Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Charliebug on April 19, 2013, 03:11:30 AM

Title: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Charliebug on April 19, 2013, 03:11:30 AM
I do realize there will be very differing opinions on this and I will start by saying that I have never had a pet that I did not

a) Keep inside.
b) Take absolute ownership of their behaviour and their care.
c) Take 100% responsibility of all of the time, no matter what.

Background: I lost my Floyd (cat) in February of 2012. He was 13 years old. It took a while but I eventually placed an add on a local ad website looking for a male kitten and, after a few false promises, I got Sam.

Now: Sam has been an absolutely amazing addition to our home. He gets along with the dog and my older cat Charlie (15) but one thing Sam had before he came to live with us was an outside existence.

I got him in July of 2012 and did not let him outside unless he was on a harness all summer, and through the winter he was inside at all times. When spring came he started getting hyper, as kittens will do, and since I do not live alone (I live with my Mom and she said she would not put up with another summer of keeping the door closed all the time) I had to make compromises. I live in a trailer park (manufactured homes- not campers) and there are plenty of cats who come and go as they please here. I never wanted my kitten to become an outdoor cat but it is hard to keep one in when they do not want to be. He escaped every time we brought groceries in...everytime I came home or left...you get the picture. Arguing with a cat is like arguing with a wall. Unless we had him on a short leash he would be off before we knew it. So this spring came and he got out and we shut the door. Then we waited and worried and waited and worried and when he came home we swore we would never let him out again. Ha! (I should mention he is neutered so he was not prowling that way). Charlie and Floyd were very laid back kittens so I never had to deal with this before, plus Sam is just a little bit more streetwise than they ever were so I didn't have a clue how to deal with his escapism.

So finally I got used to the idea that Sam was going to do what Sam was going to do and there was nothing I could do to stop it unless I was on it 24/7. I work shiftwork so there was no way I could be and I got to know the park and the people in the park pretty well and had a good feeling that Sam would be safe. As it turns out our neighbours talk to us and one by one they all came over and told us that Sam had been over visiting and what a nice cat and they think he is lovely. No complaints at all, until tonight.

First of all you need to understand that I do not know from one day to the next what status I am with my "friend" across the street.  Some days I can do no wrong and others she is judging me from head to toe. Perhaps I should not worry so much about her opinion but she happens to be one of those people who, if she has nothing to complain about, will find something to complain about. I made the mistake of telling her that Sam is allowed outside during the day so she knows he is out and about. That was about three weeks ago. Tonight she called and said that her husband caught Sam burrowing a hole under their trailer the other day and also her stepson caught Sam walking across the windshield of her car leaving muddy footprints. I cannot dispute this since I did not witness it nor can I account for his whereabouts during those times. What I do know is that Sam has never done either in his own yard (I know that doesn't mean squat).
She told me that she was going to call the park manager (who has met Sam and loves him) and complain but she felt it was better to "let me know first" that this was a problem. I thanked her for letting me know first and addressing the problem. The problem is, how do I address it? I can lock my cat up just for her sake but I feel she is only complaining because she (her hubbie) has nothing else to complain about. I do not feel her concerns are real or valid but I have no way of proving that. I know some of you will absolutely condemn me for not keeping him inside to begin with and being irresponsible and I understand that. I am very aware of the risk I am taking by letting him run around during the day and I know I am easily at fault for his alleged crimes. I am not trying to be a "protective mom" and let him get away with whatnot in the neighbourhood. If I had not seen my "friend" complain about every little thing that crosses her path I would believe what she says outright. Clearly the park is okay with Sam doing what he does and the more Sam is out the more he wants to stay home. Aside from that, how can I keep things okay with my neighbour/friend? Do I need to put mittens on Sam to prove he doesn't burrow? Should I go over every morning and clean her windshield so there are no paw prints?  The easiest answer for most would be "keep him inside" and I know that is what she wants but it is not that easy for me to do. I believe it is a control thing on her husband's part because of personal issues he has with my mom.

So what would you do if you were faced with this "friend" who tells you there is a problem with your cat? Is there anything you can do? BTW for the record I am not certain what the park rules are about pets running around in the neighbourhood. I assume it is not allowed however nobody enforces it and I doubt they ever will. This is very much a friendship issue and not a legal one.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 04:02:44 AM
Don't lock your cat up "just for her sake".  Do it for multiple other reasons.

