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.