Found Cat! What kind is it?? What Do we do with it?
July 29, 2010 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Found this kitten in the Hollywood Hills this morning. What kind of cat is it? If we keep it, how might that impact the 2 females we already own?

Hiking this morning, we met the little guy/girl in front of an abandoned house, next to a rental that was recently vacated. He/she was busy hunting birds, but took a break to approach us to say "Hello." He/she was super happy to come home with us, even though I'm not entirely convinced this kitten ever lived in a home before. We just can't tell! We took it home to see if we can find an owner and/or save it from being coyote prey.

So far, kitten is very relaxed and interactive, although kinda skinny. No eating, drinking, or litter box yet. It's been 8 hours.


-I'm pretty sure I know the breed, but I'm looking for confirmation.
Please let me know if you can't see the pics and I will re-post them!

-If new cat is a special breed, what do I really need to know
in terms of feeding, care, and interaction with my other non-special
breed females?

-Cat seems to be 4 to 10 months old, depending on breed.

-Folks here don't let their cats out very often because of coyotes. No tags
or collar. I realize as I type this that the kitten may have a chip. How do
I check this in a reputable way?

-No visible ear mites. May have a slight case of fleas (no "dirt" or critters,
but a little scratching.)

-There is a chunk missing on one ear from a fight, injury might be 1 to 2
weeks old as it is still ever-so-slightly pink and healing.

-Kitten may be a neutered male... or a female. I know cats, but I really can not tell! My females' behavior towards this creature indicates male because they aren't protesting very much, if at all. OTOH... genitals look female. Or maybe they just "sense" new cat can kick their ass and that's why they are so low-key?? Everyone's reaction to each other is NOT as I expected. Lots of confidence all around, no territory issues yet to speak of. I can't tell if the difference I'm witnessing is due to the breed of the new cat, the gender - or both.

I've posted flyers all over the neighborhood. Assuming there is no chip and no one turns up to claim him/her, there will be a dilemma....

We have 2 female tabby cats already. One is "wild" in nature like the kitten. The other female is domesticated, a little uptight and shy. Our "wild" cat finds the "new" cat to be thoroughly uninteresting. Domesticated cat hissed at "new" cat earlier - but that's it. They were separated earlier, but right now everyone seems to be curious and pretty relaxed, given the circumstances.

Is it OK to have 3 females in a household, or is this a recipe for future D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R*?

*we already have one "wild cat" who requires the outdoors and hunting from time to time to remain sane. If new cat is female (I'm 70/30 it's a female) and requires the same special treatment... even though we really really really want to keep "new" cat, I don't want to set up an inhumane situation in our household. I'd rather rip the band-aid and get "new" cat a new home asap.

That's the story.

What is it, and what do I do with it for as long as we have it in our house?

posted by jbenben to Pets & Animals (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like an ocicat. (Can't help on the "playing well with others" question.)
posted by Gator at 6:27 PM on July 29, 2010

I vote for Ocicat or possibly a Savannah.

You can, and should, take the kitty to your vet. They should be able to scan it for a chip.

It seems to me that all three kitties (all girls or otherwise) have worked it out and you have a new kitty!
posted by deborah at 6:32 PM on July 29, 2010

It looks like a Bengal! From what I know of the breed, they get big, they're active and they're intelligent. They need spaces to jump, climb, and scratch... a cat tree is probably best, unless you want to have kitty invent its own places.

If you want to check its chip status, take it to a vet or a shelter and let them scan kitty. And if you're committed to getting kitty acclimated to your house, it's totally doable. Just separate them and let Domesticated Kitty get used to New Kitty, and if Wild Kitty doesn't really care about other cats, then you don't have to worry. I have a kitty that's a little like Wild Kitty, in that other cats do not faze him in the least.

Females can learn to live together, as long as they're introduced properly and given enough space to relax and hide if they wish. You're not setting your household up for a future of annoyed hiss-kittens as long as you go at their pace.
posted by mornie_alantie at 6:33 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Posted too soon:

It could also be a Bengal.
posted by deborah at 6:33 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Looks just like the egyptian mau my aunt used to have. if it IS the kind of cat - well i cant recall her ever doing anything special for her. She had 2 other cats as well and they all pretty much got treated the same, except to cater to their individual personalities.

