I have to make a decision soon and I am very conflicted.
To Preface: In my urban neighborhood I am sometimes referred to as "The Crazy Cat Guy". I have always owned a cat, or two, or five... Right now I am caring for seven strays that popped up last year. I (and a like minded neighbor) were able to gather them up and got them spayed/neutered and rabies shots. So, I love cats.
A couple days ago I found a small kitten, probably almost a year old, wandering in the alley. It wasn't one of mine but she came right up to me and was very friendly so I figured she was a house cat at some point. I picked her up and put her on my enclosed back porch with food, water and bedding.
I just found out who she belonged to and herein lies the problem. I am familiar with the family who previously owned the cat and, I hate to judge people, but I'm not sure if I want to return her. There are three young boys - 12 and under - who live with their Mom and some guy who may or may not be the father of one or more of the kids. They live across the alley from me and I hear them fighting and cursing at each other all of the time (even the kids) and have had one unpleasant encounter when one of the boys and a friend of his destroyed a cactus garden that I was growing on my property.
The boys aren't really that bad, I have had some conversations with them from time to time and I don't think that they are malicious. Maybe not too bright but generally OK.
In addition, I'm not 100% positive but it's very likely that the cat has never been to a vet. I also think that she is about to go into heat and there are still some big, mean tomcats running around here. I love cats, but I don't need another 3-4 strays in six months.
Here are my choices:1. Keep her myself.
- Can't do it. I am already stretched thin just taking care of me and mine.2. Give her back to the family
- I'm very reluctant. This is probably the right thing to do but I don't know if it will turn out for the best. The person who told me whose cat it was also said that they didn't treat her well. I don't know for sure, that's second hand information. 3. Give her away
- I Know from experience that all I have to do is say "free kitten" on Craigslist and someone will contact me within the hour. I don't know for sure if the new owner would be better or worse and I might end up having to explain to the family why I gave their cat away.
The same person who told me who she belonged to also said that they didn't seem too concerned that she was missing. But then again that's second hand info, so I can't be sure.
Typing all this out has been helpful but I would welcome any opinions or advice please.