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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last four days I keep meeting this cat on the sidewalk. First time it ran from me. Second day it let me give it a few strokes then ran. Third day it ran up to me, and was all over me. Today it was even more insistent. Ran up, doing the figure 8 around my ankles til I almost fell, so I sat down on the sidewalk and petted it for awhile, then it did something no other cat ever has. It got into my lap, pawed off my sunglasses, got like six inches from my face, and stared into my eyes. I could be imagining it, or engaging in wishful thinking, but I got the feeling it wanted to go home with me. When I got up and started walking off, it chased after me for a couple houses down, before stopping.

The problems are many. First it has a collar and bell. Its a cheap thing that looks like something a nurse wraps around your wrist at the ER. No name or anything, just a night reflective strip. I interpret it as either the cat belongs to someone, or it used to. It doesn't appear skinny or dirty, so likely it belongs to someone that keeps it as an outdoor cat (not a good idea in a city). Second problem is it ain't the senior cat I was planning on...I'd guess five to ten years old. I doubt I could outlive it, so if I took it on, it would likely end up in a shelter as a senior cat marked for death. I got no idea what to think, or do.
 

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This cat belongs to someone. That is the bottom line. It doesn't matter whether you like the collar or not, the cat is someone's cat. You do not have the right to take this cat home with you, and it would be very wrong for you to do that. On top of that you say if you did the cat would probably end up in a shelter as a senior cat marked for death. Here is what I don't understand --why do you even need to think about this? Get yourself the senior you had planned on and let the person who owns this cat keep their cat.
 

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Your heart's in the right place, but you can take this cat into any shelter or vet's office and they will check for a microchip. And you can look online at lost & founds ads.
 
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It may very well be just a friendly neighborhood cat, but some cats do get lost or abandoned, so if that happened to me, I'd take the cat home, then take them to the vet and check for a microchip, then check out the lost&found and call your local shelters to see if they belonged to anybody. I wouldn't risk a cat in the city and would feel terrible if anything happened to it. If the owners come forward, the cat can be returned. If not, you could call a local shelter and see it they could rehome it. You could just foster the cat for a while until they find a good home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This cat belongs to someone. That is the bottom line. It doesn't matter whether you like the collar or not, the cat is someone's cat. You do not have the right to take this cat home with you, and it would be very wrong for you to do that. On top of that you say if you did the cat would probably end up in a shelter as a senior cat marked for death. Here is what I don't understand --why do you even need to think about this? Get yourself the senior you had planned on and let the person who owns this cat keep their cat.
Here is what I don't understand --why do you even need to think about this?

Just because a cat has a collar does not automatically mean it still belongs to someone. I've seen more than a few idiots on Twitter bragging about how they ditched their cat because (fill in the blank) but it's okay, as they left the collar on so animal control "can't touch it". Yes, twits on Twitter actually do seem to believe such blather. What is the purpose for a collar if not to get a lost cat returned to the owner, and how exactly does that work...if you don't have your info on the collar?

The only thing on this collar is a bell and a reflective strip, which tells me three things. The owner was not interested in using the collar to get the cat returned if lost. The owner wanted to make sure the cat could not hunt. The owner is letting the cat out to prowl at night. Having an outdoor cat in the city is quite risky for the cat in the day, but doubly so at night, and speaks to me of a level of irresponsibility very likely to shorten the cat's life....so if this cat still has an owner, the owner leaves much to be desired. The operative word is if.

So why would I need to think about it? I sensed a connection. Not sure what sort of connection. Was the cat asking for help or just starved for affection? No clue. I used to be able to read cats, but that was long ago. Whatever. I sensed something, and that is enough to put the cat on my radar screen. Then too the fact this cat crossed my path four days in a row says something to me....what some call synchronicity, my Granny called omens. Anyway, either the cat has an owner (but not a very good one), or the cat is lost, or the cat is a Twitter castaway. Three different scenarios requiring three different responses. If the cat has an owner do I intervene, or turn a blind eye until it gets crushed by a car, eaten by a dog, or set on fire by a thug? All three very real possibilities for an outdoor cat in a city like this....more so for one this overtly friendly and trusting. If the cat is lost or a castaway, do I intervene, or let fate take its course? Next comes the consequences of intervention. As said, the chances of me outliving the cat are slim, so my taking the cat in would only be a temporary stay of execution. Yeah, to me there is a little something to think about here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your heart's in the right place, but you can take this cat into any shelter or vet's office and they will check for a microchip. And you can look online at lost & founds ads.
I am inclined to intervene, take the cat home, and schedule a prelim vet appointment (including a microchip scan) next month. The problem comes after, if it turns out the cat is a throwaway, or belongs to a clueless owner that thinks an outdoor life is a good idea for a cat in a large city. If the former, I would either have to take the cat in, or give it to a shelter and accept the fact I may have just shortened its life to a few weeks or couple months. If the latter, I would have to return it to the irresponsible owner, whose choice of an outdoor life in the city is likely to buy the cat a short life, and maybe gruesome death. None are easy choices, and it seems like the cat is likely to lose either way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It may very well be just a friendly neighborhood cat, but some cats do get lost or abandoned, so if that happened to me, I'd take the cat home, then take them to the vet and check for a microchip, then check out the lost&found and call your local shelters to see if they belonged to anybody. I wouldn't risk a cat in the city and would feel terrible if anything happened to it. If the owners come forward, the cat can be returned. If not, you could call a local shelter and see it they could rehome it. You could just foster the cat for a while until they find a good home.
I had not thought of fostering. I guess that would preclude execution by lethal injection, right? If I'm fostering, they would not take it til it has a home I'm assuming. Never did that before, so not sure how it works. Would that be like just signing up, or some big process to undergo?
 

