Is it safe to adopt a stray cat?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by ks777, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. ks777

    ks777 Well-Known Member

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    I have a cat that comes to my door, begging for food and attention.. It doesn't seem to belong to anyone.. I keep feeding the cat.. Is it safe for my dog if I let the cat come in and live? Any diseases I should be worried about?

    Thanks!
  2. mpal2

    mpal2 Well-Known Member

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    It's possible. Can you keep them separated until you can take the cat into the vet for a checkup?
  3. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    Your highest risk is probably fleas (the only disease that is communicable between cats and dogs that I can think of is rabies, and I'm sure your dog has been vaccinated), but I would suggest that your first step be taking the cat to your vet to have him / her inspected and vaccinated. Your vet can also check the cat for a microchip, on the off chance that the cat is actually someone's pet.

    I've taken in a few strays over the years and I have to say they make the best pets because they are so grateful to have a home. Let us know how it works out. :)
  4. Badams

    Badams Well-Known Member

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    as long as you don't have any other cats it should be safe to bring it in. if you DO have other cats, i would have the cat checked for feline leukemia first just to be safe. as far as i know, feline leukemia can't be spread to a dog. if you are feeding the cat, it probably already thinks you belong to it though. :)
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  5. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Has your dog met the cat? What kind of dog? If your dog is OK with the cat's presence - not a problem. If dog is aggressive you may want to take kitty to a shelter. Is kitty scared of the dog? My kitty isn't scared of anything!
  6. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    The one kitty we "adopted" off our doorstep turned out to be the sweetest cat ever. And I second the suggestion to take it to a vet to get it checked out for fleas/whatever and a microchip. And if you do decide to adopt it, you might want to consider getting it fixed if you will be letting it outside and don't want new little additions.
  7. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    The garden kitty, an adopted stray that kept showing up at my back door, says it's a wonderful idea! But I agree that it's a good idea to try to keep the cat separated from the dog until you take it to a vet for a check up.
  8. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    Two strays adopted my sister when she first moved to Las Vegas. :) They both tested positive for feline leukemia, but one lived with her for another ten years.
  9. ks777

    ks777 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Everyone! I will take her to the vet. My dog is a 5 months old lab puppy and yes she is up to date on all of her shots.
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  10. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    That is a good thing to do. Good luck with the kitty.
  11. mysticchic

    mysticchic Well-Known Member

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    I've had 3 strays and they were all the best cats I ever had. I would have the kitty checked out. Then enjoy the love you will get.
  12. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Very interested to hear what people have to say, particularly about bringing a stray into a house that already has indoor cats - please keep sharing everyone!
  13. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    The strays we've brought home or who just showed up outside have always been vet checked first. Dad worked at an apartment building and was always bringing home a stray. One kitten had ringworm. :eek: That was an interesting time. I only found out I had gotten it from her when my arms started glowing in the UV section of the garden center. Easily cured once I saw my doc though...

    But, every stray has been wonderful. Our most recent additions have been dumped kittens, 1 was bottle fed and the other was a friend's rescue (she found the very pregnant momma cat at the local Dairy Queen). All the cats get along well, the 2 most recent sleep next to each other every night. There's random hissing near the food bowl, but even the dogs are tolerant of the littlest one. Or she's pushy, not sure which. :lol:

    ks - what will you be naming her? :)
  14. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    I guess for us, it wasn't a huge problem. Yeah, the cats we already had weren't too jazzed about the idea of another one. But everything was mostly normal within 2 weeks of introduction. They just have to have time to get used to one another and figure out that they can indeed live in the same house and not kill each other. But it should be mentioned that if you bring a kitten into a house that already has a fully grown cat, you should watch them a little more closely.
  15. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    We adopted a cat from the SPCA a few years ago and have a dog as well as a cat. He was an 8 year old male who looked like a Russian Gray (gorgeous!!) and had been found a stray, so no past history was available.

    He did not like living with another cat and a dog and immediately decided to check out the neighbours. It didn't him too long to adopt one of them - and she promptly fell in love with him. A few months later we gave him to her permanently and he and she remain besotted. And I can only admire his handsome self from next door. :(
  16. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    Do consider adopting the cat, following the cautions others have stated.

    Also, please do take foto of this cat and put Posters/Flyers in your area, and call local Animal Shelters/Animal Care and control to check if anyone has lost a cat by such description.
    Once I took in a cat, thinking it is stray. Same story, came to ask for food and water.... Turned out to be a cat from 5 blocks away and the owner was looking for him.
  17. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    I second what Tinami said - you don't actually know that this is a stray cat. It could simply be a neighborhood cat, who knows to go where the gettin' is good re: food. So if you do decide to take the kitty in, make sure you try to find potential owners first.
  18. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    We have had 4 strays and 2 adopted through foster homes. 4 were very loving pets. 2 were unadoptable by anyone other than a true cat lover who doesn't need the cat to be a lap cat. With the ones who just wandered up, I posted a Found flyer with photos all over the neighborhood, and in the internet years, posted it on our neighborhood list serv. I also posted a copy at the vet in the neighborhood and emailed the photo to local SPCA and rescue places in case someone asked there about a lost cat.
  19. ks777

    ks777 Well-Known Member

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    I know this is a stray cat because my neighbor told me that a family left this cat behind when they moved away. He is the one told me that he wished someone would take her in.. then the cat started to come to my door begging for food and attention.. when I got a puppy.. I will ask my vet to see if I can borrow a cage or basket so I can take her in for a check up.
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  20. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Then excellent!

