I found a cat, now what
October 2, 2016 9:12 PM   Subscribe

My neighbor down the hall knocked on my door and told me my cat had gotten out into the stairway. I verified that both mine were inside, so it's a different cat. We live in a 9 unit building and only one person answered their door. It's possible it snuck in behind someone So I am keeping it overnight & taking it to the humane society for chip scanning tomorrow. Is that the right thing to do?

I am planning to lock this one in the bathroom overnight so I don't have a huge fight on my hands. It's late and I've been sick so I'm not real lucid - what else do I need to think about?

It's obviously a stray and not feral, very friendly with a glossy coat.
posted by AFABulous to Pets & Animals (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by AFABulous at 9:15 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

When I was in a comparable situation I put signs in common areas, and was delivered of the cat by dinnertime. Sadly: it was a magnificent cat, of whom the pic is lost.
posted by xueexueg at 9:16 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

Put a flyer up in your lobby.

Do you belong to any neighborhood online groups? Post there. If not, Google "lost cat [your town]" and see if there is a Facebook group or similar where you can post.

Otherwise, some food and water for the kitty, and hopefully a spare litterbox, then off for scanning tomorrow sounds about right.
posted by praemunire at 9:17 PM on October 2, 2016 [8 favorites]

Signs are good, one of those neighbours who didn't answer your knock could be asleep. If they work an early shift they might be gone before you're up; a sign would reassure them and save you having to take the cat out.
posted by kitten magic at 9:18 PM on October 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Same thing happened to me once - it worked to tape a sign up on the mailboxes with instructions to contact me.
posted by augustimagination at 9:21 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check your local craigslist!
posted by fritley at 9:23 PM on October 2, 2016

Exactly right. You can also call the humane society say 15 minutes after they open, giving the frantic owner time to call and ask if their cat's been found -- it may save you a trip! (I had a similar situation, with a dog; we called at 9 a.m. and the line was busy, called back at 9:15 and it had been busy because the owner had been calling! We were able to arrange the dog's return directly and save us both a trip to the shelter.) They may also have further, locally-specific advice before you go to the trouble of physically going to the shelter.

Craigslist and Facebook (if you have local friends on FB) are good places to check/post.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:39 PM on October 2, 2016

Put flyers up, put notices on CL and Nextdoor, have the cat sequestered in the bathroom with food/water/litterbox. My cats have free run of the rest of the apartment. They don't seem to notice NewCat at all. Is it an awful, terrible, Absolutely Not idea to introduce them? NewCat has no signs of ill health and mine have had recent physicals.
posted by AFABulous at 9:40 PM on October 2, 2016

If you have a building manager or a landlord, contact them and describe the cat. Did you have to fill out extra paperwork for your cats when you signed your lease? The manager might have pet descriptions and could be like "oh yeah there are two black cats in the building, I'll contact them both and see if anyone's missing."

On preview, I'd vote don't intro the new cat to your cats, chances are you won't be sharing space for too long with this dude so it's just a bunch of unnecessary stress for everyone.
posted by Mizu at 9:42 PM on October 2, 2016

Do not introduce them. Only bad things will happen. Really.

If no one claims kitty and you decide to keep him/her, then think about it. Now? HELL NO.
posted by guster4lovers at 9:43 PM on October 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

NewCat has no signs of ill health

FIV? Also, pee everywhere.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:05 PM on October 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Lock the cat up in the bathroom, put signs up in and around your building (cats sneak in!), call local shelters and/or vets tomorrow. (Most vets have scanners, just go to whoever is most convenient.)
posted by jeather at 10:06 PM on October 2, 2016

Important update pics. (He's in the bedroom with me.)
posted by AFABulous at 10:16 PM on October 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

Yeah, don't introduce it to your cat:

It could have FIV

You don't know if it's vaccination status is up to date

It could have fleas or worms.
posted by Sockpuppets 'R' Us at 10:22 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Awwww looks like a not-yet-year-old kitty! Probably out scouting, lost their original human and thought, hey, this place has cat and friendly human scent, I'll hang around until someone notices.

