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Stray Or Outdoor Cat?

Drewster

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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
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Hi im new to the forum and im having a dilema with a cat that has been coming around my house. I’ve never really been a big cat person until this guy started coming around. He came around one day when i was out bbqing in my backyard, i live in a townhouse complex so they are all connected, the little guy came up to me so i gave him some pets and scratches. He would come by now and then for a couple weeks and thought maybe he was someones outdoor cat. The more he came by though i would give him loves.

Soon enough he started getting really comfortable in my backyard, when i was on the lawn chair he would jump up and lay on my lap and staying long periods of time at weird hours at midnight early in the morning laying on my lawn chair (which i had no problem with) whether i was home or not. Everytime now i open the sliding door hes tried to get in and has gotten in a couple times and seems to want in a lot. Ive never known normal cat weights but my friend told me to check him under the fur to see if hes skinny, and he is quite skinny, i can feel his ribs and his spine so i started feeding the little guy.

Yesterday i got fed up trying to figure it out if he was a stray or local cat so i put up flyers around my complex with my contact info and so far no responses. I work 12 hours a day so i dont really have time to take him to the vet until saturday, but if no responses by then im taking him to the vet and adopting him.

So my question i suppose is, in all your experience in this community do you think hes a stray and if im taking the right steps?

Thank you in advance
 
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  • #2

Drewster

TCS Member
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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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Forgot to mention i havent let him inside yet until i can get him to the vet, but he seems quite comfortable on the chair under the canopy so he doesnt get rained on
 
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Drewster

TCS Member
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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
90
Ive been also following him a couple times to see where he goes when he wanders off and he never really goes one place, sometimes he goes to the natural area near my complex and sometimes seen him in the backyards of the other townhouses, i thought i saw him in the back of one house at like 11at night, then didnt see him for about 30 mins so figured thats where he lived so i walked by to see if he was around there, didnt see him so i went home, 20 mins later he on the lawn chair crying for me and i doubt if they were the onwers they just let him back out. But i put flyers on the community mailbox so im pretty sure they would have contacted me if it was theirs. Anyway, by Saturday he will go to the vet, sucks working 9-9 dont have time for any of this cat stuff and this cat deserves better, he has absolutely stolen my heart
 

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
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Sep 6, 2016
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Southern California
Just as someone who lives near an apartment and has a cat who likes to visit the apartment, please post signs in the neighborhood surrounding your apartment. I've GPS tracked my cat and he does a figure eight path over half a mile in either direction. He goes through the apartment complex to an abandoned field then comes back home before going in the opposite direction. His trail is about an hour to an hour and a half each side if he doesn't get distracted. Some cats do wander far from home. Also, most areas have a legal requirement on how long you have to search for an owner. Where I am you are legally required to turn the animal over to animal control who will hold it for seven days then you can have first dibs on adopting. Other areas allow you to search for the owner yourself but you have to put up flyers in a mile radius for 14-30 days.
 
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  • #7

Drewster

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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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Thanks your outdoor cat insight, i checked my county laws about pets and cats dont legally have to be registered and didnt find out anything about how long to look for owners. From an outdoor cat owner point of view would you ever let your cat wander around at midnight though in all weather? Im just trying to narrow down the chances of him being a stray or not. Ive seen him at my backdoor when it was pouring rain and broke my heart that isnt right. Ive also heard and seen coyotes around my house, just seems like if there are owners its pretty irresponsible of them
 

Kieka

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Sep 6, 2016
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Thanks your outdoor cat insight, i checked my county laws about pets and cats dont legally have to be registered and didnt find out anything about how long to look for owners. From an outdoor cat owner point of view would you ever let your cat wander around at midnight though in all weather? Im just trying to narrow down the chances of him being a stray or not. Ive seen him at my backdoor when it was pouring rain and broke my heart that isnt right. Ive also heard and seen coyotes around my house, just seems like if there are owners its pretty irresponsible of them
My cats are indoor/outdoor and have a curfew so they aren’t out at night. They didn’t always have a curfew though. The midnight thing isn’t unusual because if someone does let their cats out it usually is at all times and cats do like exploring at night. We have coyotes here too and that is part of why I switched to curfew but not everyone around me with cats who have outdoor access do. Some people just don’t see the coyotes and convince themselves it isn’t an issue or that their cat is smart/fast/tough enough that coyotes aren’t an issue.

Even the rain isn’t too odd, I don’t like my crew out in the rain but my boy loves the rain. I swear he gets enjoyment in coming inside soaking wet and jumping on my lap. Because pretty much the only time he makes a bee line for my lap when coming inside is when he is wet. My girl hates the rain and immediately comes inside at the slightest sprinkle. But Link.... I caught him rolling in a puddle when it was sprinkling yesterday and he came in wet and muddy all happy and ready to roll on the carpet. That child will be the death of me. Now if there is thunder and lightning he doesn’t like it and hides. Usually if it starts raining I call the cats in and they are pretty good at coming but if I am not home I can’t call them in.

