In my previous post I introduced Brad, our friendly, regular feline visitor. I didn’t know then who his owner (servant?) was, but I made some inquiries. Brad belongs to an elderly couple and he is one of three cats in the household. As it turns out, Brad is well known around our small village, as he roams the streets and gardens… mmmh. … I thought I was specially chosen by him…
Soon after he started visiting my garden, I noticed he was losing some fur from around his neck. He was also drinking a lot of water, much more than my own cats. I have only seen this amount of drinking when, years ago, I had a cat who eventually died of kidney disease. The vet told us later that drinking too much water might indicate a kidney problem. For that reason, I wanted to find Brad’s owner, to alert them in case they had not realised the consequences for his health. While asking the neighbours, I also sent a note (see my previous post “Cats: who owns them?”) to The Cat magazine (published by the charity Cats Protection, UK), who publish contributions from readers. The reply which came back from the editor was a bit unexpected (my highlights):
“I have had a response from our vets … [ ]
I’m afraid they would prefer this not to be printed as they prefer not to encourage cats that are owned by others into an established cat household.
Although the visiting cat may be happy to be invited in it is likely that the resident cats could get stressed by having their territory taken over by a strange cat as they see their home as their refuge from neighbouring cats. As such it’s not something that they would want to encourage.”
So apparently the vets think that I was encouraging Brad to come and visit me. Perhaps another read at that post would have made it clear that I was merely welcoming and friendly, that it was Brad himself making it plain where he wanted to be, and that my own cats were not stressed. I was surprised by the response from the editor not only because of the lack of understanding of my post, but also because it is not helpful to anybody to suppress information that might be useful for others in a similar situation. There was also the off chance that the magazine might be read by a neighbour, or the owner himself, who could recognise Brad.
Now I have been in touch with Brad’s owner and as a result of explaining my concern, Brad has been taken to the vet, and thankfully there was nothing to worry about.
My original question, however, still remains: who owns a cat? clearly in this case Brad is a loved pet and his owner cares for him; but there are, sadly, many cats in households where they don’t receive enough affection, or even food, let alone veterinary care, and in these cases what should we do if we see them in need of help? the vets from The Cat magazine could have addressed these issues instead of acting as simple censors.
I would love to hear your opinions, cat lovers over there!