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We took in a stray cat, now his original owners have turned up.

Lemonbalm

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Just over a year ago a skinny looking cat started hanging around our garden, sitting there in all weathers like he had nowhere else to go. We fed him as he looked hungry, and he did seem to be starving. He started coming for food regularly, and after a few weeks he moved in. We did everything we could to find out if he belonged to anyone - we took him to the vets, who said he wasn’t microchipped. We spoke to the neighbours, and checked around the neighbourhood to see if anyone had put any posters up about a missing cat, but no one had. I checked on the Animal Search website to see if a cat matching his description had been reported missing, but none had. So we thought we were safe to assume the cat didn’t belong to anyone. We had him microchipped and neutered, and he now wears a collar with his name and our address on. Then a few weeks ago a couple came and knocked our door, and said he was their cat! They only live a couple of streets away, and they said they hadn’t seen the cat for a year until that morning when they saw him in the street, and got his new address from his collar. The man said he was just glad to know the cat is okay and is being looked after, but the woman basically wants her cat back. There has never been anything stopping the cat from returning to them, as he has a cat flap so he comes and goes whenever he wants to, but apparently he hasn’t gone back to see them at all for a year. We love the cat, he's part of our family now, but I suppose technically he does belong to them, as they had him first. However, the cat seems to have made the decision to live with us, so even if we tried to give him back to his previous owners, he would probably just keep coming back to us. We told them they are welcome to come and visit him, and we said he often sits outside the front of our house, so they could come and see him whenever they wanted to. The woman said she has walked round looking for him a few times, but hasn't seen him. She talks as if she thinks we are deliberately keeping him away from her, or we're doing something to stop him from going back to them, which is definitely not the case - we couldn’t keep him in even if we wanted to, as he’s used to going out. He sits outside our house a lot, and a couple of times I have tried texting the woman to tell her he's there so she can come and see him, but she always seems to be busy. I feel bad that she must have been worried about what had happened to her cat for all this time, and obviously if we had known he belonged to anyone we would never have taken him in. I just wondered if anyone else here has any thoughts about this situation, or has had a similar experience?
 

JJW

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You have a record of ownership. They have nothing but their claim. How can you know it was ever their cat? Legally it is your cat. Morally the cat comes home to you. I wouldn't press the issue further. Don't give them reason to exasperate the situation. There are plenty of cats available if they want one.

Also, paragraphs. People skip posts that are big blocks of text.
 

Lemonbalm

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I do believe it was their cat, she showed me photos of him on her phone.

And thanks for the advice about paragraphs. :)
 
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