I finished up a very small colony in Van Etten, and just a few days after returning the feral momcat to her new spayed and kittenless life back home, her owner called that a new friendly cat had appeared. I asked her to feed him, and due to work travel, delayed in picking him up until the owner contacted me again in despair. The little guy was there every day, and she was worried he would get hit in the road, where traffic was heavier than normal due to cars being diverted around construction
He was indeed a sweet guy...and neutered! My friend Suzan from Found Animals Foundation was visiting for the Cornell Maddies Shelter Medicine Conference in Ithaca, and she gave him a scan. No microchip. So I contacted the SPCA in his county.
A week later the owner contacted me again. She had seen what looked like this cat posted as Lost on Facebook. She tracked down the person who posted the message and gave her my phone number (Note to readers: PLEASE don't give out my phone number! In this case it worked out OK, but other times that can make my life hell). I sent the woman a video of the kitty in my care and she was overjoyed that he was her "Jack."
Turns out she lived up in the woods above the home of the colony caretaker and her cat was trekking through the woods to visit a new place. I brought along a couple of collars and tags for her to train him with, and she also is going to get him microchipped. It's so nice to meet a thankful cat owner who was actively searching for their cat! Jack had originally been found as an unneutered stray, and she took him to the Chemung SPCA to be neutered and vaccinated. It would be nice if every stray found such a happy ending.
He might have started hanging out at the neighbor's house because Momcat was now fixed and didn't have kittens to protect. She probably had been driving him off, previously. There's nothing more fierce than a momcat protecting her kittens! While the caretaker had checked with neighbors, this house was up behind another on a shared driveway, and could not be seen from the road.
Indoor/Outdoor cat? Collar and/or microchip that guy!