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Old 11.12.2015, 13:12
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Need advice--cat ownership question!

Hi Everyone

I'm completely new here and hope some of you might have some pointers for dealing with a "permanent visitor" of ours....

For over a year, we've had a sweetheart of a cat hanging around ours. After the first month of this, and not having seen any posters or announcements for her, I undertook the task of trying to find out if she had an owner. Long story short, I did. I went to the owner and informed her that the cat was at ours, told her that I'd been letting her in to visit, etc. The owner didn't seem much concerned about it-- when I asked if I should stop doing it, she said, "No, that's fine, just don't feed her." So I did as asked, and also stopped letting her come in. We went on to get our own kitten. I thought that eventually the cat would go back to her owner, and she did, but she still spent a huge chunk of time in our garden. Then in May, she took to crying outside our bedroom window all night. I ran into the owner at Coop shortly afterwards, and she told me that the cat wouldn't come home anymore because her other cat had run our permanent visitor off. I told her again the cat had been at ours, and invited her over for a coffee so that she could see her/take her home. She never came by. Meanwhile... well, I'm sure you get the picture.

We've been feeding her since summer, and when the weather turned cold she wanted to come in and we let her. I let her out four or five times a day, but she never seems to go far and always comes back to us. Needless to say, we love her and she loves us. The question is, what do I do now? How does it work in Switzerland-- does the cat get to decide who her owner will be? Am I obligated to yet again go back to the owner and ask her if she wants the cat back, or if we can adopt her? Please help--any advice is appreciated.
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Old 11.12.2015, 13:32
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

In law, you cannot just 'take' the cat. Were the owners to push for it (unlikely, but nonetheless) that could be construed as theft.

(We all know that many people in Switzerland blithely ignore most animal law, but it really would be best to follow it, for the cat's sake.)

You have already established and acknowledged that there is an owner, so this goes beyond a case of adopting a stray*.

What I would do would be to meet with the owner again and ask her to sign the cat over to you. Point out that you have paid 'X' for the cat's upkeep, the cat is happy with you, she has admitted that the cat cannot live in her home, etc.

Is the cat chipped and registered in ANIS? If so there is an official form to transfer ownership that the owner should fill out.

Even if not chipped and registered, get something from the owner in writing.

If the owner agrees to transfer ownership to you, then please get the cat chipped (if not already done) and registered (and or registration transferred) in your name.

---


*If the cat were a stray, the proper procedure would be to notify the cantonal Meldstelle, via the Tierdatenbank here, under 'gefunden' https://www.tierdatenbank.ch/de/tiere.html or through the Tiermeldzentrum, here http://stmz.ch/de/ or call the cantonal Meldstelle and make a report via phone.

Both fulfill the legal obligation to report a found pet. And yes, the legal obligation applies to cats.

There is then a 60 day Frist before a stray pet can be adopted. The Frist begins from the date one registers a found pet with the cantonal Meldstelle. If one wishes to adopt a stray, one should express that wish to adopt the cat with the Meldstelle, explain that the cat would live with you in the interim, get agreement to that. After the 60 day Frist has expired without an owner claiming the animal, one should then confirm with the Meldstelle that the cat is indeed available for adoption. IF so, chip the cat and register to you.
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Old 11.12.2015, 13:37
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

Thanks, Meloncollie. You've confirmed my gut instinct.
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Old 11.12.2015, 13:45
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

You poor luv!
I've just been through exactly the same situation in the U.K., literally weeks before we moved here. Luckily, my brother is a retired barrister and my best mate is a police sargeant, so I had both of them nagging me to contact the owner and keepm trying until we had resolution. I also spoke to two vets about the situation, both of whom said they would refuse to start the pet passport process until I could prove the legal owner had consented for the cat to be taken out of the country, or sold her to me.
Legally, I can't comment on the Swiss system, but in the U.K., a cat is classed as property. My mate said to repeat my concerns to myself but substituting 'motorbike' for 'cat' to take the emotion away and concentrate on the legal reality of the situation.
My visitor was a massive, beautiful, affectionate Maine Coon. Our house had a private walled garden to the front and she began sleeping under my car in April and taking food from the bird table / squirrel feeder. He coat was very matted so I wouldn't let her in the house as she had fleas, but treated her for this. I asked my landlord about her, and he didn't know who the owner was, but she was a regular visitor at his house too. Then, whilst we were on holiday in August, the owner leafletted the area looking for her, and my landlord led them to her.
We got home and she was on the doorstep again, but we had an address for the owner this time. When the owner finally responded to the second of my letters, it turned out that she and her husband had a dog and seven cats (they have a manor house with a few acres of land), and she was recovering from cancer so had let the issue with this cat fall by the wayside.
The cat was collected and I cried like a baby. I'm a dog lover, but this cat was different. A week later, she was back on the doorstep. She was collected again but was back a week later. Cheeky beggar sneaked in and woke me up by lying on my chest and meowing at the top of her lungs.
She was collected again and kept at home until we'd moved. Nobody understood why she had decided to move house and choose us as her new people, and leaving her sister behind, but she did.
If you want to make your situation permanent, you need to draft a letter saying that you have the owner's permission to take over ownership, and preferably for a token ammount of a few Francs. Get both parties to sign, and she should be legally yours.

