How can I tell my real cat from the doppleganger?!

We have a cat which has siamese patterns (but a tabby body). His name is Buster. Buster is primarily an indoor cat, but we let him out in the backyard to romp around. The problem is, the neighbors behind us have a cat that looks COMPLETELY identical to Buster. Lately I’ve been a little paranoid that we may be harboring the wrong cat, if Buster went for a stroll and the other cat wandered into our house thru the kitty door on the screen.

Buster can be fairly ill-tempered when picked up, and I would imagine many cats would act the same way if a total strager grabbed them and cradled them in their arms. So I honestly can’t really tell if I have the neighbors cat! Buster can often act like a ‘strange’ cat in that he meows and meows to be let out; it could be him just wanting to go outside, or it could be the neighbor’s cat wanting to go home! The concept of having our cats switched is mortifying. Buster can’t stand wearing a collar and so I have no way of visually differentiating him from the imposter.

The obvious: Keep Buster in. If you can’t or won’t, there has to be some slight differences - weight, shape, eye color…? Take a picture of Buster from different angles. Or get him microchipped.

My parents had two almost identical cats. The clipped a little fur off the end of one’s tail, so they could tell them apart.

You could do this to Buster. You only have to trim a little fur, it’s very noticable.

Well, he is chipped, so we could get him scanned and find out if he’s the real McCoy.

Oh, BTW, keeping him in would be nigh impossible. He’ll meow, and meow, and meow, and meow, and…you get the picture. While I would be patient enough not to cave, my mother is not so resiliant and she is a very light sleeper.

So, “Meow, let me outside” gets a “fine its the only thing that will shut you up”

He doesn’t wear a collar and tags?

Oops, missed that part of the OP. The AG. teachers at our school mark animals using a special spray paint. You could zap a spot on him as needed.

Put a collar on the neighbor’s cat. The one without the collar is Buster.

Devise a code word to ask Buster, like “Who is Mickey Mouse’s girlfriend?”

For a more permanent solution, you could ask the vet if they could tattoo a small mark on him, perhaps inside one of his ears. This came to mind because a major breeder of ferrets tattoos a small mark inside one of the ears of each of their kits, to identify them as being from them. Perhaps the vet would be able to do this, or refer you somewhere. Odd, I know, but pretty much foolproof - you wouldn’t have to worry if you’d trimmed Buster’s tailtip lately, etc.

Secret handshake?

You could brand him, especially if there’s any cat rustlers about.

Branding a cat has got be almost as difficult as giving them a pill.

Put him in a kitty sweater.

My mom runs a pet store which sells them. If you can get your cat into one (and that’s a pretty big IF) your ID problems will be solved. Plus, you won’t have to worry about Buster being too cold outside.

Instead of spray paint, you could use food coloring. A bid green dot on the left and right flanks. A casual glance would be enough to distinguish between Buster and Imposter Cat.

Make him give the password before you let him in.

Have him carry a newspaper and a carnation in his lapel.

Ask him something only the real Buster would know.

Cut his balls off.

According to the movies the fake one will have a goatee. =)

My cat if often replaced by a perfect replica. It looks the same, acts the same, wears the same collar. The next day, my real cat is back. This has been going on for years, and it’s driving me nuts! Other than that, living in Roswell is nice.

Write his name in his underwear.