Is This Your Cat?


From a reader:

“Long story short – I found an unaltered male tiger wandering around the house on the corner, also 4000 block of New Hampshire. He’s big – maybe 12-15 lbs, can be sweet to me but grumpy to other people, and can be assertive and territorial around dogs – my roommates say he only likes me. He’s litter trained, and well-fed, so I’m wondering if he’s someone’s pet, and hoping you could post on your blog asking if someone’s misplaced an orange tiger, and if so, can they contact me at [email protected]

31 Comment

  • This beautiful cat looks just like my female gold tabby named Goldie, who already has 2 other cat friends in our house.

  • this bothers me to no end…why do people keep other people’s pets? The cat is probably an indoor/outdoor cat and can’t make it home b/c you have it trapped inside your house.

  • If the finder takes it to the DC animal shelter, they can scan it to see if it has a microchip. That would be far more effective than sending notices to blogs.

  • I’m the one who found the cat – he has no collar, so he may not be someone’s pet, and finding him was a total accident. he was hanging around my neighbor’s yard for a day or so, and he hasn’t tried to get out, so I don’t think he’s used to going in and out. And I apologize – but it’s a nasty world out there, so I’m leery to let him out into the world without some kind of evidence that he’s someone’s pet. It would break my heart if something happened to him if I let him out. And I do intend to take him to be scanned, but it’s unlikely – people who care enough about their cats to microchip them typically get them neutered unless the cats are show specimans – unneutered males spray.

  • Nora, I agree with you, it was a smart move to keep him safe for the time being. our cat is microchipped – I think any of the animal shelters or Friendship Animal Hospital will scan him for free. If nobody claims him, he sounds adoptable, rather than incorrigably feral. The Washington Humane Society, or WARL may be of assistance (and WARL does not euthanize). Hopefully someone will come forward, and you can give them a lecture about neutering the cat. 😉 Good luck, and keep us posted! He’s a cutie.

  • You did the absolutely right thing — if it’s been wandering the same spot for a day and had no tags, taking him in and trying to find the owner is the safe and responsible decision. Do try to see if there’s a microchip and attempt some other ways of finding the owners, though by allowing their unaltered, untagged cat to wander the city they may not even care enough to look.

  • It isn’t possible to tell 100% from the photo but it looks like this cat is in very very good shape–no scars or scratches or torn claws and a very clean healthy coat. Probably an indoor cat, and probably a pet.

    The lack of tags, I don’t think, is a sign that it isn’t cared or loved for by its owner. Most shelters and vets recommend ‘breakaway’ collars so that in the event that the cat gets outdoors and is snagged on a tree or branch or fence, they can get free and won’t die or become injured in the process. It does somewhat negate the purpose of wearing a collar, but nonetheless, this is what most vets recommend. It is what my cat wears.

  • Good on you Nora. Totally the right thing to do, as long as you notify the shelters so the owners might find him. Indoor cats do escape sometimes without collars. And people who let their cats wander outside are cat-killers anyway and shouldn’t get him back.

  • Anonymous – good point about the collar. So what do you think I should do? Again, I don’t want to let him out without knowing he has a home somewhere. I’ve put up fliers, and I gave one to a police officer at a nearby street fair. I’ve been asking the local kids, and I intend to call the WHS tomorrow and see if they’ve had any calls. Do you have any other suggestions?

  • I’d put him out and see where he goes. Cats tend to stay within a limited radius of their primary shelter and food source. If you can figure out where he’s from and you’re up for it, I’d see if you can help the owners get him neutered. The Humane Society has information about low cost or free spay/neuter programs.

    This is timely because I’m planning to put together an upcoming post regarding management of feral cat colonies in DC. There are a lot of kittens currently available for adoption.

  • What I’d do? I’d take him to the shelter. If he’s microchipped they can locate the owners.

    And if not, the owners, if they want him, are going to go to the shelter straight away to see if he’s been turned in. If you continue to hang on to him, even if you post signs and notify the neighborhood bloggers and knock on neighbors’ doors, there’s a chance you won’t connect with the owner. And if you do eventually drop him off at the shelter, the owners may have already given up looking there, meaning he’ll be stuck in a cage for months waiting for a new owner to adopt him.

  • the hell with the anonymous posters. you’ve done the right thing. if some irresponsible pet owner has let their cat run free in Petworth, they don’t deserve a pet.

  • I have to admin, I let my cat out everyday and she has no collar. I’d about have a heart attack if someone kept her for some reason and I didn’t know where she was. Cats are not dogs. Dogs will get picked up in a heartbeat by the DC gov or possibly hit. dogs should never be out on their own. they can hurt people. Cats on the other hand know their way home. My mom had a cat that she tried to drop off twice at a farm 10 miles from our house and twice it came home.

    one thing it could be is if a family was taking care of the cat but moved. I’ve had friends tell me stories like that. they looked everywhere but had to go.

    I’m a cat person. she’s a cute cat. you should let her out and see what she does.

  • For every cute “my cat crossed miles of dense forest and fields of grain to make it home” story, there are 100 “my cat got run over/mauled by dogs” stories, as well as 200 “we never saw Fluffy again, but we are sure someone stole her” stories which, if the truth were known would be 175 crushed/mauled endings, 24 “look at that feral cat and her scrawny diseased kittens in the alley” stories and one “nice person took in a cat that was wandering around unattended” story.

