Cats are naturally wanderers as far as 10 miles, especially if unneutered. Cats, when they visit other houses, are always ‘starving’ and are never fussy eaters (I once knew a cat that would only eat turkey at home but went and raided the neighbours cat food bowl every day).
So what can you do if a ‘stray’ cat comes to your house? The first thing to look for is it’s condition. Is it very thin, does it look like it has fleas, is it (if male) still entire, does it look injured, does it have a dull or matted coat? Being hungry does not class as very thin. Are you encouraging it? This includes saying hello and feeding it. If so it will keep coming back. The number of times we hear the cat is always at my house, only to find it’s also always at it’s owners house too. If you do anything to encourage and nothing to discourage a cat it will keep coming back. If having spoken to immediate neighbours (bearing in mind how far they do travel it is unlikely to be one of theirs anyway) you might find the cat is visiting everyone and some are feeding. Try and present a united front, if the cat is not thin, don’t feed it. If the cat is thin and you are concerned it is worth ringing your local vet and asking if they will scan it for you. More frequently (although not enough) cats are being microchipped. If you are just concerned take it to a vet to scan it for a chip, but be prepared to bring it back to its original location and please make sure you transport it securely in a cat box. Can you imagine how you would feel if it escaped miles from where it might have been at home!
If no microchip is present it is worth putting a collar on with a note. The Cat Protection have a printable version, just perfect for this use click here for their link Cat Protection Stray Collar Template The Cat Protection also provide very useful posters that you can change. Cat Protection Stray Poster
Sadly by encouraging a ‘stray’ cat you could be tempting it away from its owners, and then it becomes an unwanted cat as we hear time and time again the kind person who fed it doesnt actually want to keep it. So please before you class a cat as a stray make sure it’s not just a chancer.
And if it does turn out your ‘stray’ cat is not a ‘stray’ please encourage the owner to microchip their cat and you too if yours isn’t done!