There is a good question and a good answer on the internet about feeding a neighbour’s cat because your neighbour neglects the poor thing. You decide to move home but are concerned that the cat that you are feeding will suffer tremendously after you’ve moved. The question is what can you do?
The good answer is by a woman who was feeding and medicating her neighbour’s cat. He was in a terrible state and the woman, Cheri Leigh, spent a lot of time caring for her neighbour’s dirty, scabby and flea infested cat who she thought was a stray. That thought went out of the window when she discovered that this vulnerable cat belonged to her neighbour, an old man. Her neighbour called over to her and asked her to stop spoiling his cat. Naturally Cheri was shocked because his cat’s condition was so poor.
She named him Eddie (the cat!) and started to keep Eddie in her garage or basement at night. He yelled to go out. She did her best to try and improve his health and weight because he was underfed, full of worms, partly bold and scabby. She decided to take the next logical step which was to remove Eddie from her neighbour’s care permanently as she was moving across town and she’d take Eddie with her. She told (not ask) her husband that they were adopting a cat in great need. He accepted.
You might describe this as stealing but then again you may also describe it as rescuing a cat in dire need of proper care. In any case the ownership of Eddie was certainly in doubt because Cheri’s neighbour was hardly an owner. He didn’t behave like one. Quite the contrary. As I said, this wasn’t a case of theft but of rescue.
Cheri took Eddie’s care to the next level and took him to a veterinarian where she spent $600 (expensive for her). This put Eddie on a path to reasonable health. Cheri kept him indoors and Eddie is now a strict indoor only cat. Eddie yells to get out from time to time but knows that he is far better off indoors where he is loved, fed, de-flead, de-wormed, warm and secure.
P.S. Eddie is ear tipped which tells us that he was a feral cat cared for under a TNR program. I wonder if his former, neglectful owner was lying and that Cheri indeed had rescued a stray cat and not stolen a neglected domestic cat. Cheri does not mention ear-tipping in her story on quora.com. Update: “I am the one who tipped him during the previously mentioned trap and neuter/vaccination trip! :)”
So to return to the question in the title to this article; the answer has to be to take that cat with you and deal with the consequences as they fall. It is highly likely that there will be no consequences of the legal kind and you’ll know that you did the right thing.