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Old 06.02.2021, 10:59
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A stray(?) cat in rutting time

Hello,

So I found a possibly stray cat about a month ago. I had seen the cat many times near my workplace and went around asking the people living nearby if anyone knows anything about the cat. I was told she is always around there and sleeping in a random carage often. At the time it was really cold outside (below zero) so i called the local animal shelter.

They advised me to take the cat in for now and send them a picture of the cat. They said the cat is probably from 5-8 years old. Then asked me if i could have the cat at my place until they have found out if she has an owner. And that they are gonna upload the picture i sent to their website on found pets.

Now it has been around 4 weeks and i've heard nothing. Just checked the website of the shelter and the picture of this cat is not even there. Last night the cat started acting as if she was having the heat.

She seems otherwise fine and pretty healthy luckily but i have no idea what to do now. I am shocked that this cat at her age and obviously being an outdoor cat has not been castrated. I have noticed that people here do keep their cats outdoors freely but i had assumed that they would of course have to be castrated if kept outdoors.

I am pretty sure the cat at least has had a home in the past if not currently, since she is quite friendly with people and allowed me to come close ammediately when i first saw her. Also knew right away how to use a litter box etc. What really surpised me is that the cat does not show any interest in going outside.

Is there another place where i could try to search for an owner since the shelter does not seem to be doing anything to find them? I don't understand why the shelter would take the picture down and not informing me at all about what is going on? The phone number of this shelter is closed right now.

I am allowed to take the cat to a vet for castration even if its not my cat?

If anyone knows what to do in this kind of situation, i would really aporeciate the help!
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Old 06.02.2021, 12:29
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

You have to decide if you want to keep the cat.

If not, take it in a box or suitable carrier to a vet or animal shelter. She should be chipped and the owners contacted. Chipped or not you can leave the cat with them.

If you want to keep it, again visit a vet to get it scanned for a chip so the owners can be contacted. If they don't want it you can get the chip details changed with the original owner's permission.
If there is no chip, get her chipped and checked over, neutered etc.
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Old 06.02.2021, 12:58
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

Thank you very much for your reply.
Do you happen to know what usually happends if the cat is not chipped and does not have an owner and is left to a shelter?
Do they search a new home for the cat? Sorry i don't have a lot of knowlegde in these things here since i am very new to switzerland. Thank you again!
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Old 06.02.2021, 13:19
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

They try to find a new home for it- but sometimes it can take a very long time- or not at all. Some of the cats at our local refuges have been there for many years.

Last edited by JackieH; 06.02.2021 at 13:40.
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Old 06.02.2021, 13:29
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

Also put up an ad at the local grocery store saying you've found a cat and include its photo. Maybe someone is looking for it.
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Old 06.02.2021, 13:32
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

First, a quick run down of the legalities around homeless animals:

You cannot just keep a 'found' pet animal. Doing so without going through the proper procedures could be construed as theft. So in the interest of doing what is right for both the animal and for you, following proper procedures is key.

All found animals must be reported to the proper authority. The easiest way to do so is via the Schweizerische Tiermeldezentral website, here:

https://www.stmz.ch/de/

The question arises whether the shelter you called did so, or not. Speaking generally, putting the cat on the shelter's own website and not on the STMZ would not meet lthe legal requriement. (Always allowing for the possibility of exceptions, TIS, but I don't know of any...)

Did you sign any sort of contract or acknowlegement with the shelter, or do you have any paperwork from them?

You should browse the 'Katzen gefunden' section of the STMZ, see if a cat that resembles the one you found is listed there, or search by the name of the shelter you contacted. That would be listed under the dossier for the cat, likely under Aufenthaltsort.

If you were not given a case number for the official report, you have no proof that the shelter did so... so if the shelter is unreachable, you might have to assume they did not and start the process yourself all over again. As a private person you can make an report via STMZ.

I stress this because reporting to STMZ (or the cantonal Veterinämt) is the mechanism that starts the clock. There is a waiting period of 60 days before one is allowed to keep a found animal.

The whole point of the reporting system is that this 60 days gives the legal owner a chance to find his or her pet.

---



If you choose to take it upon yourself to follow the correct legal procedure, your first stop would be to a vet (or police station, but not all have this capability) to have the cat scanned for a chip. Again, this is a very important step in identifying whether or not the cat has a legal owner.

If the cat is chipped, the next step is to see if the chip was registered in ANIS. If so, then you or the vet should report to ANIS here:

https://www.anis.ch
Anis would then try to contact the registered owner.

----

If you decide that you want to keep the cat should a legal owner not be found, then you have to wait the 60 days from reporting to STMZ. (This is why the case number is important.)

During that 60 day period, if you choose voluntarily to care for the cat you are required to provide all that the cat needs - food, medical care if necessary, etc.

You do this voluntarily. If an owner comes forward withing the 60 days, the owner is not required to pay you back for the money spent. Obviously you can ask, and any decent human being would gratefully reimburse you for caring for his pet. But not all pet owners are decent human beings, unfortunately.

In this 60 day period, you cannot have the cat castrated - because you are not the legal owner. Seriously. I know that it is in the cat's best interest, but you have no right to authorize a non-essential surgery in this waiting period. If a vet felt there was an immediate medically indicated need for castration, the vet could, on their authority, do the surgery, btw. But you as the finder, with no legal ownership, could not castrate an otherwise healthy animal.