My area allows cats to be unrestrained outside with no requirements for the owner to collar or tag them too. I do collar my cats because I am paranoid someone will think they are strays (except Link who thinks collars are challenge toys to be removed within hours of putting it on, then he carries it around like a prize).

Maybe you could put a breakaway collar on him with a note saying “call me if he has a home”?
 
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Drewster

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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Can i buy these break away collars or make one myself, if this little guy is wandering around dont want it to get caught on something. Also another question do your cats look well fed, this little is quite skinny, i can feel his spine and his ribs and his stomach doesnt protrude past his shoulders or hein legs and when i feed him he eats like he hasnt eaten in years which also leads me to believe hes homeless
 

walli

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Jan 31, 2017
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Being that he is so skinny, My guess would be he was lost or abandoned.
I found a stray and put up flyers and posted on next door, no responses.
If I lost my cat I would be looking and putting up flyers, so if someone lost this cat and wants him back, you will know, you could also look on the Humane society web site for Lost cats, they are pretty good at describing cats.

If you have coyotes, getting him inside is important!
Thanks for taking care of him!
 

Kieka

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Sep 6, 2016
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Can i buy these break away collars or make one myself, if this little guy is wandering around dont want it to get caught on something. Also another question do your cats look well fed, this little is quite skinny, i can feel his spine and his ribs and his stomach doesnt protrude past his shoulders or hein legs and when i feed him he eats like he hasnt eaten in years which also leads me to believe hes homeless
He very well could be. But you owe him the best effort to find his family if he has one. My brothers ex lost her cat for a month and he came back looking pretty skinny and dirty. Maybe his family is on vacation and the pet sitter accidentally let him out and hasn’t found him. Maybe he got chased by a coyote and lost his way home. Maybe he was grabbed by someone who dislikes cats and got dumped away from home because they didn’t want him near their house anymore. There really isn’t a way to know but posting signs outside of the apartment complex, at locals vets and pet stores and waiting at least a month before keeping him, or even taking him to the shelter and saying you want to adopt if his owners don’t claim, all will give him the best chance to find his family if he has one.

Breakaway collars are something you can buy at most pet stores. They are made to break if pressure is applied so the cat doesn’t get stuck on something. I’d just buy one and if no one calls you you already have a collar. I’d probably put the breakaway collar on him and give it just two or three days (just in case someone is on a trip). Then bring him inside and post flyers everywhere you can think of. The neighborhood around your apartment building, vets within a few miles (take him with you to one to check for a chip), pet stores and any community boards. Online is also good but not everyone has internet or checks all the sites so don’t do just that. If you don’t get a response in 30 days after doing that you are both morally and legally clear to keep him (in most areas).
 
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  • #12

Drewster

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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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I havent let him in yet, i work long hours so i dont want to let him in until i can get him to a vet and then be there (if he doesnt have a chip and adopt him) for the 1st day hes home so he can get aquainted to the new place, it wouldnt be fair to let him in and then be like, okay by see you in 12 hours now that your home
 
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Drewster

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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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He very well could be. But you owe him the best effort to find his family if he has one. My brothers ex lost her cat for a month and he came back looking pretty skinny and dirty. Maybe his family is on vacation and the pet sitter accidentally let him out and hasn’t found him. Maybe he got chased by a coyote and lost his way home. Maybe he was grabbed by someone who dislikes cats and got dumped away from home because they didn’t want him near their house anymore. There really isn’t a way to know but posting signs outside of the apartment complex, at locals vets and pet stores and waiting at least a month before keeping him, or even taking him to the shelter and saying you want to adopt if his owners don’t claim, all will give him the best chance to find his family if he has one.

Breakaway collars are something you can buy at most pet stores. They are made to break if pressure is applied so the cat doesn’t get stuck on something. I’d just buy one and if no one calls you you already have a collar. I’d probably put the breakaway collar on him and give it just two or three days (just in case someone is on a trip). Then bring him inside and post flyers everywhere you can think of. The neighborhood around your apartment building, vets within a few miles (take him with you to one to check for a chip), pet stores and any community boards. Online is also good but not everyone has internet or checks all the sites so don’t do just that. If you don’t get a response in 30 days after doing that you are both morally and legally clear to keep him (in most areas).
Im doing my best to try and find the owners, but this little guy has really adopted me, hes quite fond of me and i am him, i wanna find his family but i also really want to adopt him, hes a snowshow and i read they really only attach to one person if i am correct and hes attached to me, which leads me to believe hes a stray or if he does have a family he has been ignored or neglected, and by the thinness of him i would aim more towards neglected, i tell you if i do find the owners if there are any they are gonna get a earfull from me and a request that i can take him instead where he is loved
 

Kieka

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Sep 6, 2016
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Southern California
Im doing my best to try and find the owners, but this little guy has really adopted me, hes quite fond of me and i am him, i wanna find his family but i also really want to adopt him, hes a snowshow and i read they really only attach to one person if i am correct and hes attached to me, which leads me to believe hes a stray or if he does have a family he has been ignored or neglected, and by the thinness of him i would aim more towards neglected, i tell you if i do find the owners if there are any they are gonna get a earfull from me and a request that i can take him instead where he is loved
Most cats aren’t a particular breed. My profile looks like a snowshoe but she’s a moggy mix that happened to get the colorpoint gene and white markings. My boy is closer to actual snowshoe and while he is most closely bonded to me he is pretty friendly; I’ve had to talk to more then one neighbor who had decided he bonded to them. Usually because he has a routine so they see him every night or he is a little glutton and happily will eat another meal with them. Even cats who are particular breeds the breed personalities don’t always apply like they do with dogs. Cats just haven’t been bred for long enough by humans to be that refined and narrow to specific breed traits or looks. Cats can look exactly like a specific breed and have no relation to it very easily. There are very very few actual purebred cats out there because it just hasn’t been around long enough for them to be everywhere.

