My kids gave a cat food. Now I think we have a cat


- In the garden we heard a cat meowing constantly

- I camped with kids in a tent in the garden and the cat was meowing all night

- In the morning cat was still there and meowing and wanting attention

- I thought maybe the cat was hungry

- Kids shared some of their lunch with the cat who ate it up very hungrily

- Next morning, cat is there again meowing for food and was given some of last night's leftovers

- Kids have been playing with the yesterday and this morning and the cat doesn't seem to want to leave

Is there any way of checking if the cat is chipped without taking it to a vet. Not sure if cat is feral or a pet. It seems quite friendly/docile.

Scanner. 31 CHF

Cats will go anywhere for food even if they have enough at home.
The golden rule is not to feed other people’s cats to avoid this. Plus, they may be on a special diet.

Let you kids play with the cat (if they do this carefully) but don’t feed it.

Also, if it‘s friendly with your kids the chances are that it has come from a home with kids who will likely be frantic if it‘s not been home for a while.

Report it. Someone might be desperately searching for it. There you can also find refuges that will care for the cat, if you choose not to adopt it.

According to this article Is There an App to Check If a Pet’s Chipped? (2023) ( these chips are NFC.

If you have a decent Android phone you could try this app NFC Tools - Apps on Google Play to check if any chip shows up. However, NFC is an umbrella term, so maybe the authors of the article should have written that Pet’s NFC chips are not compatible with Mobile’s NFC chip.

Most police stations will have scanners, as do most Tierheim, and of course all vets. If cost is what is making you hesitate about bringing the cat to a vet, most will scan a found cat without charge.

If you are in Basel, contacting TBB might be the easiest thing to do.

But if the reason you don’t want to take the cat someplace is that the cat doesn’t like being handled, or you don’t have a carrier, understandable. The police might come out to you… but be aware that this likely won’t be a priority. (Around here, police come to your house when you have found a dog, as all dogs are chipped. Response to found cats, because so few are chipped, seems a roll of the dice.)

Buying a scanner is the next step if you don’t want to bring the cat anywhere.

When scanning the cat, whether you do it yourself or someone else does, be aware that chips can travel. The usual place for a chip implant is the neck, on the left side. However if you don’t find one there, scan the whole cat, several times. I’ve found so many chips in odd places, many travel down farther on the chest - and once I found one in the leg. Vets and shelter staff are well aware of this, but others who don’t scan pets often, such as the police, might not be.

FYI - another reasons I harp on about going the official route is that most pet owners do not make their contact information public when registerig a chip. Sure, there are now apps and such to scan - but all that does is give you a chip number. You would then have to go to the Swiss databases, AMICUS for dogs and ANIS for cats ( ) to report the animal. If the owner contact details are not public, the adminstrators of the database contacts the owner.

Now my usual PSA on found animals:

Any finder has a duty to report the animal to the Swiss Tiermeldzentrum:

This is the official site in Switzerland.

You can do this online - and you can check for notices of lost cats that might fit this cat’s description.

It’s very important to do this, not only because you are required to under Swiss animal law but also because reporting starts the clock on the Frist for rehoming an abandoned pet.

And of course, this cat might not be abandoned, he might just be a wanderer who has owners looking for him. Scanning for a chip will help reunite owner and kitty - but filling out the STMZ report is the most important thing.

(If you get the cat scanned at a vet or shelter, they will likely do the report themselves.)

And of course, put up posters around the neighborhood.

Good on ya for caring about this cat.

And a final note:

This thread, and the earlier one about abandoned pets, show why it is so important to chip your cats, even though not required to by law. So cat people: if your cat is not chipped, please do so - and register the chip! (Chips are useless unless registered, something that happens far too often.) Chipping is an easy and inexpensive level of protection for your and your pet.

I agree with some of the others here -- I wouldn't assume that the cat has no owners. And cats will usually eat whenever they're given food. But I can certainly understand wanting to give it some food when it was clearly so hungry and seemed to be in distress with the constant meowing.

Perhaps you could make up a "Found" sign, with a photo of the cat, and hang copies of it around your neighborhood. Maybe also call some vets in your area to see if they might scan for chips for free or if they know anywhere that does.

A few years ago, there was what we thought was a stray cat in our neighborhood that would walk right into our living room when our garden door was open and perch itself onto our sofa. We would give it food sometimes. Then we found out that the cat actually belongs to the family of one of my son's classmates, and the mother was specifically asking people to NOT feed the cat because then it would stop coming home.

Edit: Sorry, I wrote and posted this before seeing Meloncollie's post above.

Our two girls are chipped and registered. One of our previous two was 18 when she was chased out of the village by a leash-less dog. Someone in the next village found her and took her to a vet who called us and put us in contact. She had been missing for over 5 days and we had given up hope.

