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Woman neuters cat without owners' permission; gets blamed for their child's nightmares.

Woman neuters cat without owners' permission; gets blamed for their child's nightmares.


'AITA For neutering a cat that was clearly owned?'

I run a TNR (trap, neuter, return) program for feral cats. Non profit, I catch all cats and get them the medical attention they need myself, out of my own pocket. I love helping them. A lot of the cats are not able to be re-homed, so I fix them and release them. Get them their shots and hope for the best. I am not a large scale operation.

Recently I was called to an area overrun with orange cats. They were everywhere and I mostly ended up handing it over to professionals. I did, however, manage to grab three very sweet cats. Two were terrified, skinny, a little beaten up, but overall friendly. The third one was a little gent.

He was tubby, well groomed, fish patterned collar, the works. My plan was to find his parents and drop him off with a warning to keep him in due to the large amount of traps being set. Then the little bastard sprayed the inside of my car to the freakin max.

So, apparently, he wasn't fixed. I couldn't really tell (longhair) and assumed he was so left my covers off. Big mistake!

I debated taking him home or taking him to get neutered with the rest. He was an indoor-outdoor cat (indicated by his collar tag) and with so many strays I'm certain some were carrying his genetics.

Ultimately I took him with me and got him neutered. No chip so I called the number on his tag and informed them where their cat was and gave them time slots to pick him up or have him dropped off.

The owners went ballistic. They were cursing me out and came to collect their cat not twenty minutes later. Called me a kidnapper, blamed me for their child having nightmares (scared over their cat going missing).

I tried to explain that he needed to be fixed if he was going to be outside but they didn't want to know. They said I should have called immediately regardless. I spoke to my rescue friend who said I was in the wrong. Even though we know we are technically in the right, we didn't have the legal ground to do that and it wasn't my decision to make.

I did apologise, but have blocked their numbers (the mom is flaming me on facebook and dm'ing people I know). I have a duty to care for stray cats. Me knowing an unneutered male was roaming free and not doing anything about it was a concern for said stray cats.

Things are still tense between my rescue buddy and I and I don't completely disagree. I know I crossed a line even if it was for the greater good. People are finding out and taking sides, so I'm not sure who to really believe was 'right' here. So... AITA?

Here's what people had to say to OP:

fruskydekke says:


- How long was it between trapping the cat and taking it to the vet, since the owners had time to notice he was missing?

- Why did you not call the number on the tag BEFORE making an irreversible decision about someone else's pet?

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

I picked him up about 5pm, although he was out by me all day. I had tuna. He was neutered that night and I called them the following morning.

I have come into contact with owners before. They'll either tell you to keep the cat or claim it isn't theirs. I have learned to neuter first then contact owners because they take it very well. Obviously these people were different.

Vortex2121 says:

'I have learned to neuter first then contact owners because they take it very well.' Wait, so you had likely owned cats neutered without permission before?

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

I work in a lot of impoverished areas. The cats were less owned and more 'this is the guy that feeds them sometimes'. But I refer to them as owners because they clearly care about the cats.

A lot of the time they refuse ownership because they're worried they'll have to pay. If you do it for free without telling them there's no space for the anxiety and defense to set in. They get their cat back and live happily ever after.

EmptyPomegranete says:

NTA. They are irresponsible pet owners and are endangering the community by having an unneutered male cat about. It’s unethical and should be illegal.

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

I am all for legally enforcing the sterilisation of animals. Unfortunately people don't generally agree.

ParsimoniousSalad says:

YTA. You knew how to get ahold of the owners from the first moment you grabbed the cat. You kidnapped him and had irreversible surgery done on him.

Yes, I know the owners were irresponsible about letting their intact cat out, but you could have educated them when you contacted them about their cat you picked up. But there is no law against what they did. Against what you did, yes. You risked your entire TNR program over this.

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

I don't have a tnr program. I'm a girl with a crate and a bit of spare cash.

wintersweetpea465 says:

So you lied to us right out of the gate? You stated in your first line 'I run a TNR program for feral cats.' No, you aren't running a 501c3 nonprofit, you are a person on a mission who doesn't care about other people.

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

Eh. I call it a program because it sounds all official like, but its not an actual program.

xInsomniCatx says:

YTA you knew he was owned you should not have touched someone else's cat. Also no, he didn't NEED to be fixed, you just wanted to you are NOT 'technically in the right' in any way shape or form. You'll be lucky if they decide not to sue you.

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

He did need to be fixed. He was one of two ginger tomcats in the area. He's at least partly to blame for all the kittens. His owners will end up responsible for all the cats that end up euthanised because of the over population.

wintersweetpea465 says:

YTA. You did kidnap their cat and made a (superbly arrogant) decision to have him neutered without the owners permission. You can judge them all you want for letting their cat outside, but the first thing to have done was to call the cat's people and asked 'Hey, I found your cat. Did you know he was outside?'

That's the basic due diligence, right there.(translated: what decent people who are not a**holes regularly do.) How a vet decided to neuter the cat means you must have taken off the collar and obscured the owner's information, or they would not have done it without their permission.

You just made yourself hella actionable, legally. You don't know if they were planning to breed the cat and he just happened to get out.

Dazzling-Ad7801 OP responded:

I spoke to my vet. She's a tnr vet; she neuters and moves on. There was no address on the collar so my vet said it was fine. I don't know if she tried to call the owners or not though.

I, personally, don't condone the breeding of cats when we have so many dying - literally - for homes. Not three weeks ago I dropped off at least thirty kittens and a couple pregnant mamas at a rescue. Maybe ten will be adopted. The rest will be euthanised. Its horrible. I don't really care if they had plans to breed, truthfully.

Sources: Reddit
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