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Is it stealing?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I posted a thread about this cat awhile ago under "is it abuse?" for those of you who didn't catch it here's the summary:

Our neighbors have a cat, her name is Mocha. She's probably about 4, she's never had a flea or tick, so I assume she's given frontline or some other anti-tick medicine.
We live in an urban area in an apartment complex, and they leave her out, all the time. She's been left out when hurricanes came though, on nights where it's dipped down into the 40's, left out for days without food or water, when it's pouring rain, in just about any condition she's normally out.
So, we began to let her inside, she's the sweetest thing ever. I don't think she's ever even played with a toy, when I showed her some she didn't know what to do with them at first. She also has an aversion to loud noises, because our neighbors fight almost constantly, so loud that we can hear them through the walls.
Cat's aren't allowed outside in our apartment area, so we tried reporting them and the complex sent out a notice that any animals cats or dogs weren't allowed outside off leashes. But we didn't report them again because we didn't want Mocha to be sent to the pound.
Then we tried talking to the neighbors lightly about it like, "you cat is so wonderful." Or, "Do you ever need us to take care of your cat?" But all they ever say is things like "We're the only ones who could ever love/tolerate that cat."

Okay, so that's the background.

We reached our final straw recently. They went on a two week vacation and left her out the whole time. During rain and cold. With no food or water outside, and one person (who could have been stopping in for Mocha or just to check in on things) stopping by once. But even they didn't leave anything out for her or didn't put her inside.

This cat is so sweet and is so calm and nice and she's outside all of the time. We find her sleeping in the road, in parking spots, covered in dirt, sleeping on air conditioners or on the stairs and we're constantly worried about her safety.

We found a new home for Mocha, someone who'd love a cat like her and who we know and trust to treat her well. Also someone with a large yard in a large residential area, so Mocha can be free to roam without a hundred cars driving by and in parking lots and whatnot.

My problem is this. I try to be an honest person, and not lie whenever possible. But are we stealing this cat from our neighbors? I honestly don't feel that bad, they don't take care of her ever. But legally is this a problem?

Also, if she's microchipped can that be a problem too?

Advice?
post #2 of 19
As someone who works with neglected and abuse children, when a child is abused the child is taken away from the abusing parent and its never called stealing but instead called rescuing. If these people don't care about their care enough to properly care for them then they don't deserve to have her. She deserves better.
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunskitten View Post
But are we stealing this cat from our neighbors? I honestly don't feel that bad, they don't take care of her ever. But legally is this a problem?

Also, if she's microchipped can that be a problem too?

Advice?
1. yes, it's stealing...
2. microchipped is only an issue if they've registered & it's ever checked [like if Mocha ran away from her new home & was found by a stranger] - given the type of care she's receiving, they may have never registered her chip, tho.
3. legally, it's only an issue if they discover who removed the cat - your new home can easily disavow knowledge of where/how she came to be there, assuming they don't mind lying about it. this is also assuming she's ever discovered in the new home by the original owners.
i don't know what the best thing to do in this situation is... it certainly sounds like Mocha is not in a good situation, but i also don't want to advise that you steal & rehome someone else's cat. this is something you'll have to decide on your own.
post #4 of 19
Maybe it is stealing, but this cat needs to be stolen and given a chance at a good life. If her current owners don't care about her, she could easily have run away, they would never notice. In your position, I would facilitate her "running away" to a good home. Some people should just not have pets. If they think they are the only ones that could tolerate her, she may be acting out in reaction to her being neglected or mistreated. It says a lot that she is sweet and calm with you, and possibly not them.
post #5 of 19
I think "Mocha" needs to be rescued! Legalities aside you have to do what your heart is telling you to do and that's what's best for Mocha.
post #6 of 19
techincally, it is.

however, t hey won't know. outside all alone for that long? anything could have happened.
post #7 of 19
Well, this could also be called abandonment. They left. The cat was left outside. No intent was shown that care was provided for the cat.....abandonment!

You merely rescued an abandoned cat. There is no way you could for sure say that the cat you found is their exact cat.

You would be doing what all of us that rescue animals do by giving her a chance to live. And there are laws that state by not providing food, shelter and medical care it is abuse.

Kudos to you for being a decent person and getting the cat out of there. They will probably never miss her. They abandoned her, she ran away. Don't talk to them anymore. The end.
post #8 of 19
I don't think you need to play word games with this one. Whether removing the cat to a new home is "stealing" is irrelevant to the greater issue: Mocha is being neglected, and abusively so. For me, personally, that's all I would need to see in order to choose and act. You've got the new home lined up. I'd encourage you to do what needs to be done.