Take her to a vet or friendly animal shelter to get her checked for a chip, and to tell the gender for sure. Just do a quick Google search on how to sex kittens, you should be able to figure it out if you know what you are looking for.

My parents only get female cats now, as the boys can spray, even when neutered. I see absolutely no problem with having 3 females... a male could possibly be more disruptive to their current social structure anyways. It really mainly depends on the cats personalities.

I found the best way of introducing new cats is to keep them separated for a day or two- then just let them out and let them figure it out. if you fuss and interfere and hover around all the time, you arent letting them work it out and giving them the chance to submit to one another.

unless the cats are HATING each other after a week - i dont think this is an inhumane situation. They seem like they are already getting along okay, so why not let them be? just make sure to get new cat checked out for chip, shots, and all that good stuff since she may have something - and you dont want it to spread to your other cats. You may even want to keep her separated untill she has a clean bill from the Dr's
posted by bleedfoot at 6:39 PM on July 29, 2010

I'm voting for, if not all, at least part Bengal judging by the markings and long body. My friend has one and this really looks like what you've got.

It's possible that you've got a really gorgeous mackerel tabby but either way this is one beautiful cat !! I can so understand your desire to hang on to ;)

In my experience if everyone is getting along.. or at least showing only reserved disdain for one another they should all be fine together regardless of it it turns out you've got 3 girls there..

Best of luck to you all!!
posted by Weaslegirl at 6:45 PM on July 29, 2010

Sadly, Savannah is off the list because this cat has no ear markings - ears are plain.

My original thought was Savannah. Research leads me to Bengal. It's not visible in the pics, but this kitten has a really long body, skinny skinny legs. Also, the demeanor is truly affectionate and totally wild/instinctual. Like my other "wild" cat, this one has no interest in toys. Water has been intriguing to it all day. It's refused the homemade raw food diet my other cats love, expensive kitten food from the can, and Japanese shaved bonito flakes - which ALL cats go crazee for. I'm stumped.

Then there is the attitude!

Instantly friendly and super chit-chatty. Doesn't seem to know what the indoors are but inhabits the space in a natural and confident way, litter box was a mystery not worth investigating, other cats were hardly a concern (despite the fact they are adults and it is not), water in a bowl for drinking was unappealing and remains so at this hour.

I'm leaning toward Bengal, after having rescued many many strays. If there is some definitive advice I need in that case, please elaborate!
posted by jbenben at 6:47 PM on July 29, 2010

Cats let you know if you have a problem. They're pretty awesome like that. My sister has had three female cats together (along with a neutered male and, at one point, two of the girls, the boy, and a dog) and it was fine; the only conflicts came due to one girl being an adolescent who wanted to play and one being an elder who wanted to NOT PLAY THANK YOU. They worked it out (*). Anyway, if it's ever and they seem fine, then they're fine, as far as my experience is concerned. My stepmom has had three girls at a time, too; age was a much bigger problem than sex. The "ignoring you, maybe you'll leave, but whatever" thing seems pretty common; in my sample size of seven cats total, two have displayed this behavior towards interlopers.

((*) Reintroducing the elder to the boy and one of the girls, after she was alone in a house for a year, proved to be an exercise in locking them all on a floor where they had lots of hiding space and then going away for hours for the sake of the dog's sanity, rescuing the elder and taking her to her own room, rinse, repeat. The really scary noises mostly stopped after I think a week; my sister gave up and will try again after the dog is gone. When cats have a problem, you know.)
posted by SMPA at 6:52 PM on July 29, 2010

-There is a chunk missing on one ear from a fight, injury might be 1 to 2
weeks old as it is still ever-so-slightly pink and healing.

This may well indicate that the cat has been neutered/spayed. A lot of feral cat rescue groups will trap cats, get them fixed, and then release them. Different areas have different customs about ear-notching - that is, the right ear will be notched if the cat is female, left if male. But I don't know what the SOP is in your area. Your vet will likely know, or your local SPCA/humane society.

