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



  • J_F
    J_F Forumite Posts: 6
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    The neighbour may not be annoyed that you don’t want to adopt the cat…but might in fact be annoyed that you’ve encouraged the cat to live as though it’s yours (by feeding/ letting it into your house), but having done that you now don’t want to adopt or take responsibility for the cat, or the situation created.

    It seems your decision to feed/ allow the cat in has now unfortunately created an issue, whereas it may have been better if you’d spoken with the owner beforehand to make them aware of the food issue 
    (as the owner may have assumed the cat was eating enough, & just not initially realised it was getting its food elsewhere) & to give them a chance to address it without creating the awkward position you now find this has caused – however, it may still be possible to speak with your neighbour to suggest this (at the same time as you gradually avoiding encouraging the cat so much), & hopefully the cat will revert to going home so the owner can take responsibility for it (if it's not what you want/ intend to do).
  • Mrs_Z
    Mrs_Z Forumite Posts: 1,086
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    To be honest, I think I would have done the same - if a thin cat turns up to our garden, I would feed it.
    If the cat comes from a multi-pet household, it might not get enough food, love and care at home and most cats prefer quiet homes anyway.
    Key here is to have another conversation with the owner - why were they so keen for you to adopt the cat? Maybe because they are struggling with the number of pets already but cannot bring themselves to re-home the cat otherwise.  Also, given the cost of living crises at present, re-homing facilities are full to the brim. 
    Since you have certain affection for the cat as you are feeding it, the best scenario would be for you to adopt it, but as you know this comes with additional costs - vet bills etc.  It's just the way it is with pets. You could get insurance for that, but that is not free either. There are some charities which I believe would be able to assist with vet bills, if you are on low income.
    We have 4 cats at present and wouldn't be without them. Vet bills and all. They are totally worth it.
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Forumite Posts: 34,018
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Savvy Shopper!
    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!
    No, it doesn't. None of my cats ever wore a collar - but all were micro-chipped before they were old enough to go out.

    And 'skinny' does not mean a cat is malnourished:
    Pollycat said:
    One of my cats probably had some Siamese in her although she was a grey tabby.
    Very vocal, very agile and graceful (she once ran up the rough pebble-dashing from the roof of the porch onto the roof of our Victorian semi), pointy face & big ears, long legs, super-long tail, long, thin body.
    Some people may have thought she was underweight but she definitely wasn't.

  • littlemoney
    littlemoney Forumite Posts: 785
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper
    Stop feeding it and stop the cat from coming into your house. He will eventually go elsewhere. They are scoungers who will go anywhere for an easy meal. Regarding pets, the saying is dogs have masters, cats have slaves.

  • Lollipop0
    Lollipop0 Forumite Posts: 2
    Third Anniversary First Post
    As others have stated, this is not a money dilemma. Both you and your neighbour ought to be ashamed of yourselves for your callous attitude to pet ownership. Please take the cat to a rescue centre where it can be cared for and rehomed with a person who genuinely wants a cat in their lives and is willing to take pet ownership and responsibilities seriously. Shame on you.
  • Lerennie
    Lerennie Forumite Posts: 6
    First Post
    You've got a very strange view of pet ownership when you say, "to me that just means paying vet bills."

    So it appears you want the companionship all the time that the cat offers, but none of the responsibilities that go with it?

    This isn't a money moral dilemma in my view, more an illustration of your personal morals. If I were the cat I'd quickly do one and get back home.
    Totally agree, no wonder your neighbour is annoyed. 
  • Gavin83
    Gavin83 Forumite Posts: 8,573
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    There are some very odd people on this part of the forum.

    You can't just take the cat to a shelter. It's not your cat. "The cat looked thin" seems to be a common excuse when someone feeds someone elses cat and 99% of the time it's fine. Cat's like eating. I'm just waiting for the follow up dilemma in a few months about whether you should report the neighbour for having an obese cat.

    People also generally act like they're completely innocent in all this and the cat just helped itself. You allowed the cat to enter your home. You fed it and encouraged it to keep coming back. You created this situation entirely and you could stop it if you so wish. But at the moment you're effectively getting a free cat with none of the responsibilities so I can see why you wouldn't want to change this.

    I know people who have given over a cat to a neighbour because it spent all it's time there. They weren't bad pet owners, in fact the opposite and they recognised that if the cat was happier with the neighbour it should probably stay there. However to basically keep the cat but expect the original owner to continue paying the support costs is taking the pee. Either take on the cat with all the responsibilities that entails or stop allowing it in your home.

    Also my cat has dietary requirements. I'd be fuming if I found out a neighbour was feeding it and it would likely lead to vet visits + the associated costs. I expect the neighbour who was feeding it wouldn't wish to take on these costs themselves though.

    Ultimately don't feed other peoples cats even if it looks 'sad'.
  • Danien
    Danien Forumite Posts: 24
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 8 March at 4:40PM
    I would be quite angry if someone started feeding my cat - as a responsible cat owner I feed my cats a high quality grain free diet which helps keep them healthy. If a neighbourhood cat started hanging around my house, I would put a temporary collar on the cat with my contact details on it to ask the owner to contact me, and use the neighbourhood forum online to find out who owned the cat and check it did have an owner. If no one came forward I would take to the vets to see if it had a microchip and seek advice on whether the cat was currently being fed from the vet. If the vet felt the cat wasn't being properly cared for and no owner had come forward, then I would arrange for the cat to be rehomed via a charity, if I was unable or unwilling to take the cat on myself.

    Is the neighbour feeding the cat and taking care of it properly? If not talk with the neighbour about rehoming with a charity such as cats protection. If you are both feeding the cat and is eating both lots of food with no weight gain or with weight loss, then the cat may have a serious medical issue which needs treatment.
  • Cez01
    Cez01 Forumite Posts: 1
    First Post
    Of the comments I've read here, very few seem to be empathetic. I understand it can be a difficult situation but some of it comes across as quite hot headed. Looking at the facts alone, I'd recommend for the op to go to the rspca website on feeding other people's pets. I think they say it best. The search terms below will get you there as I'm unable to post a link.

    rspca adviceandwelfare feedingpeoplespets
  • sheramber
    sheramber Forumite Posts: 17,519
    Ninth Anniversary 10,000 Posts I've been Money Tipped! Name Dropper
    It is only the OP's opinion the cat was skinny. My mother thought all my healthy, well fed dogs were skinny.

    When they begged for treats she was convinced they were straving.

    If it was skinny then the right thing to do was report it to the RSPCA  as neglected and let them investigate.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 338.9K Banking & Borrowing
  • 248.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 447.6K Spending & Discounts
  • 230.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 600.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 171.1K Life & Family
  • 244K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards