Friday, June 4, 2010

Do you have an outdoor cat?

The Cook County Ordinance regarding the care of Feral Cat Colonies also discusses the responsibilities of pet owners. This is important because cats that are not properly supervised by their owners can become strays and join a feral cat colony.

A stray cat, according to the ordinance, is a cat that is regularly off the property of the owner, is not under the physical control or restraint of the owner, and is not regularly provided with food by its owner.

The ordinance states that owners of "domesticated cats" (pets) shall provide adequate food, water and shelter for their cats, exercise reasonable care that their cat does not create a nuisance, shall not permit their cats to roam unsupervised off their property and shall not abandon a cat.

Our volunteers take great care to assess cat behavior and can tell if a cat appears to be a pet, versus a stray or a feral cat. However, there is always a possibility that we could trap a cat that is an outdoor pet. If your cat is not wearing proper identification (as required) and is regularly roaming off of your property and we don't know its owner, we could reasonably determine that it needs to be assessed at the Animal Care League. If we accidentally trap a pet with identification, we will release it on the spot.

Please ensure that your outdoor cat can be identified as your pet, and keep a close watch on Fluffy when he goes outdoors. We'll watch out for him too.


  1. To quote from your post, "If we accidentally trap a pet with identification, we will release it on the spot." Why wouldn't you contact the owner first?! Many pet owners do have identification on their pets in case they do accidentally get out of their home.....such as a name tag or microchip. In the case of a cat with a microchip, surely you must try and contact the owner and hold the cat for 7 days for the owner to claim the cat? I am assuming you would not eartip a cat that clearly belongs to someone else if it has identification tags or a microchip. It is sad & disappointing you would simply release the cat on the spot without trying to contact the owner first!

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    You raise a good point. First, we are not the Animal Care League, we are volunteers working in Forest Park. We would assume that a cat let out to roam temporarily would return to its owner. However, our volunteers would use their best judgement in each case. They know the cats in their area and which cats belong to which house, in many cases. We would definitely not eartip a cat that is a pet, and would work to identify a cat we did not recognize as belonging to an immediate neighbor. In commenting that a cat would immediately be released, the assumption was the cat would immediately return home. If the cat would not, we would help the cat return home by working to identify its owner. Our goal is to care for all cats and work with our neighbors in a positive and cooperative manner.