    A neighbor might have a cat carrier as well, so you could ask around if that helps you.
  21. Kruss

    Kruss Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful for you to take the little refugee in. :)

    And boo hiss on the jerks that left it behind!
  22. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    re asking around - there's also a risk in that. A friend of mine had a cat coming by all the time looking for love and attention, and she was worried about it. She attached a friendly note to his collar, and got a livid call from the owner who thought they were being accused of neglecting the cat, mind your own business etc. I've heard similar stories from people making kind inquiries about dogs left out in the yard in bad weather etc.

    Similarly, when I took the cat who's been hanging around my place to the vet because he had a nasty infection that no one seemed to be looking after, she actually advised me to tread very carefully. Her opinion was that even if this cat has an owner, they are not taking responsibility (ie apparently did not notice a weaping 1 1/2 inch sore, bad case of fleas, teeth not in good shape), and getting their back up (even in the most innocent, diplomatic way) could end up being bad for the cat.

    This is what has me most nervous - the cat I'm talking about is healthy (now), I don't think abused, but I also don't think loved or getting a healthy diet or veterinary care. He's in our yard almost all the time, and appears to be spending nights in a shelter we made for him.

    And it's starting to get cold now, so we are looking ahead to the possibility of bringing him in during bad weather. We can deal with all the shots, but since he's independent and will likely want to continue to go outside, there's always the danger he'll bring something in that our indoor cats aren't prepared for.

    And of course I don't want to steal someone's cat, but even if he has an owner who doesn't care (which it would seem), will pride and anger prevent them from saying "glad he's happy with you instead of me"? I'd hate for someone to take him to a shelter or otherwise abandon him unbeknownst to me because they didn't want to admit they were being irresponsible.

    Again, any further thoughts welcome.
  23. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I got in myself in a lot of trouble once by making inquiries about a backyard dog. . .it was a case of serious abuse and I put the word out to a person involved in a dog rescue and that person got the dog out of the bad situation. The owner suspected me and burned down Mr. Japanfan's car. Horrible as that was I was relieved that he did not retaliate by harming or killing our dog - he did not understand that one could actually love and care for a dog.

    So I do understand your concerns. As the cat is coming to you in your yard, you have a valid reason for inquiring. However, I'm not sure you need to inquire. If the cat has a an owner but is always at your place, it suggests that the owner doesn't really care.
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  24. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Thank you for sharing - I just can't imagine that any owner, in any capacity, would willingly say, "sure, take my cat." I would think that embarrassment/pride/anger would make them do anything but. Your thinking matches what our vet advised.

    What I will try to do before it gets too cold is have a casual word with the neighbours we know to see if they have any ideas. I don't think I'd be able to take him in fully - as I said he's used to roaming independently - so it's not like I'd actually be stealing him anyway. It would be helpful to know if he's had any shots so as not to over do it, but I'm doubting he's up to date. (It's clear somebody cared at some point as he is fixed, but he's not chipped, no collar etc - vet says he's about 12-13, so it's possible he has been surviving on the kindness of strangers for some time.)
  25. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Years ago I took kittens from a house next door to a shelter because they used to let their cats breed with no responsibility. When I confronted them about it they claimed the cat wasn't theirs (even though they fed it and contributed to the cat problem in the area). Stupid people.
  26. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    the garden kitty was young and very active when he arrived, and my older, female cat was much more sedentary. Luckily the garden kitty knew the older cat was queen of the house and the few times he acted up he ran away quickly knowing he was about to get a swat. When my older cat died, the garden kitty eased into #1 kitty position easily, taking over the other cats favorite sleeping spots. But while the other cat was alive, he knew his place.
  27. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, feeding stray cats is okay. Once they turn up someplace and like it, they won't leave even if nobody is feeding them. Cats are territorial. The mistake is that they really should have spayed/neutered their cats if they were gonna be outdoors all the time! Earlier this year one of the neighborhood strays showed up with five kittens, and we weren't feeding her at the time!

    I'm in the middle of a TNR (tray/neuter/return) process on as many neighborhood strays as I can. Aforementioned mommy cat was my first success. :) Hopefully I'll get some more tonight, crossing fingers!

