How will I know if I catch somebody's cat?

bekahboo

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Hello!

There are always kittens being born in the broken shed a few doors down my alley and I've decided to feed and care for the feral/stray cats in the area. I only started recently, but I have been feeding them and ordered a cat shelter to put out for them to keep warm. I also ordered a trap to do some TNR so there will not be anymore kittens born. I caught two cats already - one was the mama who had been having the kittens and the other one was one of her babies. Both were spayed. Yesterday I caught another one who I thought was her other baby and I'm currently waiting for his/her vet appointment.

The problem is that my father thinks they might belong to somebody because he doesn't act scared or feral towards us when we're near the cage. He just huddles in the corner and watches us. The other two cats we caught hissed, tried to get out, swatted at us, etc. He also doesn't appear to be unhealthy. How can I tell whether this cat actually belongs to somebody? Should I take it to the vet to be fixed anyway?
 

Maurey

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The vet will be able to check for a microchip, so there's no harm in taking him, anyway. A stay cat being friendly to humans doesn't mean he currently has an owner, either. Could be that he was left on the street when his previous family moved, or that he was treated kindly by humans when he was growing up.

Keep up the awesome TNR work!
 
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bekahboo

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Thank you!

What if somebody owns the cat but there is no microchip? Will I get in trouble for capturing someone's cat and getting them neutered without permission? I'm worried someone will get mad at me.
 

NJResident

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There are lost and found sites on Facebook you can post pics of the cats to find out if they are owned by someone who let's them roam outdoors. You can also post pics in your area (neighborhood) so those who aren't using FB will have an opportunity to claim. At least you will have done all you can. If you dont hear from anyone within 7 days, then I think it would be ok to proceed with spaying/neutering.
 

Maurey

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Thank you!

What if somebody owns the cat but there is no microchip? Will I get in trouble for capturing someone's cat and getting them neutered without permission? I'm worried someone will get mad at me.
You'd have to check with your local authorities (or asl your local vet), but where I am, the onus is on the owner to get their pet microchipped, so you shouldn't run into any issues! If you're concerned, though, def ask your vet's opinion before you get anything sorted.
 
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bekahboo

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Thank you for your help, I'll ask the vet what they think I should do :)
 

fionasmom

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My policy is that if a cat ends up in a trap I take it to the vet to be fixed. Period. I have brought in cats who were previously fixed and my vet always called me to tell me that he found an incision or a lack of testicles. No microchip was ever found on any cat I brought in. If you neuter a stray male, he will look the same as he does before the surgery so the owners won't know. A female would be a little more obvious. It is really unlikely that someone's prize purebred show cat is running around the neighborhood scrounging for food, so I have never worried about it. There has never been a warning from local AC that trappers need to be careful that they are not TNRing pets. The worry of an explosion of a feral cat population seems to exceed that.

You probably have a sense of who is stray or feral given the work that you have started to do. The cats I have trapped who were previously fixed (4) were absolutely living the life of street cats...either TNRed and not ear tipped or abandoned pets.
 
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bekahboo

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Thank you, that's helpful. That's what my thought process was, but I wanted to get some more opinions because my dad is trying to convince me to let him go. He's definitely one of the cats that I feed and I often see him hanging around. I'll be bringing him to the vet soon.
 

Jcatbird

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Pet or not, if you caught a cat that got out here and had it spayed or neutered for me, I would be grateful. Nextdoor is an online site for pets that you can check too. If there is a leash law for cats there, as in many places now, a neighbor should not be letting a cat free roam. If by any chance someone did complain, you can explain the leash law and that you could not have known they were letting the cat loose. Also that you tried to establish ownership first. The cat will live a longer and healthier life as a result. Your county, state, city should have local laws on the zoning rules or with any animal control office but your vet is a good person to ask. Thank you for helping those kitties. Ferals and strays or dumped kitties need your help.
 

Mr. Meow

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Even though my state (Ohio) is pretty lax on animal laws, they do have a law that if a pet is not microchipped, an "owner" must prove "beyond all doubt" that a pet is theirs (adoption papers, medical papers from a licensed vet, multiple pictures showing the animal lives in a home, receipts showing purchases for food and supplies for the animal), or it will be considered a stray.
So as stated above, just being friendly might not count in the eyes of the law where you're from. IF someone had an issue, I highly doubt they'd be able to prove it anyway.
 

Norachan

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What if somebody owns the cat but there is no microchip? Will I get in trouble for capturing someone's cat and getting them neutered without permission? I'm worried someone will get mad at me.
No you won't get into trouble, but it might be a good idea to let others know what you are doing.

I spayed and neutered all the cats in my neighborhood about 10 years ago, including several from a nearby farm. I went around and told all the neighbors that I knew left food out for the cats as well as a lady that lived at the farm what I was doing. They all said "Thank you for going to all the trouble to do that." I guess I was naively hoping for some of them to offer to help, or at least contribute towards the cost of getting so many cats fixed, but at least a Thank You was better than nothing.

:lol:

If you don't want to tell people face to face what you are doing you could put a notice on the shed door. "TNR being conducted in this area" and an e-mail address if anyone needs to contact you (Make a new one just for this)

It pays to be prepared. You could always print out something about the benefits of TNR ready to hand to anyone who questions you.


Everything You Need To Know About Tnr (trap-neuter-release) – TheCatSite Articles

This one is really long, but it might be worth a read.

https://www.aspcapro.org/sites/default/files/TNR workshop handbook printable final-4th printing.pdf
 

fionasmom

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I had to chuckle at Norachan Norachan 's post. Many people know that I care for cats, own cats, and am knowledgeable about local cat activity and often, I have been handed a trap with a cat in it and been given a big "thank you" and nothing else to go along with it. A man who lives nearby even came to get me a few weeks ago when he found a cat who was torn in two by a coyote. Unfortunately I knew who the cat was and I did pick up the pieces of what was left and call AC the next morning.

Alley Cat Allies will have a lot of information on their site about how to support your position of doing TNR and you might even get some flyers or door hangers through them.
 

2 dozen

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Does everyone know it is you who does the TNR? If not, no worries. If a cat is free roaming I would consider it a stray and get it TNR'd. Irresponsible pet owners don't seem to care too much about what happens to their pet just by the fact they let them run loose. Good for you for doing something.
 
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