Throughout my years of conducting on-air interviews in the Berkshires, I have learned from local animal shelters that many cats have either been abandoned by their owners or have been lost and have become strays. I have heard stories where some folks move from place to place and can't take their cats with them. I understand this happens when moving but instead of just leaving the cat behind, why not bring it to a shelter? There have also been occasions where cats would just end up at the doorsteps of shelters sometimes even in the middle of the night. I suppose this is a little better (but not much) but again why not bring it to the shelter during business hours so somebody can care for the animal right away?

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Some of the better stories I have heard consist of cats being brought to a shelter and the animal ends up with a happy ending story as he or she gets adopted and is off to a new home and loving family. But what about somebody who comes across a stray cat and wants to become the cat's new owner?

Is it Legal in Massachusetts to Take in a Stray Cat and Become the Animal's New Owner?

According to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) you can open your home to a stray cat but the organization suggests that you consider a few things before you go forward with this decision. This is the MSPCA's thoughts on the topic.

If you decide you’re ready to open your home to a new feline friend, it’s also important to make sure that you’ll have the financial resources to properly care for him/her.

Obviously, you'll need the resources to cover any spay/neuter costs as well as veterinary costs and the regular everyday costs of having a cat in your home. But yes if no owner is found, and you have taken all the proper steps to reunite the cat with its owner, you can take in a stray as your own. There is no state law requiring cat owners to keep their pets indoors which is part of the reason that many cats become strays.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends that if you are going to keep the cat, you notify animal control that you have the animal or that you have taken them to a veterinary hospital for treatment. You can get more tips on how to care for stray cats, who to contact if you come across a stray, and more by going here and here.

Why do cats have whiskers? Why do they meow? Why do they nap so much? And answers to 47 other kitty questions:

Why do they meow? Why do they nap so much? Why do they have whiskers? Cats, and their undeniably adorable babies known as kittens, are mysterious creatures. Their larger relatives, after all, are some of the most mystical and lethal animals on the planet. Many questions related to domestic felines, however, have perfectly logical answers. Here’s a look at some of the most common questions related to kittens and cats, and the answers cat lovers are looking for.

Gallery Credit: Andrew Lisa

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany

WATCH OUT: These are the deadliest animals in the world


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