hunter or getting fed somewhere else. He does seem to sleep here though. Mostly in the "transit barracks" out back or sometimes in the rafters of the garage. He causes no problems and gets along well with the other ferals who are living in the garage.

Here's the issue: A few months ago woman was canvasing the neighborhood on behalf of some guy in the next block. He had a grey tabby (Dumar) who had escaped the house and they wanted him back. No collar, no chip, no picture.

I THINK that my mystery cat MAY be Dumar since he started coming around about then. I'm going to trap him, but I'm not sure what to do after that. Choice A would be to contact the people who were looking for a cat to see if it is their cat. In that case I wouldn't have him fixed and ear-tipped.

HOWEVER, it appears that the cat (if it is Dumar) doesn't want to go back since the house is only in the next block. There are some relatively weird families in that block and maybe he ran for a reason. In that case, I wouldn't say anything, I'd have him fixed, tipped, released and he'd be free to join my happy little group or not. If/when he went back home, he'd go back fixed and tipped.

I'm more interested in the ethical/moral issues (well-being of the cat). The "legality" of my choices are not an issue to me.
 

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No Chip, No Pic - nobody but a confirmed cat lover like you would even remember the somebody come by asking - much less a description of a given cat.

Any cat that is out and about without id is better off with med care and s/n. Not only that but every other cat it ever comes in contact with is better off & so on...


Do what is best for the cat(s)
 

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The cat is better off neutered but I would still contact the people. So he has no ID and is not neutered but who are we to judge? That doesn't mean they didn't love their cat. He could just be a skittish cat who was used to being indoors only. If that was the case, he could be lost even if his house is only on the next block. Cat's don't have the capacity to think "run away" because his family is a little weird.

This is coming from someone who has had a cat get lost before. I would have given ANYTHING to have someone who was running a feeding station give us a call to say they might have seen him at their station.

For all you know, they could be a loving family who really cares about him, and for whatever reason (personal, financial) they just never got him neutered.

Please call them. He's better off back in his home (if it is indeed his home) than on the streets .
 

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I would be HEARTBROKEN if *MowMow got out (he has no collar either) and someone didn't return him home to me. Neutering him would be a great idea, just in case and then contact the people and ask them to describe their lost cat.

*After the vase incident they might be welcome to keep Shepherd Book. :wink
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's part of the dilemma. If I have him fixed and then return him I don't want to deal with a pissed off cat owner who wants to know what/why did I do? I will, mind you, but if I don't have to I'd rather go non-confrontational.

I've tried several times to take a pic of him to bring over for a +ID, but it's like trying to take a photo of BigFoot. That is one sly cat. I only catch fleeting glimpses once or twice a week and I don't carry a camera around 24/7.
 

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This is a tuffie. I would say neuter him. If he is their cat play dumb. 'huh? No balls? I dunno' lol

But seriously. Neutering would be best. If he is their cat and gets in a fight with another Tom and gets cat aids or leukemia before going home, they would wish he had been snipped before it happened... I would say trap, photograph, show them the pic while he is being snipped. Their cat, they got a free neuter, wild cat, call the clinic and have him tipped while under the knife.
 

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i have to believe that if it is their cat then they probably are not kind, loving parents given the fact that he has not found his way home. for him to have not been able to backtrack so short a distance is, to me, a giant red flag. combine that with his skittishness and i just don't see a cat that misses the home he had.

is there a good animal control officer in your area? if so, maybe you could try to "check out" the possible parents by explaining the situation and find out if there has ever been any issues as far as cruelty or neglect goes.

i certainly would agree that trying to avoid confrontation would be a priority. if it seems that your neighbors really are providing a warm and loving home perhaps you could play the "forgetful" card. trap him, get him to the vet for physical/emotional assessment and if everything seems ok get him altered. then, while he is recovering get a good picture of him and go to the neighbors and say you just remembered them mentioning a missing cat during your tnr effort.

if nothing else at least he will be better off being altered.
 

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My rule is if a cat is in my yard, it gets s/n. If he is someones cat and they were irresponsible to not s/n it, then I get to do it. If the cat goes home s/n and with a tipped ear, too bad.

Our mission with TNR is to s/n every stray cat out there. Don't loose sight of that.
 

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i have to believe that if it is their cat then they probably are not kind, loving parents given the fact that he has not found his way home. for him to have not been able to backtrack so short a distance is, to me, a giant red flag. combine that with his skittishness and i just don't see a cat that misses the home he had.
I'm not so sure about that. Sammy and Meeka are both indoor cats. Sammy escaped once and was missing for 3 days. He was pulled out from the grips of a dog - THREE DOORS UP THE STREET. He was so close to home but I think he was so scared that he didn't know how to get home. He always tries to get out an explore so I think it started out him exploring then he started getting freaked out by things. We searched so many times for him, walking the streets calling his name. I swear he had to have heard us but didn't come out from wherever he was. I also believe that even if I did see him, he would have been so skittish being lost that he would have run and hidden from me. When we got him home, he was so thankful to be safe again and his feet were all cut from running - it took him a little while to stop looking weary of things and loud noises.

It had only been 3 days but if it had been months, I would have been just as emotional when I got him back. All that being said, he is de-sexed, microchipped and wears a collar and tag but as others have mentioned, the owners may have just not had a chance to de-sex him yet. Maybe he was young when he escaped and they were going to do it when he got a little older? I really think you should just check with them if he is their cat. Even if he is, they may not want him back but if the owners did really love him it's not fair on them to not be given the chance to have him back.
 

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I would check with the owners first. You never know what's going on in someone else's life. Assuming they're bad owners could be 100% wrong, they could be heartbroken that he's missing. Cinderella, Cali and Charlee have all gotten out, none of them had collars.
 

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Thanks for all the information/advice/opinions. It helps a lot in the decision process. I'm going take a picture, either outside if I can, or staged if I have to trap him. Take the photo over/around and determine if the cat is Dumar. I'll take it from there. If the people are obvious nut jobs then I'll say he was just passing through.

As far as the tipping goes, if he is Dumar I'm of the mind to have him neutered, but not tipped. The clinic does not like to do that cause they charge next to nothing to fix a feral. If they won't then I'll do it anyway. I don't know a good way to broach the subject with any potential "owners" and I'm loath to not insure that it's done.

I don't see an obvious down side of this for the cat (well, being neutered prob wouldn't be first on his list of to-dos).
 

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I'm going take a picture, either outside if I can, or staged if I have to trap him. Take the photo over/around and determine if the cat is Dumar. I'll take it from there. If the people are obvious nut jobs then I'll say he was just passing through.
That's indeed what I was going to write that I would do in this situation.

The big red light here is that he doesn't eat. I don't understand why, it's something to explore.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That he doesn't eat (here anyway) suggests to me that he's like Squiggy, getting his meals at other homes or that he's someone's "outside" cat who just chooses to spend some time here. He's in good shape, appearance-wise.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't TNR a cat that doesn't eat regularly with the other strays, but then again the unwritten rules of conduct vary a lot from culture to culture.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We have some pretty loose "rules" here I'd say.

Personally, I feel that any cat that comes within my sphere of influence should be TNR'd. However, in practice, it's not quite that simple as this post indicates. Experience has taught me that much delay usually results in 4 more kittens.
 

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We have some pretty loose "rules" here I'd say.

Personally, I feel that any cat that comes within my sphere of influence should be TNR'd.
with what, over 80 million cats here in the states that is how i look at it.

However, in practice, it's not quite that simple as this post indicates. Experience has taught me that much delay usually results in 4 more kittens.
which is exactly why i feel the way i do.
 
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