Hooray! The chips work!

Honestly- just depends. Did you see the thread about so many pets being abandonned by owners to go on holiday, for instance. So it's good to check with neighbours about the cat, and get it checked if it is chipped- but in the meantime, do feed it, and make sure it has fresh water available.

Yes, good point. I had forgotten how cruel some people can be.

Wasn’t that in France?

Our next door neighbours are getting divorced. They had two cats. Now in the cats home. I helped her catch them to get them in the cats boxes. Poor kitties.

Beautiful animals - I’m sure they’ll be rehomed in no time. If anyone wants a kitty or two, I recommend in Muttenz. They’ve got a lovely black and white neutered tom and a female tabby.

The exact same thing happened to us at the start of the confinement during Covid (except we weren't camping out in the garden!) The weather was beautiful, whenever we were out, the cat was there too. Lots of stroking and sitting on our laps. Then we kept catching him eating food if it had been left out and thought it could be hungry. We went up and down the road asking people if they knew the cat - he wasn't hard to describe - orange with no tail! Very quickly we found he belonged to our next door but two neighbour who is a doctor at the local hospital and had been sleeping over at the hospital and only dashing back now and again to feed the cat. He asked if we would take over feeding the cat .. which we gladly did. And of course that then meant, the cat was ours! Although we didn't actually agree this upfront but a year later the cat got an abscess and I rang him up to ask which vet he uses, and at that point I said we would take the cat to the vet and should we re register the cat as ours. He agreed. Cat is now 15 years old and has become "Company Cat" and rarely leaves the garden at all. IT is really difficult to stop a cat coming to your house once the cat has decided you are its owners. To say nothing of the disappointment you would cause the kids.

Basically at the point you are at now, start knocking on doors - my next thought was to do signs and stick them up and also look on the local pet fb groups - but as it was so easy to find the owner, we never got that far.

The owner was amazingly sanguine about it and just said "cats choose their owners not the other way round".

To be fair if that was about cats, if the owner is away, even if you have set up everything for it to be cared for, the cat can easily decamp to someone else.

My neighbour opposite always laughs saying she knows when we are away because our adopted cat strolls over to their house and sits on their terrace and even bangs at the door to be let in. I pay a teen to come round twice a day to feed the cat/let him out and in and basically keep him company for an hour each time morning and evening and the cat strolls back over when he sees his teen arriving then streaks back to the neighbour when teen has gone. Cats have a mind of their own it would seem.

True. Cats can get quite bored or they just love getting attention which can be hard if you leave them when you away and someone else feeds them.

Seven years ago when we moved into This Old House, a sleek tuxedo cat sat for an hour every morning and evening in front of our glass french doors, mewing silently to get in. He was a handsome fellow, but we didn't feed him. Asked 3 neighbours who he was, and they told us he belonged to someone down the lane. Yes, they said, he sat in hour-long shifts at each of our houses twice a day, begging for food, which they all gave him. He eventually gave up on us, but I saw him a couple of months ago...he looked like he weighed about 10 kg!! (I never learned if the owner was *also* feeding him.)

When we bought the house here, we continued to live in UK for almost 1 year. One really good friend who loved our cats used to come twice a day, feed them, give them lots of cuddles. The first time we came to CH for 2 weeks- friend was distraught as one of the cats had not showed up for 5 days. The day after we returned- the neighbour 5 doors down, we didn't really know- rang the bell and asked 'do you have a very soft small black cat?' I explained that yes, we did, but that she had not returned home and we were very upset. 'Come with me' she said. She opened the door to their bungalow, and there was Silkie, spread out on their bed. Had coffee, took her home, and she stayed with us until we next came to CH to prepare our move. By day 2, she was at neighbour's, until we returned. And then she was shared ... When me made the big move, with one large dog on back seat, and 2 cats who dont get on in large cage in boot- we were concerned about the long drive. Our neighbour begged us to leave Silkie behind- and we did- upset but knowing she would have a very good life with them. They sent photos and up-date for many years, until she had to be pts due to kidney issue- aged about 18 (rescue so we didn't know exact age)...

But here in rural CH, there are so many strays- farm cats and others. So many people don't neuter their cats, and too many kittens who don't get a home...and many from over the border too, as we are so close. I also know people who go on holiday for 2, 3 or more weeks- and just leave them outside to fend for themselves, sadly.

I actually don't necessarily believe that theory that "cats choose their owners," but here's why...

The cat I mentioned earlier that was sometimes walk into our house through our garden door was doing the same thing to a neighbor friend of mine (who can be quite self-centered sometimes). She would continue to feed the cat even after knowing that the owners had asked for people to not do that. She also cut off the cat's collar because she thought it was too tight. And then she said that she thought the cat was hers now since it kept coming to her house.

