Pet Owner Sparks Fury for Demanding People Stop 'Adopting' Friendly Cats

A post urging people to stop "adopting random cats" on the street that appear to be "perfectly fine" has gone viral on Reddit.

In a post in the online forum, where it got 14,100 upvotes at the time of this writing, Redditor Mystisc said: "Stop 'adopting' random cats who obviously look fine and try to find the owner. It's not your cat just because he's outside and coming for hugs to you."

Mystisc added, "I can't believe people are condoning stealing cats."

Speaking to Newsweek, Francien (the original poster) said a lot of people have been "sharing photos of cats they found on the street and people commenting that they should keep the cat."

The user said: "Personally I live in the Netherlands where people leave cats on the street alone because we don't really have strays. But I noticed that a lot of Americans and other countries just take cats from the street who look perfectly fine. They don't check if the cats are chipped or spayed."

A cat laying on a ledge outdoors.
A cat lying on a ledge outdoors. A post urging people to stop "adopting random cats" on the street has gone viral on Reddit. iStock/Getty Images Plus

The original poster said it "worries me" to think that a person would just kidnap someone else's cat. "Imagine if you let your cat outside for a midnight walk and he never comes back because someone stole him."

Speaking to Newsweek in May, José Arce, the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said: "Should an unknown, uncollared cat find its way into your heart and home, it's important to remember that someone else might be missing that cat."

The first step to take is to verify whether the animal is "truly a stray or simply a neighborhood resident making the rounds," Arce said.

Also, check whether the cat has an ear tip—when the top of one ear is flat instead of pointed. This would indicate the cat is a community cat, which would mean the pet has been spayed or neutered through a local community program and has an outdoor home, according to the Humane Society.

Arce also noted that an uncollared cat isn't necessarily a stray. "Many owned cats do not wear collars and should be left alone. They are typically not lost and will find their own way home."

If you think a cat is a stray or you're concerned about the animal's welfare, Arce advised taking the following steps:

  • Post a message about the cat on your neighborhood social-networking platform, such as Nextdoor.
  • Check out any websites that reunite lost pets with their owners, such as
  • Get the cat scanned for a microchip that holds the owner's information. You can get this done at a local veterinary clinic, animal care and control office or shelter.

Some users disagreed with the original poster's stance, such as Seagull84, who said: "OP [original poster] is totally wrong. Just because a cat looks well fed doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the general guidelines of getting the collar or chip checked...if there are no results, it's the owner's fault."

The same user added: "Post online...put up some flyers, and if [there is] no response, guess the cat is yours now...if it's clear the cat is feral, then do what you need to do to capture it and get it off the street."

User Amanda30697 said: "If you want people with good intentions to stop 'stealing' you need to be part of the solution...OP is shaming people for wanting to help an animal. Absolutely check for chips if you find an animal that might belong to someone. It is not theft until the individual is made aware they have taken someone's specific pet by accident."

Others supported the original poster's view.

User 900penguins said: "So many adult cats are left unadopted at shelters...yet, his neighbors choose to steal someone else's cat. People are weird."

User leaving2morrow wrote: "Adopt a cat direct from a shelter instead. Someone probably owns a cat that's outside who looks in great condition." The comment got 987 upvotes.

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