Money Moral Dilemma: Is it wrong I don't want to adopt the cat I feed and have to pay vet bills?



  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Forumite Posts: 34,018
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Savvy Shopper!
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Last summer, a cat began coming into my house. It didn't have a collar and looked thin, and when it began spending most of the day at mine, I started buying it food. Eventually I found out it belonged to a neighbour, who has several other pets. They asked if I wanted to adopt the cat since it now effectively lives with me. I said no, because to me that just means paying vet bills... the neighbour didn't seem happy. Am I in the wrong, or should they be thankful I'm already paying for their cat's food?

    Actually, let's be clear here:
    you were wrong to start feeding the cat in the first place.
  • NBLondon
    NBLondon Forumite Posts: 5,412
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I'm astounded at the people accusing the OP of "stealing" and "enticing" someone else's pet.  They thought they were caring for a stray until they found the owner who now wants to offload it.  The OP is perfectly right to choose or decline to adopt - or come to a sharing agreement with the true owner.  And if that choice is "No, we don't want to own a cat" then it's up to the true owner to take responsibility again.  
    Wash your Knobs and Knockers... Keep the Postie safe!
  • Fazedmum
    Fazedmum Forumite Posts: 1
    First Post
    Stop feeding the cat! I had the exact same thing happen to me, I had 2 cats and 2 dogs and a neighbour started feeding one of my cats. I asked her not to but she continued, I'd sometimes see him in her bedroom window!
    When we were planning to move I asked her again to stop feeding him, she then put a bill through my door for all the food she had bought for him! I didn't pay it and she kidnapped my cat! Long story short, I did leave him with her, he was being cared for, she did agree to take on ownership but it was very hard to negotiate with the lady. My children were unhappy, as was my other cat, the errant cats sister. But I think it worked out okay as it made at least one person very happy 😞
  • dirtmother
    dirtmother Forumite Posts: 137
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Yes, you are in the wrong.

    Not for appreciating that veterinary costs are a significant commitment.

    You've screwed up the situation by feeding their cat, which may well have messed with the group dynamics in the cat's actual  home and created a vicious circle. I strongly suspect that the owner was a) trying to work out what was in the cat's best interests and b) calling your bluff.

    I've been on the receiving end of someone who did something very similar (and was also unwilling to do the 'responsible' bits).. which resulted in a lot of anxiety for us and was only 'solved' by me taking the cat to live elsewhere (I still pick up all the expenses but at least I know he is safe - and he is actually much happier) I've also had experience of a cat who went through a long phase of wanting to spend a lot of time in a neighbour's house and the neighbours behaved impeccably. 

  • whydoineedone
    whydoineedone Forumite Posts: 16
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts
    Brigantia4444 that’s abrasive and unhelpful. Humans are much more of a threat to wildlife. It would be a better move to ask the neighbour if her cats have been neutered. 
    I believe all cats and dogs should be compulsorily neutered unless the owners are registered breeders. There are too many unwanted cats and dogs. They didn’t ask to be born. Let’s have a proper national neutering campaign. 

  • AccountantJim
    AccountantJim Forumite Posts: 4
    First Post
    Gromace said:
    🙄 this is why my poor cat is overweight, someone has decided to feed her for whatever reason and she's at risk of heart and thyroid problems, vet is forever getting on at me, but I barely feed her now to make up for this. Don't feed someone else's cat!
    I have exactly the same problem! 

    A lot of people don't seem to understand that cats shouldn't routinely wear collars (they can cause serious injury), or what a healthy weight looks like on a cat (it's generally slimmer than most people think).

    The best way to tell the difference between a cat with a home and a stray is by asking people. Unkempt fur might be a sign a cat is a stray, but it could just be old. If in doubt, ask a vet to check for a microchip. 
  • llcooljsmith
    llcooljsmith Forumite Posts: 2
    Second Anniversary First Post
    I'm feeding a neighbors cat but wouldn't want to adopt her. We have four cats already so we have a cat flap and lots of cat food. The 'intruder' cat is nice enough but offers no companionship, she just settles down on her own and we leave her to it as she's doing no harm. We put food down for our four cats and she eats some of it, we certainly don't encourage her beyond not kicking her out.
  • Susan26
    Susan26 Forumite Posts: 3
    Third Anniversary First Post
    You are forgetting the most important aspect of all this - the poor cat itself. The cat should be your entire focus - not vet bills.

    From what you’ve said, the cat was in poor condition. Speak to the owners and suggest they put the cat into a shelter. That way he will find a home where he will get the love and attention he needs.

    If they don’t agree, I would just take him to a shelter. Like you, They’re obviously not interested in the cat’s well-being so I cannot see why they would complain. 

    Don’t stop feeding him. He relies on you. Get him to an animal shelter asap and your worries about vets bills will disappear.

    Concentrate on the poor cat and what his needs are. Not your needs nor your neighbours.

  • Epsomdtc
    Epsomdtc Forumite Posts: 5
    Fifth Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Hi personally I think you've done nothing wrong. 
    Who isn't going to feed s skinny, hungry cat with no collar? 
    How are the owners other cats?
    Perhaps they bully this cat so it can't feed.
    If its better for this cat to be rehomed you could suggest "cats protection league" etc and offer to help.
    You could contact them & ask for advice anyway. 
    If the other cats are also looking neglected, & the owner is unwilling to accept help, you could inform the RSPCA.
    All the best.
  • Marmaduke123
    Marmaduke123 Forumite Posts: 793
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper
    This lady started feeding what she thought was a stray (no collar) so shame on the people that have told this lady that she should not!!! She has every right to not want to take on full responsibility for the cat. I would advise that you slowly start to feed it less each day then it should return home.
    No collar does not mean a cat is a stray!
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