As it turns out... The cat wasn't able to come back to its real owner's house because there was some kind of chip attached to its collar that made the cat door automatically open at their house. So because my neighbor had removed the collar, the cat wasn't able to get back inside its house. I guess the kids of the family who own the cat were devastated -- thinking they'd never see their cat again and having no idea where it was, figuring it must have been hit by a car somewhere. And here this neighbor friend of mine was trying to convince herself that the cat was hers now because it kept coming around.

Once I passed along the info to her that the cat wasn't able to get back into its actual home because she had removed the collar, and that the kids were devastated, etc., she tried to convince ME that I should return the cat to them on her behalf because basically she wanted to avoid being "caught" for removing the collar (and clearly wanted me to take the blame for it instead -- even demanding that I not "rat her out." ).

So finally, we ended up buying a new collar for the cat, re-attaching the chip to it and taking the cat over to near its new home one night, like ninjas, and put the cat near their door and then waited to make sure it was (finally!) able to get back into its home safely. The kids there must have been elated to finally see their kitty again!

Anyways, I guess the moral of the story is that cats don't always necessarily choose their owners. And sadly, sometimes people can consider a cat as being "theirs" now just because it keeps coming around for food and attention, even though its real owners might be very distraught and very much missing their cat.

We technically have two cats but in reality we have 3.

The neighbour’s cat who has a perfectly good home and is well fed and looked after has decided she rather likes our place and spends a lot of time here.

The food here is the same as at home so that’s not the reason, she has just decided she prefers it here. She never sleeps overnight here but spends most of her days here.

Our neighbour finds it amusing and jokes that if she wants to see more of their cat she just has to come here for a coffee. On the tiger hand one if ours has taken to going into her place and snacking on their cat’s food.

Cats choose where they want to be.

Our cat flap is programmed with the cats' RFID chips so only they can come in the house.

A bit more about the legal aspect of feeding a neighbor’s cat, from Tier Im Recht Foundation:

“What do I do when the neighbor feeds my cat?”…atze-anfttert/

DeepL translation, with my bolding:

Feeding other people’s animals is not generally prohibited either by animal protection law or by the Criminal Code. As long as neighbouring cats are fed only occasionally and of course only with harmless food, the “offender” has no legal consequences to fear.

However, if he feeds other people’s pets regularly or even systematically, this may well have legal consequences. If one’s own cat comes home only sporadically or not at all for a longer period of time, this means not only a substantial intrusion into the emotional world and privacy of the cat owner but also into his position as owner, which includes the right to spend as much time as possible with the animal. By luring a cat away, the owner is therefore harmed.

If a clarifying conversation with the neighbour does not lead to a result, legal action can be taken and the outside feeding can be prohibited. Because a cat belongs to the property of the animal owner, it can also be demanded from the neighbour. In serious cases, the criminal offences of “deprivation of property” and “unlawful appropriation” can also be applied, for which a neighbour can at least theoretically be sentenced to imprisonment or a fine.

Sure, we all know that cats wander, and of course there is the old adage (myth?) that cats choose their owners.

But the issue in law is one of property. ‘Tier sind kein Sachen’, but they still are property. And one cannot simply ‘appropriate’ someone else’s property.

So if a cat shows up, assume first that there is an owner and take steps, including the STMZ report, to find that person. Don’t feed the cat unless there are medical* or weather related reasons to do so.

If the cat’s owner is known, and that person asks you to stop feeding the cat, you must do so. The cat still belongs to the old owner, regardless of the cat’s preference for your sunny terrace.

Yes, in all reality it is quite unlikely that you will find yourself in legal trouble if you feed a cat who shows up at your house. … but be aware that if the owner has repeatedly asked you to stop, your actions could be seen as luring the cat from it’s owner, which is a form of theft. As farfetched as it seems, the legal possibility is there. Why take such a risk? Find a reasonable solution with the cat’s owner.

  • Re: Medical concerns with a found cat:

Because you are not the owner, you do not have authority to authorize non-emergency veterinary treatment. If you find a cat, or any animal, in need of medical treatment get the animal emergency help, of course, but make sure the vet knows that you are the finder, not the owner. When in doubt, a vet has the authority to authorize treatment needed. This usually comes up with finding a severely injured animal. A finder should not authorize euthanasia, for instance - leave that decision to the vet.

Also be aware that if you seek treatment for a pet animal that is not yours, you are liable for the costs. (In most cases, there are some exceptions.) You can ask the owner to reimburse you, but they are not obligated to do so, as you are the one who authorized treatment, not them.

(But if you have the means to help, consider it a deposit in the Bank Of Karma.)

Help animals where needed and within your abilities/means, of course, but IME an understanding of how Swiss animal law works helps you help them.