A kindly woman in Indiana, Karen McClintock was going to a restaurant in Fort Wayne when she spotted a cat outside. The cute, and very friendly cat, came up to her, establishing right away that she was not a feral cat but to all intents and purposes socialised and domesticated.
In the Fort Wayne area of Indiana outdoor cats are categorised as community cats, which means the cat’s owner loses her cat to the community. They are in effect classified as stray or feral cats unless (and I am presuming this) the cat is microchipped.
Karen wanted to adopt the cat she had met and give her a good home but felt she couldn’t because for all she knew the cat could have belonged to someone.
She called the local SPCA hoping that they would find a home or her true home. They couldn’t help because their shelter was full but they gave the excuse that they did not take stray cats.
Karen then sought the assistance of another rescue organisation: Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control. She took the cat to them.
Karen presumed they would hold the cat in the usual way and if the owner didn’t claim their cat she’d be adopted out to someone else.
However, Karen’s soft heart compelled her to decide to adopt the cat herself. She had changed her mind and contacted the shelter.
Her charming and friendly cat was no longer at the shelter and had not been rehomed. “Her cat” had been classified as a “community cat” and processed accordingly.
What this meant is that the shelter had quickly sent her cat to another organisation who had treated the cat in the same way feral or stray cats are treated: neutered (or spayed), a notch cut into the ear to tell the world the cat is a TNRed stray/feral and a microchip implanted.
I presume the address on the chip was that of the shelter. This was carried out under a “community cat policy”.
Any cat reported as a stray falls into the category of community cat.
Karen was naturally very upset. She was angry but she was not aware of the community cat policy.
Is this policy fair, sensible and ethical? I see the benefits, of course, but, in effect, it means that no one can let their cat go outside where the policy is in force unless the cat is microchipped.
This is domestic cat confinement by the backdoor but if cats are microchipped it appears that it would avoid cats being labelled community cats, which makes sense provided the owner’s address is current. Marion County, Florida confine cats too.