Do it because it means that Sam won't be hit by a car.

Do it so that another animal doesn't tear Sam apart.

Do it if there is a rule about it and avoid the typical kids's excuse "But the other kids do it ..."

You ask if there is anythign to do if somebody tells you there is a problem with your cat.  Of course there is but it involves effort and displeasing your cat a bit. If you think that it seems to make more sense to make your neighbors displeased and taking risks with your cat then that is a choice you have made.  It could eventually impact the friendship and/or your cat.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Mal on April 19, 2013, 04:04:49 AM
(snip) I live in a trailer park (manufactured homes- not campers) and there are plenty of cats who come and go as they please here.
(snip)
(I should mention he is neutered so he was not prowling that way).
(snip)
As it turns out our neighbours talk to us and one by one they all came over and told us that Sam had been over visiting and what a nice cat and they think he is lovely. No complaints at all, until tonight.
(snip)
She told me that she was going to call the park manager (who has met Sam and loves him) and complain but she felt it was better to "let me know first" that this was a problem.
(snip)
Clearly the park is okay with Sam doing what he does

By these highlighted quotes, in my opinion, you're essentially in the clear.
First off, I don't think it's your responsibility to prove that Sam hasn't burrowed anywhere, it's your "friend"'s responsibilty to prove he actually has. As you say, there are plenty of cats roaming the park, each perfectly able to burrow.

In a trailer park as in any residential area, you can't control what animals do outside. And shutting Sam in would be cruel now that he's used to and enjoying the Great Outdoors.

It seems to me your neighbor has a problem with the freeroaming cats in the park in general, but approached you directly because she has a connection - albeit an unsteady one - with you, singling out Sam in the process.

I think you should go to the park manager and ask for his advice directly. You should also find out what the official rules are about pets, and maybe find out who the owners of the other free-roaming cats are and connect with them, so if push comes to shove you have allies.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Momiitz on April 19, 2013, 04:22:50 AM
I POD what Melle said.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: sammycat on April 19, 2013, 04:27:29 AM
as do I.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 04:28:22 AM
Pet owners better control what their animsls do outside. If a big dog atstacked Sam (or a small child) would the response be to shrug it off and sy "Hey, the dog was outside, can't expect the owners to control what it does there."
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Charliebug on April 19, 2013, 04:32:46 AM
Thank you for pointing out some very real concerns Sharnita- I would like to address them one by one to show that I have given this consideration and I am not a totally irresponsible pet owner.

1) The chances of Sam being hit by a car is pretty much nil since the speed limit in the park is 20 km/hr with speed bumps and a lot of very concerned home owners and we are nowhere near a busy street.
2) I have taken our little dog for numerous walks around the park and, during the day, there is very little chance of a wild animal or anybody's pet attacking Sam. I am very aware of what animals are around and the closest he has ever come to this kind of danger was a "wild" pug on a leash who wanted to sniff his bum.
3) I am not using "the other kids do it" as an excuse at all. I was simply stating that there are other cats roaming around to show that Sam is not the sole kitty out there who could leave paw prints on a vehicle.

Like I said, I am aware this could be a point of contention for those who would never "allow" their pets outside. I have never had to deal with it either until now and perhaps I am taking the easy way out but I have taken many things under consideration and I do not believe I am putting my cat in any imminent danger.

Thank you Melle for your understanding response (clearly you have such a cat or know someone who does). I would love to go to the park manager but he is in the hospital at the moment and I doubt he would care one way or the other anyhow. All I really want to do is maintain a friendly but somewhat detached relationship with said friend. I guess I will just have to keep an eye on Sam as much as I can and let her do what she will.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 05:03:18 AM
I think you make a leap. I have no problem with letting pets outside if you can monitor them gor their sake and the sake of others. The harness sounded like a good approach to taking a cst outside. However, abdicating responsibility for where it goes or what it does while outside is not the behavior of a responsible pet owner or neighbor. And the fact that it is a cat instead of a pit bull shouldn't be a reason for a pet owner to shrug and say "Hey, it is outside, can't control pets while they are outside." If somebody had their dog outside I would expect them to be able to control it. If I wanted them to keep it off of my property I would expect they could and would do that. I don't believe those are unreasonable expectations. I don't believe owning a cat instead of a dog somehow changes those obligations as a pet owner or a citizen
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: veryfluffy on April 19, 2013, 05:53:37 AM
Tonight she called and said that her husband caught Sam burrowing a hole under their trailer the other day

