I stupidly keep an eye on Nextdoor for cat related comments. Recently, I’ve seen a trend suggesting immediate catch, chip check, and if no chip, shelter drop off for stray cats. I felt I had to chime in on with what will undoubtedly be a very unpopular perspective: stop stealing cats. Here’s that soap box:
The United States is going through its biggest cat population uptick because many clinics stopped doing spay/neuter surgeries for a time in response to CDC guidelines re: COVID-19. The result is an enormous influx on local rescues and shelters this kitten season. Absolutely everyone everywhere in the cat rescue sphere is struggling to handle the number of cases coming in.
As resources and space and capacity for care are at the most limited they’ve ever been, priority (by necessity) needs to be on the animals that absolutely need help: unfixed cats, injured cats, sick cats, kittens…
Healthy adult cats, while their lifespan will undeniably be shorter on average with access to the outdoors, are pretty darn competent at surviving outside (unlike dogs) especially when a community is contributing for them with winter safe shelter, food, and- when they’re friendly enough to be handled and loved- have an awareness of their health and can provide medical care when needed.
For these reasons, I’ve personally left my neighborhood cats alone (a neighbor feeds, so I keep an eye out) unless I’ve had reason to intervene. One that I rehomed was a momma that had a litter of kittens. Another was a tom that was filthy- as in his hard living didn’t really allow him to keep up appearances (Sickly kitties tend not to groom) and just recently, I took an intact tom to an animal ER when he came around with a chest wound. All of these are examples of cats that aren’t “doing ok” for themselves and needed, absolutely needed, human help. (All the above cats have since been adopted!)
As someone who has picked up half dead cats that also turned out to be deaf, senior, diabetic and/or declawed cats (4 that I can name off hand) from scraping by in feral colonies and have repeatedly seen their potential (absolutely necessary) indoor homes go to a friendly neighborhood community cat that was doing ok for itself… Please consider the risks and benefits before upending a healthy, capable cat’s life without evidence of needed intervention.
Also keep in mind that when someone scares a cat by putting them in a crate or trapping them in order to check for a chip, it’s *so* much harder to get the cat a second time, and that second time might be when it is really life or death.
Thank you for caring for kitties, all. They are wonderful companions that deserve long, happy lives, but the world is rarely filled with what’s deserved. Rescue is about doing your best for the most with what you’ve got.