You may feel bad to lie about what you've done or will do. But how much worse would you feel, and how much worse would the world be, if you let Mocha continue to be stuck outside, neglected? How would you feel if you found her lying dead after being struck by a car? By acting, and doing what needs to be done, you can save her. There is greater truth (and happiness, and beauty, and joy and community) to be had in the cat getting what she needs in a new home.

I always wonder if my two rescues had any sort of a home... but when I consider the circumstances under which I met them (including the very fact that they were outside day and night, not spayed or neutered, no collars, no chips, and Zero had worms), I realize that they didn't have any sort of a home that counts, at least in my book. Cats are not things to own. They are living, breathing, self aware beings, and when they are in our cities and towns, they are our responsibility. Mocha's current "owners" show none of that responsibility.

Please rescue Mocha!
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunskitten View Post
Cat's aren't allowed outside in our apartment area, so we tried reporting them and the complex sent out a notice that any animals cats or dogs weren't allowed outside off leashes. But we didn't report them again because we didn't want Mocha to be sent to the pound.
Somehow I missed that on my first read. This makes me think it highly unlikely that she's chipped. Chipping (and registering) a cat is one of those "responsible" things. These folks don't sound very responsible if they're (constantly) breaking the rules.

If things stay the way you are, you're faced with lots of nasty possibilities, not the least of which is that she gets sent to the pound.

I'm not going to insist that it's not stealing. I'm just going to insist that it's the right thing to do, and that once you've done it, you should do whatever is necessary to keep Mocha's new location secret.
post #10 of 19
I posted this elsewhere so sorry for the repeat, but I currently have 4 cats dumped here by a "friend" who was evicted from her home and who is now in the hospital. She can't even care for herself much less 4 cats!! I cannot continue to care for these cats properly due to my own health issues. They are either going to Siamese Rescue or they are going back to the breeder, whichever comes first. Is it stealing? Nope. It's rescuing. Is it wrong? Nope, if you love animals, especially cats, and you see them in dire circumstances, then the only right thing to do is help them.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
Is it stealing? Nope. It's rescuing. Is it wrong? Nope, if you love animals, especially cats, and you see them in dire circumstances, then the only right thing to do is help them.
It is the right thing to do for someone who has a moral conscience. the only alternative would have been if the Humane Society would intervened on Mocha's behalf. That isn't going to happen, and since the OP was brought into Mocha's life, plus a new home has been found, IMO, this rescue mission is Heaven sanctioned
post #12 of 19
I think you did the right thing.

When someone throws something out in the garbage ... is that stealling.

I don't think so but I've never actually looked that up... maybe it is.

They threw her out like garbage. You did the right thing !

Besides..... didn't you think their cat had some purple in it ?
I don't think it was the same cat. How could you know for sure ?

You did the right thing !
post #13 of 19
In the state of MN If you have the pet(s) for 5 business days & no one claims them - they are yours.
post #14 of 19
It doesn't sound like they care what happens to this poor cat, if they did, they would be providing for her. She needs to be rescued before something bad happens and it's great she has someone waiting for her. Hopefully your neighbors will not get another pet.
post #15 of 19
I rescued a cat last year that was in our yard frequently. My husband was upset and said I shouldn't just take it that it might belong to someone. I told my hubby that if it did and they didn't take better care of it than the shape it was in (matted and skinny), then they didn't deserve to have that sweet kitty. He was an intact male and as friendly as any cat I've ever met. I took him to our local no-kill shelter where he was seen by a vet, neutered, shaved and cared for. He was adopted some 8 months later and was a real love-bug. When I'd go to the shelter he would come over and rub his face all over me. Do I feel guilty for taking him? Not one little bit.
post #16 of 19
In our area, any cat outside and off your property is considered a stray and can be picked up by Animal Control. That's not the case in a lot of places, but I'd say any cat left out for two weeks is abandoned.
post #17 of 19
so how is mocha doing ?
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunskitten View Post
She's been left out when hurricanes came though, on nights where it's dipped down into the 40's,
MY friends here in Idaho were adopted by a cat (short hair) in late winter, the cat had been living outside with temps down to -30* F, it would always come to their house through the culvert under the highway, they didn't know where it slept, but had no missing parts from frostbite. Amazing really that cats can live is such harsh conditions.


And on topic, its not stealing.
post #19 of 19
Stealing or not...who cares. Clearly they didnt give a damn about Mocha. I would have done the same thing!
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