----

Now - if you do not wish to take on the expense or responsibity for the cat during the 60 day waiting period, the best thing to do is to bring the cat to a shelter. They would then house the cat and take on the legal responsibilities (reporting, care and feeding) during the waiting period. You could express your interest in adopting the cat after the waiting period has expired, but be aware that every shelter operates on it's own policies, that would be a discussion with the shelter.

---

To be honest, I am perplexed by the actions to date from the shelter you contacted in the first place... Is it possible that there was a misunderstanding? Do you know when they will be reachable again so that you could verify what has, or has not, been done?

---
So - if you want to keep the cat, perhaps reporting to STMZ yourself is the best bet, to get the clock officially started.

---

If you don't want to keep the cat, and if you are not able to reach the shelter in a reasonable time (say, by the end of next week, unless other info is posted on their website), I'd start over with another shelter. I know of a couple good ones in the ZH area, can you travel that far?


----

Were it me, I'd also make a flyer to post around your neighborhood, including a picture of the cat. It shows a good faith effort to find an owner, should you consider keeping the cat. Posting these on Robidogs is a good way to get info out, btw. Check Gemeinde regs for where posters are forbidden, though.

---

If you decide to keep the cat, once the 60 days has elapsed and you are the legal owner, please have the cat castrated and chipped - and please register the chip in ANIS.

---

Good for you for trying to help this cat, Hope there is a happy ending - you are a good person.




ETA:

Forgot the most obvious point:

If you think the cat is in estrus, please keep her inside for the time she is fertile. (Cat people - how long is that?)

Last edited by meloncollie; 06.02.2021 at 14:23.
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Old 06.02.2021, 15:14
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

Thank you so so so much for all this info. I had no idea about all this. I apparently stupidly thought that because the people from shelter just told me to wait, i would not have to report it further.

I find it unlikely that it was a misunderstanding because i talked to them 4 times in 3 days a row and explained the situation. The person i was speaking was quite fluent in english also. I find it weird too. They are available again on monday so i will give them a call then and see whats up.

I will post also flyers on the ocal shops, that is a good idea and i hope it will lead me to the owner! Thank you again so much!
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Old 06.02.2021, 15:33
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

If the shelter has taken the cat under their 'Obhut', then you shouldn't have to do any more, they should do the official reporting, etc.

When you talk to them on Monday, ask if they have reported the cat to STMZ (or the Veterinäramt) and if so when, and clafify exactly what the relationship is between you, them, and the cat.

Then if you are interested in keeping the cat, ask when the cat would officially be available for adoption.

Also, while you, as a private person who is not the owner, cannot authorize having the cat castrated, if the cat were indeed officially under the egis of the shelter they might be able to do. You could ask about this.

However - bearing in mind I have little knowledge of cats (dogs are my thing) - if the cat is in, or coming into, estrus, is castration recommended at this point?

I ask because with dogs whenever possible we try to avoid spaying during estrus because the swelling can present an additional surgical challenge. It is generally thought to be safer to wait until the mid point between seasons, ca 3 months after the end of the last estrus. But that's dogs - so cat people, what say you?

Anyhoo... hope it all gets clarified on Monday. Thanks for going the extra mile to help this cat.
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Old 06.02.2021, 15:41
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

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However - bearing in mind I have little knowledge of cats (dogs are my thing) - if the cat is in, or coming into, estrus, is castration recommended at this point?

I ask because with dogs whenever possible we try to avoid spaying during estrus because the swelling can present an additional surgical challenge. It is generally thought to be safer to wait until the mid point between seasons, ca 3 months after the end of the last estrus. But that's dogs - so cat people, what say you?
It can be done but most vets would rather avoid it if at all possible.
Ideally you should wait for at least three weeks after a season before spaying a cat.
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Old 08.02.2021, 13:52
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

You could contact the cantonal veterinary, for St.Gallen that's avsv.sg.ch

They can give you a rundown on the legal situation, recommended way forward including castration/spaying, and if there's someone you should contact to find out who the previous owners are. No need to worry about using English, they'll manage.
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Old 08.02.2021, 14:06
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

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However - bearing in mind I have little knowledge of cats (dogs are my thing) - if the cat is in, or coming into, estrus, is castration recommended at this point?
Cat oestrus lasts about 6 days. Vets don't like to do neutering during this time as there's increased blood flow so there's a greater chance of a bleed.

(British English terms used because I'm stubborn like that )
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Old 08.02.2021, 14:33
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

I think you have not accepted the fact that you are now a cat owner - this is how it always begins. If she does not have a chip, might as well give her a name and take ownership.

Adopting a fur ball always brings good karma into your life.
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Old 08.02.2021, 19:41
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

Maybe you could try to put the collar with your phone number on the cat. If the cat has an owner, they will notice the collar and call you. This is what our neighbors did when our cat was alwats sitting in their garden and they didn’t know who’s cat it was.I am very glad that they found the way to contact me.
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Old 12.02.2021, 13:56
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Re: A stray(?) cat in rutting time

How did it go?
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