This really caught my attention. Mainly because cats are not, generally, burrowing animals. I've never heard of a cat digging anywhere really, except to bury its waste. So if the cat was "burrowing" under their trailer, it's more likely that there was a mouse or rat under there. In which case your friend should be grateful for Sam's assistance with pest control.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Margo on April 19, 2013, 06:02:05 AM
I agree with Melle.

It sounds as though in your area it's normal for cats to be outside. (so I would disagree with Sharnita. It isn't irresponsible or abdicating responsibilities if you comply with the local laws and standard practice. There's also a big difference between a cat (whcih may be at risk, but if highly unlikely to present a risk to anyone, and a dog, which may both be at risk and present real risks to other people)

What you could do is to offer your neighbour suggestions on how she can discourage *any* of the cats from coming on to her property, if she doesn't want them to - for instance, by mentioning that she could shout at or use water spray to discourage Sam (or any other cat) which comes onto her property. You could also let her know that cats tend not to like citrus smell so she could try using cintronella (or proprietry crystals / powder) to discourage cats from coming into her garden.

Of course, knowing Sam isn't welcome, if you actually *see* him on her property it would be appropriate for you to remove him.

It think that there are differences in what is reasonable and normal in relation to cats compared with dogs, and if you live in an area where it's normal, and not in breach of any local laws or rules to let a cat out, it's not rude to let your cat out.

If it is practical, you could also consider whether making an outdoor run for Sam would be an option. A friend of mine (who lives in an area where outdoor cats do face dangers from extremes of weather and from wild animals, and whose cats were rescues so in one case has been de-clawed and is unable to easily climb or fight)  has given her cats outdoor opportunities by screening in her porches, and building a larger enclosure where they have access to grass, and to old branches to climb. The cats are happy, and safe. I appreciate that this may not be practical, but even a small run (perhaps outside a window?) might allow Sam to be outdoors but not always roaming free.



Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: *inviteseller on April 19, 2013, 06:42:53 AM
OP, I have only read your post and no replies yet, so if I am repeating anything, sorry.  Let me start with saying that I have been a cat owner for over 30 years.  I am adamant about cats being indoor only to the point of being preachy to some of my neighbors about their allowing their cats to roam.  I also am part of a feral rescue group.  I have fed, trapped and fixed so many cats over the years I have lost count (but I remember each one).  I have had to bottle feed litters because their moms were killed, I have seen cats die from antifreeze poisoning (heart wrenching), I have managed to turn some ferals into sweet house cats, I have been out in wicked snow storms and below zero temperatures making sure all of them could get to the houses we make and right now in my basement is a momma feral and her 2 almost 2 week babies that I am taking care of...there was 7 kittens but due to an idiot not waiting for me to remove them from the spot she had her babies (that wasn't bothering anyone but this idiot who thought the kittens should be killed) and having someone take them at 2 days old for a time before we could get them back and trap mom(10 hrs), we lost 5 of them.  I have seen cats maimed and killed from them hiding up under cars, I have seen people purposely try to kill them, I have seen them hit by cars, mauled by other animals.  Most of these cats had been someones pet.  They thought "well kitty loves to be outside."  Yes, cats love going outside (*disclaimer...I have an escape artist too, but she runs out, hits the porch, then panics and wants back in), but the dangers for them are too great.  Your neighbor obviously has an issue, be it true or not with your cat roaming, and is already making complaints.  You love Sam, let this be a wake up when someone is making threats to do something that it is time for Sam to learn to stay in.  If your neighbor calls animal control, they can pick the cat up and depending on your town, sometimes these animal control places only have 24-48 hr hold before they euthanize.  It is a very big sore spot for me on that, and we just got one place successfully closed due to this, but it is a fact.  Some tips are indoor cat grass gardens, squirt bottles when he makes a run at the door , continue the walks on the harness if you want, building an enclosure in your yard where he can be out but he is safe, and please make sure he is chipped.  His safety comes first. 
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: AuntyEm on April 19, 2013, 06:46:26 AM
Could you take Sam over on a leash to talk to the complaining neighbor so she could get to know him up close?  Maybe if she and Sam become friends she won't be so ready to turn him in to the manager.

