Return To Home Challenge

 View Only
  • 1.  Do unspayed and unneutered friendly stray cats have owners?

    Posted 09-14-2022 01:34 PM
    In the cat rescue community a common assumption is that if a friendly stray cat (not feral) is unneutered or unspayed then the cat either does not have a human family looking for him/her or that family isn't really taking care of the cat and that no efforts should be made to find an owner (such as putting up flyers or posting on social media).  Do you all agree with this?
    I'd like to hear how other organizations are approaching unspayed/unneutered friendly cats that come to them. To be fair, cat rescues are usually quite overwhelmed and may not have the resources to find an owner for every cat that comes in, especially when there's no chip or collar as is usually the case with unspayed and unneutered stray cats.

  • 2.  RE: Do unspayed and unneutered friendly stray cats have owners?

    Posted 10-18-2022 09:51 AM
    Hi Adelia!

    I work at Simply Cats Adoption Center in Boise, Idaho. Where we live, a lot of people own unfixed cats. It's really just a matter of cost, and people not knowing the importance of getting their cats fixed and all the low-cost options available. We never assume an unfixed friendly stray doesn't have a home. Especially since we know lots of people in our community do not fix their cats. However, we will fix the cat for them and if they are claimed by the owner, we ask for donations to help cover the cost of the care they received (which is MUCH cheaper than if they took their cat to the vet for the same care).  I don't think you should assume the cat has no home, because if it does, the least we can do is educate the owners and give them resources to get their cat fixed. Then you have more space in the shelter for cats that are truly homeless.

    Our rescue has a lost/found page on our website we will post strays brought to us in, and will post on social media as well. We are normally scheduled out over a month in advance, so the finder has ample time to post on lost/found page, hang flyers, etc. on their own time before the cat makes it to our rescue. If an owner comes forward before the cat is fixed, we offer it low-cost vouchers ($65 for spay, $40 for neuter).

    I will say when it comes to friendly strays, our local humane society has been turning away cats with tipped ears. I think this is a very bad way forward in regards to RTH policies. A lot of cats at our shelter arrive with tipped ears. Yet they are friendly and docile. If they ever got out of the house and went missing, the humane society would not take them into their shelter as a stray. They've been telling people to return the cat where it was found. With so many people abusing feral cat clinics, if their tipped ear cat ever got out, they would not be able to rely on the humane society to RTH. It's one thing if the cat is feral,  but when there's a friendly stray it should  not be turned away.  Just because a cat is not fixed or has an ear tip, doesn't mean we shouldn't try and RTH.

    Maddie Corey
    Simply Cats

  • 3.  RE: Do unspayed and unneutered friendly stray cats have owners?

    Posted 10-27-2022 04:06 PM
    No, we do not agree with this. Most friendly cats belong to someone. In the Pets for Life program we serve lower income folks and we always assume cats have owners regardless of their spay/neuter status. We have partner organizations in most states in a variety of areas, including urban, rural, suburban, native communities, etc., and in all these places it's the norm for up to 80% or even more of owned pets to be unaltered! People simply can't afford it, can't access it, don't know it's something they should do, and/or don't know about resources available to spay/neuter for free or low cost. People coming into neighborhoods and taking people's pets is a big problem. They see an unaltered friendly cat, make assumptions, take the cat, and now the family doesn't know where their beloved cat went, or a colony caretaker has no idea where their cat has gone.  Almost all cats and dogs are being cared for by someone, especially the friendly,  healthy ones. And as cat people know, just because a cat is not friendly to us does not mean it's not friendly towards its own family! :)

    M Saucedo
    GIS Analyst
    Pets for Life

  • 4.  RE: Do unspayed and unneutered friendly stray cats have owners?

    Posted 10-27-2022 04:54 PM
    Thank you. I agree.