Nthing don't introduce them yet. I once found a lost dog after the local SPCA-equivalent had closed for the night, and so had to take him home with me. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment at the time, and the kitty litter was not in my bedroom, so basically had to introduce the dog to my two cats. My Maine Coon was fine (he's basically fine with everything), but my little black kitty was very unhappy. The poor thing trembled in a corner all night, which I know because the dog whined and barked all night, so none of us slept.

Definitely phone the humane center ASAP. It's what I did for the dog; they picked him up half an hour after I phoned. The dog was returned to his family that same day.
posted by fraula at 1:16 AM on October 3, 2016

Oh he is a sweet, sweet kitty. And a black cat in October. Hate to be the one to say it, but if there's no chip, I hope he has some little shock of white fur that you can use to make the real owner identify him.

Another thing if you are willing to hold onto him for a bit is if you can get a posting on your local shelter's site.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:26 AM on October 3, 2016

Humane society is closed today. So my plan is to knock on all the apartment neighbors' doors again, if that's unsuccessful then I'll find a vet to scan him. If that's unsuccessful then...?? I would probably keep him if no one claims him, but I can't sequester him indefinitely, so how long do I wait until I get him checked out? I don't want to spend the money only to have to give him up the next day.

Hate to be the one to say it, but if there's no chip, I hope he has some little shock of white fur that you can use to make the real owner identify him.

This was a big concern when I posted the CL ad. My plan there is for them to produce photos, preferably on their phone or Facebook account so it's more likely they didn't grab them from Google. And to verify that their address is nearby. But if the situation were reversed and i had outdated ID, I would probably fight someone to get my cat back.
posted by AFABulous at 6:17 AM on October 3, 2016

Congratulations on your new cat.
posted by Justinian at 6:46 AM on October 3, 2016 [12 favorites]

No chip. Informed animal control, if no one claims him after a week, they release him to the Humane Society and I have first shot at adoption (if he's healthy). They will vaccinate and neuter him. I can keep him in the meantime and I will keep him sequestered. The other cats didn't even bother sniffing him while he was in the carrier! Everyone's pretty much chill and incurious.
posted by AFABulous at 8:16 AM on October 3, 2016 [9 favorites]

It's starting to get cold at night in the northern hemisphere. It's not unlikely at all that this little guy is a stray who wandered indoors to get out of the cold and is so nobody's cat. Being intact and unchipped at 8 months or so suggests this as well. So continuing with segregation until the all clear comes is a good idea.

Congrats on becoming a three cat household.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on October 3, 2016

This is exactly how I acquired my cat. In the city I lived in then, the local newspaper would post a found-cat ad for free. The Humane Society essentially told me that they would take him anytime, but if I wanted to keep him, I should wait 3 weeks before neutering and registering him in case the original owner shows up.

For me...
-putting posters up in the common areas,
-scanning for chip,
-filing a found cat report with the humane society/animal control,
-and putting the newspaper ad up

...were enough to convince me that no one wanted this cat. He quickly turned into my cat and has been a terrible wonderful jerk ever since.
posted by robot-hugs at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Given the inconvenience and stress of keeping in the bedroom, is there any risk/downside to getting him checked up/vaccinated/neutered so I can let him meet the other cats? All three are completely unconcerned and barely curious about each other, and the little guy is able to get places the other two can't, if necessary. Of course I'd still give him to the rightful owner if they appear and eat the cost of the vet work, but I have a gut feeling this cat is mine now.
posted by AFABulous at 11:10 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Congrats on your new Octoberween cat!

You might be able to mitigate the vet costs if you're communicative with the humane society and your vet and express concern about the one-time chunk it will cost you; a lot of vets will do sliding scale and different humane societies have ways of offsetting the cost of vaccines and neutering to incentivize otherwise enthusiastic adopters. But I can't imagine there being any particular risk apart from cost.
posted by Mizu at 1:46 PM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Congrats on your possibly new cat! He's a cutie!

I'd hesitate to, say, neuter him proactively, but getting him checked up and vaccinated shouldn't be an issue if the owner comes forward. At least have him tested for FIV/FelV before introducing him.

Once he's checked, you can try the introduction given the signs of disinterest! If anything happens, just take a step back and sequester him again until they can acclimate to each others' smells.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:44 AM on October 6, 2016

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