Should I do something about this stray cat?

Lately hanging around the house there’s been a stray cat. It seems awfully tame - walked right up to my boyfriend and let him pet it, doesn’t fear us, etc. At first I thought it probably just belonged to somebody who lets it out all the time - it’s a smallish dark-haired cat with fluffy long fur, and I didn’t think it would look like that if somebody wasn’t taking care of it. (Then again, I know next to nothing about stray cats, and I’ve never really seen one that’s fluffy.) No collar. The first time I saw it it was with a big tabby, also pretty tame-seeming but I haven’t seen the tabby since then.

The only reason I worry is that I live on a fairly busy street (and near a VERY busy one) and I’m afraid it’s going to get hit in the road. Seems like a sweet animal and I’d feel awful if I saw it dead. On the other hand, it seems healthy and reasonably fed. What if it does belong to somebody? What if it doesn’t but is perfectly happy as a stray and I take it into the shelter and it gets put down? I have two cats myself and really don’t need another one. Do you guys think I should do something about the cat at all, and if so, what?

Some background, here - I am a dog person, and I absolutely hate how dogs and dog owners get crapped on if the dog gets loose, but people believe that cats are fine running around free all the time. So, I’m all for treating cats the same way I’d treat a dog I saw running around. Add to that, I’d lived for a while near an intersection where people would abandon pets they didn’t want.

The best thing for the animal in question, IMNSHO, is to take it to the local animal shelter. If it’s a family pet, the scare should get them to consider putting on an effing collar, at least. If, as seems likely from what you’re describing, it’s been abandoned - it may well not have a fast enough learning curve to learn what it needs to know to become a feral cat. Which doesn’t even consider the fact that ex-feral pets don’t often make the transition in the future to being pets ever again. In general, my experience is that a feral cat, especially, won’t let a human get close enough to pet it - while an abandoned pet will.

If you’re feeling generous, take the cat in (If you can and are willing, I mean.) and put out Found! flyers. Give your supposed loving family a couple of days to notice their family “pet” is missing, and if you hear nothing, then take it to the local animal shelter.

Animal shelters usually have many more cats than they can handle, and it’s a sad fact that most are euthanized. If you can find a pet rescue organization that will take this cat, he’ll have a much better chance of finding a good home.

If you’ll tell me where you are located in South Carolina, I’ll be glad to find info on some pet rescue groups.

I agree with OtakuLoki - take it in and try to find an owner or find a home for it. See if there are any cat rescues in your area that will take it in. I would only take it to the shelter as a last resort because most of them only keep cats for a week or so. A lot of abandoned cats will never have the hunting skills to become successfully feral. If the cat is female and is not spayed, there will be kittens to contend with. These kittens may or may not live - and a unspayed female will have a litter every heat. There is also the high risk of it getting hit by a car. You mentioned that the cat let your boyfriend pet it - could he tell if it was well-nourished? It can be difficult to tell with a fluffy cat just from looking at it.

Good luck. Hope you can re-home this baby and get it out of the cruel outdoors. I am a cat person and I firmly believe it is not safe for a cat to be outdoors.

I just realized that I didn’t make this clear - I am of the opinion that a clean, and quick euthanization is a better fate for an abandoned pet than living on the edge of starvation and disease for however long it lasts. I’m aware that the local animal shelter may end up having to euthanize the animal in short order, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look for rescue organizations local to you - just that euthanization is more humane than leaving a former pampered pet to starve to death.

the cat has no collar—so put your own collar on it, with your phone number. If somebody calls, thank them for keeping the cat’s fur well combed, but politely tell them that you saw the cat almost get run over on your street.
If nobody calls , then you’ve got a new fluffy friend, and life is good. (If you cant handle a third cat with your 2 indoor cats, try keeping him as an outdoor cat.)

I’d be happy to keep him/her as an outdoor cat… but I still live on a busy street which people use as a cut-through!

I kind of like the idea of putting a collar on him with a note or something, “Does somebody own this cat? Call xxx-xxxx!”

  1. Put up some local signs in case it’s a lost cat.

  2. It may be an outdoor cat with its own home. In that case the signs will alet the owner and you can have a conversation about tagging it. In addition, it may be chipped rather than tagged.

My outdoor (collared, tagged) cat has been missing for two weeks. I’d hope that someone who encountered her, even if she had lost her collar and perhaps been scared it of her neighborhood, would put up a few signs or look for my notice in the newspaper.

Also, is there a way to tell if a cat has been fixed or not? Probably not, huh? (I mean, I don’t even know if it’s a he cat or a she cat.)

Oh, I passed a sign by the grocery store (across two major streets and maybe half a mile away, so improbable) that said “LOST CAT!”, and I didn’t think anything of it, but then I turned around and went back just in case that was “my” cat. It wasn’t. But I thought, hey, if somebody had found Dewey or Edison but didn’t bother to go back one block and read the sign I put up, how would I feel? So that’s why I posted this thread, really.

I thought about catching it and taking it by the vet’s to see if it’s chipped (all the pound kitties are here) - would they charge me just to scan it? Could they tell if it’s fixed?

Call your vet and ask. My guesses are maybe and yes.

Former vet tech here - the vet I worked for would not charge you to scan it. If it is male it is very easy to tell if it is fixed; there will be an empty shriveled scrotum where the testicles formerly resided. With a female it is not so easy; they can palpate for scar tissue, but the spay incision is usually so small can be very hard to detect. Even shaving the stomach may not reveal a scar; there were several instances where the vets did spay surgery only to discover nothing to remove.