I really do understand that you want to adopt him. But please just do your due diligence to give his original family the best chance to find him.

To give another example, a family near me lost their dog. The gate was left open by a delivery driver and he bolted before anyone realized it happened. The family searched and searched for their dog. Three months later a stranger who spends her weekends matching lost pet flyers with pets up for adoption thought she found their dog. The dog was going up for adoption the next day and the family rushed to the center (over 50 miles from our town). It was their dog!

But how did the dog end up 50 miles from home? Someone driving home from work saw the dog get thrown out a window on a busy road. The person stopped and assuming the person throwing the dog out the window was the owner, took it home with them. They nurses the dog back to health and turned it over to a rescue group near their home telling the story of what happened. Based on the injuries on the dog it is assumed that someone found it initially and used it for a bait dog for fighting dogs. When it was too injuries to make good bait they threw it out the window away from where they were based so they couldn’t be connected with it. The dog was chipped but the information on the chip had accidentally been cleared by the registration company when the original owners called to update it. There was no way to connect the dog to its family and someone not knowing the whole chain would assume the dog was mistreated by its family.

I am really not saying you shouldn’t help him or shouldn’t ultimately keep him if an owner can’t be found. But please give it your best effort to find the owner. Don’t just post in your apartment and call it good after a few days.
 
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  • #15

Drewster

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
90
I found strange last night all the flyers were still on the mailbox and this morning one of them was gone but no one has contacted me and the little guy was out this morning on the chair again so i gave him some attention before i went to work. This whole ordeal has just been so baffling
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Super Cat
Jun 21, 2014
801
1,204
Los Angeles
I have adopted 5 adult strays in my life. One came to my door desperate for food, one lived in the parking lot at my work, and three just showed up happy to have found someone who was willing to feed and shelter them. One wore a collar, apparently not one that he had put on himself, but no one ever claimed him. You could try reverse checking, meaning you see if you can find an owner, by using Paw Boost or Home Again; admittedly, you work 12 hours and this would take time but it might save you some physical work. You are doing the right thing to look for an owner initially. Someone may be looking for him but my guess is that he is a true stray. If only they could talk. You will not regret helping a little guy who is as personable as he seems to be.
 
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Drewster

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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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I have adopted 5 adult strays in my life. One came to my door desperate for food, one lived in the parking lot at my work, and three just showed up happy to have found someone who was willing to feed and shelter them. One wore a collar, apparently not one that he had put on himself, but no one ever claimed him. You could try reverse checking, meaning you see if you can find an owner, by using Paw Boost or Home Again; admittedly, you work 12 hours and this would take time but it might save you some physical work. You are doing the right thing to look for an owner initially. Someone may be looking for him but my guess is that he is a true stray. If only they could talk. You will not regret helping a little guy who is as personable as he seems to be.
I dont regret helping him at all, hes one of the sweetest cats ive ever met and ive never been a cat person really but he’s stolen my heart. He’ll be out there at 7am before i go to work sitting on the chair when i go out to drink my coffee and he’ll jump on my lap and knead me and purr. I mean over the weekend both sat and sun he was in the back with me for probably 8 hours, even went to run errands and he was still on the chair when i got home. He’s certainly adopted me, and if hes adopted me this much i doubt hes getting the attention he needs if he does live somewhere, and the food he needs either because he appears to be thin
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Super Cat
Jun 21, 2014
801
1,204
Los Angeles
I agree with you. You have become his friend and his lifeline. There is a cat who visits my feeding station daily and has for over a year, but is heavy and has a beautiful coat. She has no interest in me at all and runs away if interesting food has already been consumed. In my trapping apocalypse of last summer I did trap her and bring her in to be TNRed only to find out that she is fixed....so with all that I assume that she has an owner to whom she returns daily, especially as I never see her at night or early morning. This description does not fit your little friend at all.
 
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  • #19

Drewster

TCS Member
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Young Cat
Sep 11, 2019
22
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Last night after i locked up the house i watched the little guy wander off and decided to follow him out of curiosity
And he went where i figured he would go if he was homeless, a hole in the fence that goes to a retention pond with trees and bushes which was pretty much the nail on the head for me that he doesnt have a family he belongs too. Looked at the backyard at 6am and there he was sleeping on the chair, tonight he comes inside and tomorrow the vet to get him checked out to come home
 
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