Monday, August 11, 2014

Neighbor's Cat in my Yard

I like cats. I really do. But I've chosen not to have cats because my dogs don't like cats, and even if they did, I don't have a good place to put a litter box and I don't want to let the cat loose outdoors. But I seem to have acquired a cat--a neighbor's cat.

Here it is sitting atop my car, in easy reach of the bird bath.

The thing is, I get all of the negatives of a cat without the good parts of having a cat.
Dead birds left in my driveway
Decapitated chipmunks on my sidewalk.
Cat poo in my garden
Globs of fur on my patio table.

It's not friendly, it runs off when I approach. Lately it's been looking really bad--big patches of fur missing. Scratching itself. I'm worried that it may be ill. I wish the neighbors would care for their cat, feed it, and take it to the vet's. I feel bad for the cat, but I don't want to feed it and encourage it to hang around, because when the dogs see or hear it out the window, they bark like crazy. I enjoy watching birds, but I don't enjoy watching them become easy prey for a cat.

Have my neighbors done any of these things?
1. Spay or neuter their cat
2.  Take their cat for regular veterinarian check ups
3. Provide adequate food and water
4. Provide love and attention--isn't that the point of having a cat?
5. Vaccinate their cat for rabies
6. Provide shelter--this cat often yowls in the rain, and sometimes gets into cars to sleep.

What would you do in this situation? Do you have a similar problem with neighborhood cats? Do you think it's irresponsible to have an outdoors cat, or do you have an outdoor cat that you keep safe and healthy, while keeping neighbors happy? What about getting injured, hit by a car, or stolen? Is it different for city cats vs. country cats?


  1. Thankfully, I've never had this issue. I honestly don't know what I would do. The welfare of the cat is very important, but I would be afraid of over stepping my boundaries. I love cats, but we don't have one right now either. We keep the back door open a lot for the dogs and I'm just not comfortable with an outdoor cat. I'd be constantly worried about safety. It would just stress me out too much!

  2. @Kelsie Merwine Thank you for your thoughful comment. You are so right. I'd be worried my cat would get hit by a car. As for the neighbor's cat, is it really their cat, or has it crossed over to becoming feral? I'm not sure.

  3. Poor Peggy. I can understand why you're worried about your own furry family member as well as the safety and health of this cat.

    I had a very positive experience when I reached out to our local SPCA about a problem I was having with a neighbor's dog. I hesitated to call because I didn't want to cause a problem for the dog.

    But the SPCA animal control worker came over and diplomatically addressed the problem with the dog's person.

    I don't know if your local animal control has that kind of diplomacy but maybe it's worth a call.

    And of course it's probably worth reaching out to cat bloggers who have lots of experience with rescue etc.

    BTW, our SPCA has a "barn cat" program. It allows dogs that aren't really suited to life indoors to be adopted by people who will give them shelter and care while allowing them to live a more wild life outdoors.

    So in my rural community, the standard of care is at least regular food, vet care, spay or neuter, and protection from the cold (in a barn or the like). Even if the cat does not live indoors.

  4. @Pamela that barn cat program sounds great. I wish we had something like that, but maybe there are programs I'm not aware of. Your suggestion to call SPCA is a good one. Thank you.

  5. I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation. It would be difficult to convince the owners to do something about the cat's care and it would be difficult to assume care of the cat yourself.


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!