Hungry cat outside appears to be abandoned but what should I do?

A kind person on the social media website has posted a question that has probably bothered many people. She is seeing a calico cat outside her apartment. The cat is out there for long periods meowing and is pretty obviously hungry. She is out there when it rains and at night. And during the heatwave she was also out there. The cat appears abandoned. The person wants to know what to do.

I have presumed that the person is a woman, but I could be wrong. She is clearly disturbed by what she is seeing. She can’t let the matter go by and forget about it. She has to do something but what?

Abandoned cat? Not sure. Check for microchip and go from there
Abandoned cat? Not sure. Check for microchip and go from there. Image: u/Ok_Coffee_404.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It seems to me that the first step in all these cases is to check whether the cat has an owner. And the first step in that process is to check the cat for a microchip. You can do that yourself if you have a microchip scanner which you can buy on Amazon or more normally you take the cat to a veterinarian and have her scanned.

Yes, I know that might be tricky because if you don’t have a cat, you don’t have a cat carrier which means that you have to borrow or buy one – more hassle and possible expense. It is one of those things. You are trapped between wanting to help but are unsure about spending money on it. And there are vet’s fees as well. It is all a bit problematic.

If there is a microchip, then you know who the owner is provided the information on the chip is up to date. If it is, you contact the owner and have a quiet and polite chat with them to ask them what is going on. If the owner is minded to let their cat go and if you are interested in adopting the cat you might be able to come to an agreement. You adopt the cat, and the problem is solved.

Or the owner might want their cat back. The cat might have been lost for example. Then you take the cat back to the owner. Problem solved at least for the time being.

There is no microchip? This does not mean categorically that there is no owner. But it does hint that there might not be an owner. If you want to adopt a cat, I would proceed cautiously to see what happened. If the owner then comes forward, you can offer the cat back and say that you wanted to care for her because she appeared to be abandoned and you weren’t sure whether she was owned or not. Let’s just say you were a caretaker for the time being. In other words, a foster carer looking for the owner. The owners would understand that hopefully.

If the owner does not come forward, then you have a cat companion for the life of the cat. Once that has been established you should then check out their health by asking the veterinarian to do a general health check. That might include deworming, checking for fleas and possibly vaccinations.

I would not apply any flea treatment but rather check for fleas physically and comb the cat regularly. This is because the treatments are insecticides and insecticides are bloody awful chemicals. They are toxic and horrible. Be extremely cautious with insecticides.

This is the woman’s headline to her post on

“Possibly someone’s outdoor cat, but he seems hungry, been meow-ing outside my apartment for hours, I had seen him outside alone during a rainy night once and last week’s heat wave. If he has an owner idk what they’re doing, what should I do?”

And above at the top of the page is a picture of the cat. The woman thinks the cat is male, but all tortoiseshell and tortoiseshell-and-white (calico) cats are female except for a very small percentage which are exceptional and because of genetic reasons are males.

Below are some articles on abandoned cats.

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