Beautiful cat!
posted by rtha at 7:02 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

My Bengal likes to play in water. Here's a random youtube cat that looks a bit like yours.
posted by spork at 7:06 PM on July 29, 2010

If he/she is indeed a Bengal, someone is likely looking for it, as they are a bit on the expensive side. But if nobody claims it, lucky you! I would love to have one. Your wild kitty is gorgeous!
posted by Fuego at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2010

New cat looks like our Bengal, with slightly different eye markings and face shape. Our guy is extremely friendly and people-oriented, talky, loves to drink running water from the tap, is very long and lean. Light colored fur on underside of body is supposedly a trait Bengal breeders aim for, along with big eyes, short straight (non tapered) nose, smallish rounded ears, fat tails, very soft silky fur with a "glittery" quality in light. Of course, pet quality (rather than breeding/show quality) Bengals might lack some of these features, as our guy does.

If you're thinking about keeping the cat, vet is your first stop for chip check, parasite check and vaccinations.

Try running the bathtub tap to see if it will drink.
Not sure about food, maybe stinky tuna?
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:25 PM on July 29, 2010

The two Bengals I've known (big sample size!) have seemed prone to earwax buildup which appeared as dark gunk in the ear and was itchy for them - so it's possible your itchy ear issue is that. Vet can tell.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:31 PM on July 29, 2010

When I found a stray I just took it down to animal control and asked them to check for a chip. They had a little scanner right there at the desk and were able to check within about 30 seconds of me being there.

I just told them I found this cat and wanted to know if it belonged to anyone. There was no problem and there was no charge.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:36 PM on July 29, 2010

FYI we've had a good experience taking two lost dogs (here in L.A.) to the city shelter to see if they were chipped. We happened to use the shelter in Van Nuys, and the folks there were quite friendly. Believe it or not, they actually recognized the animals because they'd recently been adopted from the same shelter, but that's another story.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:40 PM on July 29, 2010

could also have some egyptian mau. we've recently adopted a female kitten who is starting to display spots (instead of stripes like tabby I assumed) with large body, small head and prominent ears. if so, they are very sociable and friendly!! great pets, people loving and playful with other cats :)
posted by supermedusa at 7:41 PM on July 29, 2010

I vote Bengal, mostly because (a) I'm mostly ignorant, however (b) a friend from college has a Bengal Cattery. Assuming that, my quick summary from webpage:

(0) Bengals are fantastic & wonderful & allthatstuff.
(1) Good chance s(he)'s chipped -- google Bengal + cats, and you'll find lots of pretty serious info, 'cause breed-specific cat fanciers & breeders take that stuff pretty seriously.
(2) Bengals are athletic, intelligent, and domestic cats -- they like to be involved in the household.
(3) Premium commercial cat feed is the cat's meow, so to speak -- there's no need to feed them raw meat or a special diet.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 7:50 PM on July 29, 2010

My first instinct was ocicat... because of the markings. Doesn't quite look like a Bengal to me, but i'm not an expert.
posted by patheral at 7:52 PM on July 29, 2010

Don't you want to have it tested for FIV (and whatever else) before introducing it to your current cats?
posted by orthogonality at 7:57 PM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

It occurs to me that it might be one of the earlier-generation hybrid crosses that give rise to bengals: here's an explanation with pictures of the lineage of Asian Leopard Cats, "foundation" cats, and bengal cats. You might look online to see if there is a bengal breeder near you who might have had an escapee.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:55 PM on July 29, 2010

I had three female domestic cats in the house for years (up until Tuesday, when I had to put my oldest cat to sleep) and we have never had serious problems. There has been growling and grumping, but no real fighting. Youngest cat was a feral kitten that we brought in from outside and was part Siamese, so there was some adjustment. Even so it wasn't a bad adjustment, as in they didn't fight with claws out or even do much other than complain at each other.
posted by immlass at 9:23 PM on July 29, 2010


Wow. I don't know where to start.

Multiple neighbors called us and knew the cat. They are unhappy the owners repeatedly let her out in coyote country. Apparently she (yes, it's a girl!) was attacked two weeks ago by a coyote.

Owners just called. Cat on it's way back.

Apparently, this Bengal has a history and temperament similar to our "wild" cat. Intelligent. Wild. Friendly.

Had a big Talk with one of the owners and gave her some "wild kitty" tips to help satisfy the beast:)

All good in the end!
posted by jbenben at 9:38 PM on July 29, 2010 [7 favorites]

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