In America, local laws concerning cat ownership, feral cats, TNR and outside cats vary which can cause confusion and it can force cat owners to do some peculiar things.
There is a cat living in Marion County, Indiana whose name is Pirate Cat. He is quite famous and he likes to roam outside. He is a domestic cat but prefers to be outside. In Marion County, which is adjacent to Carmel, it seems that cats are not allowed to wander around outside unless he is deemed to be a community cat. Community cats (feral cats) are identified in Marion County by having a small portion of their left ear cut off (“ear tipping”). This means that the cat is spayed or neutered and vaccinated and is a bona fide feral cat in a manage colony. But Pirate Cat is definitely not a feral cat and neither is he a community cat. He just looks like that to the authorities (until the story broke!). He was ear tipped by his owner I believe. I am not sure. If he was it was done without anesthetic which would have been painful. Otherwise a vet would have done it. But that would have been wrong because Pirate Cat is not a community cat. He is an ‘owned cat’.
Another problem is that as he is a free-roamer he wanders into an adjacent jurisdiction, Carmel. In Carmel the law governing feral cats is different to that in Marion County. In Carmel they are considered to be a public nuisance and if a domestic cat roams outside the owner could be fined $100
So what happens when Pirate Cat wanders into Carmel? When he did this and his owners are hoping that he will be pardoned by the mayor of Carmel. Apparently, he was picked up by an Indiana State Police trooper. He was eventually returned to his owner and there was no fine. Perhaps his fame saved his skin.
I suppose this little story highlights the difficulties that can be encountered by wandering cats because they don’t think about boundaries and borders like humans do and neither do they have any concept of human law! But I found it a bit disturbing that he had to lose a bit of one of his ears in order to be legal when he was outside.
Pirate Cat belongs to Amanda Cancilla and her boyfriend Matt Gufreda. The source is cs4indy.