A lot of people also have the notion that cats can "go wild" or somehow learn to survive on their own. Coupled with a belief that a shelter is the worst place to leave a pet, these poor animals often end up in some pretty unhappy circumstances.
We named this one Ebony. It was immediately obvious that this is no ordinary stray cat. He's very friendly and was approaching people entering the store, as if to ask for food and attention. According to clerks inside, he'd been there for several days and was trying to get inside the store.
His diet consisted of weird things people would throw his way, so he was very hungry. I bought him a can of cat food, but didn't have to use it as bait. He came to me right away and went willingly into the pet taxi I always carry with me. Then I opened the can and we took off for home.
Georgia and Ebony
He is now a happy part of our little family (of 47 cats and 3 dogs) and has made a close connection with Georgia, above. They hang out and play together quite a lot. I checked with animal control a few times and no one has ever asked about a lost cat, so I guess we're keeping him. They'd have to fight me by now anyway... he obviously was not being cared for properly... no ID tags, not neutered, etc. But he has all that now!