Would you trap a cat that was coming into your house every night?

This is a story that was first published on The Dodo on 8 April 2019. I’m going to play devil’s advocate rather than simply go over the story.

Hunter a stray cat intruder enjoying the house owner's food and security
Hunter a stray cat intruder enjoying the house owner’s food and security. Photo: Johanna King.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Story summarised

At night, a stray cat was regularly entering the home of Johanna King and husband. At first they heard a commotion in the kitchen around midnight on March 30. They thought it might be a fox, perhaps, or some other wild animal entering through the cat door to the property.

They set up a camera in the kitchen to find out what was going on. That’s when they discovered that a stray cat was regularly entering the home and that Johanna’s dogs and cat were entirely accepting of the stranger cat’s presence.

Johanna felt that her dogs were useless because I suppose she had thought that they would act as guard dogs. The intruder knew the house well and even spent time sleeping there for about 20 minutes on the dining room table. The cat became more confident and came to the house when the occupants were awake.

They decided to try and trap the cat which they did after about a week. Clearly this was a savvy cat who avoided the trap for quite a long time but then the desire for food overcame caution.

Having caught the cat, who she called Hunter, it crossed her mind that he might adopt him herself but discovered that he was FIV positive. There is a small risk that FIV positive cats can transmit the disease to other cats in the household but they live pretty well normal lives and the transmission of this disease is quite difficult because it relies upon a bite, She decided to ask a rescue organisation, For Our Friends, to find a new home for him.

The question

The question I have is whether you would normally trap a cat who was entering your home through a cat door. That would not be my first thought. My first thought would be to buy a cat door which was triggered by a microchip. This will allow my cat or cats to come in and out but prevent other cats doing so. Either that or I would accept it.

Once you trap a cat you take on the responsibility for the care of that cat until he is re-homed in a place where he’s cared for properly. Or if the cat has a microchip then reunited with his owner. This would require scanning for a microchip at a veterinarian’s clinic and then contacting the owner. In fact you would have to scan from microchip anyway, initially, to find out whether the cat was owned or not. That means a trip to a veterinarian. You may incur expenses.

The point that I am making is that you take on responsibilities which is okay but would you do it? What if the cat was injured? And is trapping cats entirely free of risk (they might injure themselves trying to escape)? There is some risk concerning the cat’s health and cat ownership. If you trap a cat and don’t scan for a microchip and the cat is re-homed you’ll create a headache for yourself because it may lead to a dispute over ownership of said cat.

I am playing devil’s advocate, no more, no less.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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