    A few of the cats that hang around are SO friendly, that I'm afraid it's really somebody's pet and if I trap it, they'd probably be pissed. :lol: But the landlady has sent a bunch of emails (LONG story, I was REALLY offended over the latest one after I tried to explain TNR to her) about how we shouldn't feed the strays or keep leave our cats outdoors (..or trap the cats...that one was for me :mad: ). So if I see a cat outside and it doesn't have a collar, I'll be aiming to trap it, get it spayed/neutered with an eartip, and any owners are SOL. :lol:

    As long as you get a stray checked out by a vet and vaccinated, I think it should be good to go. :) So sweet of you to take the kitty in!
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  28. mpal2

    mpal2 Well-Known Member

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    Mine has cardboard carriers that you can use until you can get a sturdier plastic one. I've seen them at vet offices more and more so it shouldn't be a problem.
  29. CynicElle

    CynicElle Well-Known Member

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    I HATE people that do that. :angryfire Good for you for helping the poor little guy. I hope it works out.
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  30. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    Me too. Here in ND, we get a few stories every winter about animals that have been abandoned in the middle of nowhere... and if the animal is lucky enough to be found alive, it usually has severe enough frostbite to warrant amputation, usually of the ears and tail. Sorry for the sad mental pictures, but in cases like that, it makes me wonder why they just don't take the thing in and get it put to sleep if they're going to give it a death sentence like abandoning it in -20F weather. And the maddening thing is, our community has a no-kill shelter for animals. So there is no excuse for just leaving animals.
  31. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    Be careful with cardboard carriers. A friend and former supervisor took in a stray from our former job. We initially tried to put it in a cardboard carrier but the cat broke out and scratched my friend on her arm with his back claws. I had to bring my plastic carrier from home.

    Her cat is nice but he's very timid around strangers from being left in the wild for over a year (he was abandoned by his family when they moved :mad:). She took him to the vet and he was fine. The only issues were fleas and ear mites. It's amazing because his former family de-clawed him and he had no way to fend for himself. He was even attacked by another cat. He had a bite mark in his back from the attack.

    I don't know why this family left the cat in the wild (literally, the area around the place I worked is rural farmland) instead of taking him to a shelter. He could've been killed by hawks, foxes or any of the other animals that roam the area. Just stupid and selfish.
  32. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have anything to carry the cat in, a laundry basket with the top covered with some cardboard will do in a pinch. :lol: The people at the TNR clinic have seen it work.
  33. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    We once found a cat in distress at the side of the road - we appropriated someone's recycling bin, and held the cat in with hubby's shirt held over the top while we drove to the emergency clinic. Where there's a will there's a way.
  34. KatieC

    KatieC On hold

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    I've taken in two strays - both beautiful, wonderful souls. I've only used a cat carrier a few times, mostly the cat sits beside me on the passenger seat, or I wrap them up in the car blanket to carry them into the vets.

    Neither of my cats have collars at the moment. One never goes off the property, and the other has managed to lose five collars in the last year. Thankfully, people in my neighbourhood have been here a good long time and don't take my cats for strays just because they're outdoors. They are both fixed, and certainly know where their food comes from!
  35. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    I've always wanted a kitty but no one else in my family is a cat person :drama:, so we never got one. However, one of our neighbors has started letting their kitty out to wander on warm nights and said kitty always comes to our house since I love to play with her... :lol: Here she is:

    Kitty being silly

    Kitty stretching
  36. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    I used to volunteer in a shelter & I know why people abandon their pets. When you take your pet to a shelter or the pound there is usually a fee charged to leave them. Apparently these dirtbags not only want to treat their pets like a used tissue, they don't want to pay for the privilege.

    mkats, that's a darling cat.
  37. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Um...I think kitty is doing more than stretching in the above pic :eek: :lol:.
  38. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    I would take the cat in, and I wouldn't assume that just because it has been outdoors up until now that it won't convert to an indoor cat.

    As for trying to find out whether the cat has a current home, if the cat does indeed have a current owner but he or she can't be bothered to put a collar on the cat or put up flyers if the cat goes missing, then the owner is probably not all that interested or concerned about the animal. So I'd flip it around - take the cat in, and then just be on the lookout for flyers for the next few weeks. If you don't see any, then that tells you what you need to know.
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  39. bek

    bek Guest

    Some cats get outside, inspite of their Mama not wanting them to get outside. Although the difference is of course mine don't beg for food, and they actually don't even let strangers pet them. Two are scared of strangers outright. And the third LOVES strangers, when his Mama introduces them to him, but doesn't like strangers who he's not introduced. If I'm holding Panda, than Panda will let the little neighbor boy outside pet him. And in fact Panda will stop being ticked that he's being hold and get excited and perked up about the possibility of this stranger petting him. The stinker literally PREENS But if Panda is out on his own, he absolutely will not go to the neighbor boy himself. They absolutely would though go into neghbors yards when they get out. But in fairness when we lived in the house they'd mainly stay in our yard...
  40. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Anita, what amazing work you do! Are you affiliated with an organization? I'd make a donation on your behalf; my family has a heart for strays and their well-being.