Busted By the Vet

If we could access the archives of the last several years (deep sigh), I’d point you to a column I wrote circa 2006 about a University Park family fighting to get their cat back from a neighbor who took it in as their own indoor pet. It happens more than you think.

Yesterday I spoke with a University Park resident who has an outdoor cat that is the subject of a polite power struggle. See, the neighbor has been kind of taking over and encouraging the cat to hang around their house more and more. You know, offering food and stuff even though the cat is well taken care of by its true family. Fine. But when I spoke to the cat’s owner she had just received a call from a local veterinarian who told her that a nice family had just presented the cat as their own in his office. They said they were there for a check up and shots but as a matter of standard practice, the vet ran the micro chip and discovered the cat’s owner was someone else.

She really couldn’t believe the neighbor had done it. To me, it’s kind of like a neighbor taking your kid to get a haircut behind your back.

Note: The darling cat pictured above is mine and you can’t have her.

15 thoughts on “Busted By the Vet

  • March 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm
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    It does not seem like something in the cat’s best interest. What if they went to different vets and the cat ended up double vaccinated or medicated? I’m sure vets just like physicians want/need a true health record.

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  • March 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm
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    It’s not safe to have a cat live outdoors in our busy urban neighborhood. Keep your cats indoors and your neighbor won’t steal them. And they won’t get run over by an SUV. Or pee on your neighbors front door. Or poop in your neighbors flower bed.

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  • March 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm
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    Does the offending neighbor actually know for a fact that the cat belongs to another family? Or does the family think it’s a stray/abandoned cat?

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  • March 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm
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    You don’t own cats; cats own you. Dogs are less like that. An outdoor cat is going to go wherever it wants, and will be happy to be fed by anyone willing to do it. If it’s spending enough time at the neighbor’s house that the neighbor believes that the cat has adopted him and so is willing to pay for vet care, I guess the cat has made its choice, hasn’t it?

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  • March 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm
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    True way to tell who owns the cat:

    My in-laws’ cat travels back and forth between their house and the neighbor’s. Two food bowls. Two water bowls. Two scratching posts. Etc.

    But, who had to climb the ladder in a catcher’s mask with oven mitts on when Sammie decided to get stuck in a tree?

    That’s the owner.

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  • March 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm
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    The feline in the foto is indeed faboo. I gotta go with Kmom on this one and reiterate how much I hate seeing kitties outdoors around here. With teenagers and distracted moms driving a zillion miles an hour down the streets, it is high-risk to let your cats run free (besides being against the law). That being said, if the cat-poaching family is indeed aware that the kitty belongs to their neighbors (and your post suggests that they do), then perhaps they feel the owners are somehow neglecting their pet? That might explain their behavior.

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  • March 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm
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    If you can’t keep your pet contained in your house/yard, then you shouldn’t have him/her. “Outside cat” owners are pretty insensitive. My neighbor thinks I should love
    his pet, but meanwhile, the cat is pooping in our yard where I have toddlers playing. The cat raised her back and hissed at my three year old because the three year old woke that cat up on OUR back steps. I shouldn’t have to safeguard my own backyard from a NEIGHBOR’S nasty animal. If I could catch that cat, I wouldn’t feed it, I would take it to the SPCA. And, no, I don’t hate animals – just irresponsible owners!

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  • March 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm
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    Let the catnappers pay for the trip to the vet then retrieve it.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 7:55 am
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    Isn’t it against city ordinance for a pet to roam wild? If so, just call animal control to pick it up. Worst case, the animal is humanely euthanized.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 8:57 am
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    we have an indoor/outdoor cat. We planned that he would be an indoor cat, but alas when you adopt a “rescue” cat, you get what you get. When we don’t let him out at night, he will generally be fine until about 2 or 3 am, when he will begin to howl – loudly – at the front door, continuing until we DO let him out! So while I agree in principle on the indoor/outdoor issue, sometimes a cat just is who he is.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 10:08 am
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    @x.

    Seriously? That’s the first thing you jump to – call animal control and maybe kill the cat?

    That’s like me calling child protective services because your toddler is eating paste.

    I think you skipped a few steps.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 11:19 am
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    I’m with Tinkerbell. We have two “outdoor” cats in our neighborhood and they are (seemingly) always around our lawn. We had a headless dead bird on our front steps the other day. Thank heaven my husband found it before I did.
    Ick.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm
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    Sorry – didn’t mean to imply that’s the first thing you do. I just meant that having the animal put down is an option to consider. I wouldn’t however compare a cat to a human child in any way. You may have skipped a few steps there. I would maybe more accurately first compare euthanizing a cat to stepping on a grub worm. Sure, you can pick up the grub, walk over to the fence, and throw it into the neighbors yard, so it’s now their problem. Or you could just step on the nasty thing and be done with it.

    I do understand your point though. Thanks
    X

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  • March 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm
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    all cats belong indoors…would you like to live outside?

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  • March 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm
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    If the neighbors are willing to actually care for the cat (keeping it indoors), then I’d say they are the new owners. You don’t get to claim ownership to an animal that you allow outside where you cannot, in any real way, care for it.

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