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Unlike dogs, vets can't reliably determine a cat's age. When I took Cali to a new vet, they thought she was a kitten/youngster. She was 13 years old.

Cat Felidae Carnivore Wood Small to medium-sized cats



Looking at Cleo's teeth, they always guess her age to be several years older than she actually is - bad teeth since birth.

Maybe you have a cat that's older than you think. :)

Follow your heart.
 

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I had not thought of fostering. I guess that would preclude execution by lethal injection, right? If I'm fostering, they would not take it til it has a home I'm assuming. Never did that before, so not sure how it works. Would that be like just signing up, or some big process to undergo?
I've never been an official foster, but before I adopted Coco, I took her on a trial basis to make sure she and my other cat got along, and was considered a temporary foster. I just had to fill out a basic adoption application, and the agency noted that Coco would be returned to them if it didn't work out. Most agencies include that stipulation. However, shelters are desperate for foster homes, so I don't think it would be too difficult.

If you decide to take in the cat, I'd suggest to call a local shelter, explain the situation, and ask them for advice. They may be able to help you find the owner, or at least what steps you should take to do so, and if you can't find them, what your next step should be.

My Coco was abandoned by her guardians in an apartment with no food or water for days until a neighbor heard her crying, and my Katie was found scrounging for food in an abandoned building with no chip or collar and was absolutely terrified. It makes my blood boil when I think about it! But you really can't just keep a cat if it belongs to someone else, and they may be very nice people who miss their cat. Not everybody keeps their cat indoors, and as much as I disagree with that, it's their choice, so you need to try to find them.

I think you are a very kind person, and please let us know how things are going.
 

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Your initial question....."How can you tell when a cat has chosen you?" You can't....like people, dogs and other pets it depends on their particular personality....there are some that are very picky who they chose to be their friend, other cats that are friendly with everyone, certain breeds tend to be generally friendly and other's prefer certain people. My suggestion is that you take the cat home, and then to a vet or shelter to see if it has a microchip.
 

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The only thing on this collar is a bell and a reflective strip, which tells me three things. The owner was not interested in using the collar to get the cat returned if lost. The owner wanted to make sure the cat could not hunt. The owner is letting the cat out to prowl at night. Having an outdoor cat in the city is quite risky for the cat in the day, but doubly so at night, and speaks to me of a level of irresponsibility very likely to shorten the cat's life....so if this cat still has an owner, the owner leaves much to be desired. The operative word is if.
These are all assumptions. You do not know any of these things. You have no idea who the owner is, if they let the cat out or not, or whether it was at night or not, why there isn't ID on the collar, or how responsible that owner is. To make all these assumptions and then act upon them with no real evidence that you are correct is not right.

Having the cat scanned for a chip is a good idea. But just because the cat doesn't have a chip doesn't mean the cat doesn't have a good owner. To say you know the owner leaves much to be desired is another huge assumption for which you have no evidence.

There could be a dozen reasons why the cat is where he is and with that collar, and none of them are necessarily reflections on the appropriateness of the owner!
The owner maybe just moved, doesn't have new ID yet. A pet sitter let the cat out by accident. I could go on for pages with possibilities that do not include an irresponsible owner.

Maybe the cat is lost, maybe the cat simply lives nearby and is friendly. If it were my cat, I'd appreciate it if someone checked the cat for a chip and got the cat home to me, but I would not appreciate it if someone make a bunch of assumptions about me just from the collar and the fact that the cat was outside, and just decided to keep my cat.

If you insist on interfering, the only thing to do is take the cat to be scanned for a chip. then give the cat back if the chip gives you that information. It is not for you to judge whether or not the person should have the cat.

If the chip is not registered or the cat doesn't have a chip, then a no-kill cat shelter or the Humane society would be the best thing. It sounds as if the cat would find a home, being so friendly, and is actually not in much danger of being killed at the shelter because of that. And also, if the owner is looking for the cat, the cat could be found at the shelter.
 
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