    Cats in the city should not be left outside unattended. Period.

  • dont return it until it’s fixed. people who let their unfixed cats roam around = LAME

  • I agree with anonymous 8:06 – DC is not some pastoral glade where cats can live long, healthy lives outdoors. Besides cars/trucks/buses, there are feral cats, pitbulls, rock-throwing kids, and other dangers.

    The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 16 years. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 6 years.

  • I agree you did a good thing. I would also encourage you for the scan and to drop off your fliers at the shelter. If you don’t hear anything look into placing the cat with WARL which is technically a “no-kill”… you are doing the right thing and your karma is much better off for doing this.

  • saf

    You did the right thing. You’re doing the right thing.

    Notify the shelters and keep doing what you’re doing.

  • I think I may have seen this cat — is he pale orange, almost peach colored? I had an unfixed boy cat hanging out with our porch pets (fixed feral cats we take care of) very close to you (4100 block of 7th). There is an organization called Metro Ferals that will trap-neuter-release cats, and help get them adopted if they are tame. if this guy is someone’s pet it is their obligation to get him neutered if he goes outside; if he has no collar and isn’t fixed I think he’s fair game for someone who wants to take care of him and find him a home. I would post some fliers to see if anyone claims him and then do what you can. I also think there’ no chance he’s microchipped – unfixed male cats spray urine to mark their territories. Why would anyone leave him like that but also microchip him?

  • Yes, his is pale and peached colored! Oh good, it’s good to know I haven’t kidnapped someone’s cat.

    I took him to PetSmart this morning – he’s not microchipped. I’m going to call WARL and and WHS today to see if anyone’s been looking for him, and if not, next week I’ll call WARL, Homeward Trails, or Metro Feral and see if anyone can help him get a home. I would keep him, but I already have two cats, two roommates and a dog, and a third cat – as wonderful as he is (even if he does like to assert his alpha cat-ness) is a little much.

  • Sounds llike a nice kitty. I adopted a feral cat that was living off of Thomas Circle. He is sweet, gentle, and loving, though a bit skittish, and has even gotten fat since he has been under my roof. Nora is doing a good thing. I hope the WARL can find him a home. Male ferals sometimes make good house pets.

  • At least that’s what my kids think I am. There was a stray who kept coming to our backyard for months. She let me pet her and even brush her, as she was long haired. She would jump up on the blue recycling bin and let me take a brush to her. I strated feeding her and then one day let her into the basement cause it was cold outside. The rest is history, as we took her to the vet, found out that she had been spayed and was in fact a female, and got her her shots. So I guess we too adopted a feral cat, but I think she had belonged to someone. She is too gentle and sweet to be some tough alley cat. So now we have three cats.

  • It’s worth noting that if you take him to the shelter and they don’t find his owner and he isn’t adopted, he will be euthanized (put plainly they will kill him).

    Alley Cat Allies takes care of a lot of the feral cats in Columbia Heights, including ensuring neutering and feeding. Give them a call. They may also already know something about the cat.

  • Alley Cat Allies are a total pain in the asses of my whole block. They leave piles of food out 24/7 which is essentially a rat buffet, and the damn cats shit and piss and dig in my vegetable garden and hock up hairballs all over my deck.

    The only difference between stray cats and stray rats is the tyranny of cuteness, if you’re worried about cat welfare, you should be equally worried about rat welfare, or pigeon welfare, or liver flukes. Life is life.

    Keep your cats indoors. Outdoor cats = smear on the road and trauma for all.

  • Victoria, regardless of your personal issues, they may know something about this cat.

  • um, rats spread diseases and will actually colonize your home’s interior (not to mention the interiors of restaurants you frequent). cats do not.

  • It could be this cat was and indoor cat whose owner got into difficulties, got tired, or moved to a no pet place so instead of taking the cat to a shelter like a decent owner would, it was just dumped because “cats can take care of themselves.”

  • There is a missing cat on 12th st, just north of Rhode Island. I saw a poster a few days ago for a missing cat in front of a house. Looked similar to me, but I’m no expert.

  • Victoriam: Our cat alerted us to a mouse hole behind the fridge this weekend and caught a mouse when we were living in Columbia Heights – I’d like to see a rat do that.

  • Wow, Nora. I had to post after reading some of the anonymous posters saying that you did the wrong thing (although, obviously, more people feel that you did the right thing).

    Anyone that would allow an un-neutered cat to live as an indoor/outdoor cat, especially in the city, is irresponsible at best. Even an indoor cat should be fixed. You’ve probably prevented a few litters of unwanted kittens as well as saved quite a few birds. Thanks for being such a good neighbor.

  • I know this was posted awhile ago but I believe that cat lives somewhere on my block. I live on the 3900 block of New Hampshire. If you say he’s temperamental then I’m pretty sure its him because I haven’t seen him in awhile. He usually sits on the porch next door all day and hisses at half of the people who walk by.

    Also, as far as people going to the shelter to find their lost cat, it’s extremely rare. I think like only 20% of people end up claiming their cat from a shelter.

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