When a Stray Cat Calls Your Place Home
It all started with that bowl of food.
The hungry kitty meowing at your back door pulled at your heartstrings. And you couldn’t help it; you pulled out your cereal bowl, put some healthy chow in it, and hoped it would quiet that kitty’s growling tummy (and your guilty conscience).
The charity feeding turned into a daily luncheon, and now your homeless friend seems to think your place is his home! He’s looking in your windows, following you around the yard, pleading with tearful meows to come inside.
Usually, we’re the ones who pick our pets. But there may come a time when a pet picks you—whether you like it or not.
If you’ve been chosen for this special kind of love and are grappling with what to do, here are some steps you can take to come to a decision.
Determine if the cat really is a stray.
You can save yourself some mental gymnastics by checking to see if your newfound friend truly is a stray. Don’t make assumptions. Instead, plan to do a little bit of investigation.
If you can, spy around on your insistent kitty. If you notice that your…(ahem) the cat regularly goes to a nearby house after visiting you, maybe he has a happy home but has found a way to get some free lunch. But if you notice that the cat sleeps at your backdoor step, it’s time for a trip to the vet.
If you can manage it, take the stray cat to the nearest shelter to see if he or she has been microchipped. Put out a flyer in your community. Check your local newspaper and Craigslist for families searching for their lost pets. If no one turns up, it’s time to go to the next step of your decision-making.
Determine your readiness for the new responsibility.
Now that you’ve determined the cat is a stray, you need to consider how ready you are for the duties that come with being a cat owner.
Sure, having an affectionate feline has its upsides. But it also entails a lot of responsibility. You need to ask yourself questions like these:
- Will my budget cover the care of this cat?
- Do I have enough time to give to this cat?
- Can I deal with the inconveniences of litter boxes, vet visits, and mandatory grooming?
- Can I emotionally accept the the loss of this pet, should that occur?
Those are hard questions, but they’re necessary. If you said no to any one of these questions, do the next best thing. Find a good home for the cat you can’t own! Talk to your friends; place an online ad; get the word out on Facebook!
Open your heart.
If you’ve answered yes to all those questions and if you couldn’t bring yourself to offer your furry friend up for adoption, then maybe it’s time to do something special—open your heart to this stray cat.
There can be some hurdles you have to overcome. Maybe you don’t like the idea of extra responsibility. Or maybe your cat just died, and you don’t feel ready for a new one.
Whatever your hesitancy, just remember this: this cat has chosen you as his or her owner. And since you can’t quite bring yourself to get rid of that pesky feline…you’ve chosen this stray to be your cat.
You’ve already opened your heart, and it’s time to open your heart completely!
Have you ever been adopted by a stray cat? Share your heart-warming story with others on Facebook!