Good luck!
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Old 11.12.2015, 13:52
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

Thank you, Blueangel! Oh, I can't imagine how that must have felt for you.

I have to admit that I'm a bit upset that the owner just doesn't seem to care about this animal, and I feel more than a bit of trepidation in going over there again. But I feel responsible for her, and I know I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and do it.
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Old 11.12.2015, 13:53
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

People don't own cats ..... cats just humour humans, by letting us believe that we are actually responsible for them, and that they couldn't survive without us, whereas in reality a cat can turn feral quite easily and in a relatively short time, being able to fend for itself.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:01
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

True. Very, very true.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:12
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

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I have to admit that I'm a bit upset that the owner just doesn't seem to care about this animal, and I feel more than a bit of trepidation in going over there again. But I feel responsible for her, and I know I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and do it.
You do.

I used to get so angry about the neglect that had caused this cat's coat to become so matted, but then I met the owners and got to know the cat's history (she was a excellent hunter whilst her sister was a prima donna and hardly went outdoors).

Cat's will choose who they want to live with, and I will never feed a cat that isn't mine again.

If it's any help, our cat's owner said she would have gladly let us keep her if we hadn't been leaving the country. It would have been one less issue to worry about for them.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:17
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

Amen baby-- of all the cats that have gone through our garden that never got fed, I took pity on this one. I know fully well it's a problem of my own making, so I'm just going to screw up my courage and go over there this afternoon. Fingers crossed that I don't get blasted.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:33
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

Hope it all goes well for you.
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Old 11.12.2015, 15:03
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Need advice--cat ownership question!

That's true as I have the same experience in Canton Zurich 3 yrs ago,
meet the cat near the garbage area and seems she was hungry for food,
I feed her with the cat stick, then every morning and evening time,
she is waiting for me at the same place and I feed her the package food as well.
The kids around told me the cat's owner is a old lady but I tried to find her but failed. During the rain, snow and cold weather, she even following me to the
front door of my apartment, then, I try took her into my apartment. I will took her outside in the morning and take her back in when I back to home.
3 years already, nobody was asking or posting for the missing cat, I felt upset of the owner's behavior toward their pet, but I'm happy to live together with her.
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Old 11.12.2015, 15:23
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I'm happy to know that you and your cat have had a happy end to the story!

OKAY... UPDATE:

I've just returned home from the owner's. Grateful to say we had a nice chat and she wasn't at all upset with me! I asked if we could transfer ownership, and she very kindly agreed. She's going to come tomorrow with the immunisation papers and I'm going to see if that form for changing owners for chipped cats is online to fill out.

Thanks to everyone here for taking the time to share this information with me! You've really helped out, and made my day quite a bit sunnier!

Last edited by glowjupiter; 13.12.2015 at 01:44. Reason: Merged posts - please use multiquote button.
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Old 11.12.2015, 17:13
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

Congratulations on a great outcome for all!!! please let us see a piccie of your new (well, not so new) friend when you have a chance.
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Old 11.12.2015, 18:13
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Sure! Here's our lovely girl:

Obviously she isn't always sideways.
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Last edited by glowjupiter; 11.12.2015 at 18:32. Reason: Merged posts - please use multiquote button.
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Old 11.12.2015, 18:28
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

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Obviously she isn't always sideways.
But she is always lovely.

So thrilled that you've had a happy outcome.
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Old 11.12.2015, 19:30
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

She is beautiful, give her my hugs and kisses.

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Sure! Here's our lovely girl:

Obviously she isn't always sideways.
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Old 11.12.2015, 22:31
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

Will do, definitely!

By the way, just as an FYI to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation-- when it comes to transferring ownership of a chipped cat, it seems that it's the previous vet who has to initiate and fill out the form. I found this out when speaking with my vet's office this afternoon. While the receptionist gladly made an immunisation appointment for me (she's a bit overdue, I learned), she informed me that the last vet who saw her is the one that needs to send over that ANIS form. It isn't at all downloadable online.

Hope this might help someone in the future!
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Old 12.12.2015, 14:46
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Re: Need advice--cat ownership question!

My Jimmy just moved in one night. I even rolled down the shutter to block him out. Nasty, i know.

I was getting to love that silly cat that jumped a meter in the air chasing butterflies. His owners left him all alone with a cat flap over Christmas.

He moved into mine, and never left. I have told this story here before - the woman thought he was a she. And when she found out that his balls had dropped - threw her arms in the air...no more males in my flat.

So, Savannah became jimbo and gave so much affection... and love. He even disappeared for eight months and still came home.

He is not with me now, but the memories of a cat that just arrived in our lives and took over still lives on.
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