Sounds like Sam is pretty safe in his environment and cats can be quite a help in keeping the area free of rodents and other pests.  I've had cats most of my life and lived where there was a feral population in the neighborhood and have never seen the burrowing behavior described by the neighbor. 
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Kiara on April 19, 2013, 07:04:24 AM
OP, I don't know where you live, but I'd check with animal control.  Some areas include cats in leash laws.  Mine does.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: MindsEye on April 19, 2013, 07:13:53 AM
Oh my...

First, not to get legal, but I would absolutely check what the laws regarding roaming pets are in your area.  In many areas (mine for instance) there are laws on the books that police and animal control officers do not actively enforce (e.g. they don't go driving around looking for roaming cats and dogs) but if people make complaints, then they will absolutely enforce those laws. 

Do you think that your neighbor will register her complaints with the police/animal control?

I think that your neighbor has very legitimate complaints about the roaming cats in the neighborhood (are they digging in her yard and garden?  It sounds like it.  Are they using her yard and garden as their litter box? Ew.) and she may have fixated on Sam because she knows him and knows that you are the owner.

Frankly if I had a neighbor whose cat was causing problems in my yard and they did nothing about it after repeated complaints, my next step would be to trap the cat and turn it over to animal control. 

Do you think that your neighbor might try to trap Sam?  Or maybe might put out something to try to hurt him?

If you think that the answer to any of those questions might be "yes", then keep Sam in your house or in your yard.  Period.

It is not your neighbor's job to alter her yard with citronella or whatnot to keep Sam (and other cats) out.  It is your job to keep Sam out of her yard since you are Sam's owner.

I second the previous poster who suggested making an outdoor run for Sam.  That way he can be outside, and you know where he is at all times.

Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Eden on April 19, 2013, 08:51:12 AM
From an etiquette perspective I don't think you're necessarily doing anything wrong. In your shoes I might consider keeping Sam inside or on a harness and leash if for no other reason than not to risk your neighbor calling animal control as some sort of weird tactical maneuver.

For the life of me I can never understand how people have the energy for those kinds of games. I barely have the energy to make it through my day in the most straightforward way possible, let alone devising ways to manipulate and "punish" those around me.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Knitterly on April 19, 2013, 09:04:02 AM
I used to know someone with an escapist cat.  The final solution was to put him on a lead with a harness.  They would leave him in the harness most of the time so they didn't have to fight to get it on and off.  In the morning before leaving for work (weather permitting), they would clip him to the lead and let him out. 
Make sure it's a nice long lead (they used a clothesline attached to their deck so he had the full run of the backyard). 

If it works, it should solve the problem of Sam's escaping escapades and train him to the area that is your home, as well as fixing the problem of what the neighbours might think.

We have a lot of chipped cats in the neighbourhood who roam around.  There are two that I've almost hit several times driving late at night.  Even driving slowing, you can knock an animal and break a leg or other limb.

Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Secret on April 19, 2013, 09:07:36 AM
It would be nice if you could harness him and the next time the neigbhour says something you can now be 100% sure it was not Sam doing any of the stuff.  You can tell your neighbour that you've made sam a 100% indoor cat and is harnessed on a leash at all times when outside.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: WillyNilly on April 19, 2013, 09:45:16 AM
So long as you aren't breaking any rules/laws, I say just politely ignore your neighbor. Humans don't own the earth (although plenty like to act like we do) your cat as every right to go out and live his life like any other creature. Your neighbor likes to complain, its what she does, and it has no bearing on you or your cat, its who she is.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Miss Tickle on April 19, 2013, 10:10:05 AM
Sounds like your problem is with your mother not your neighbour.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 10:10:35 AM
Sorry, i am not a pet owner so I do not have any strong opinions about controlling the pet.  It sounds to me like you are trying your best and doing a reasonable job.

Your neighbor is a whackadoo.  If you have your car parked outside, SOMETHING is going to walk on it.  If it is not somebody's cat, it will be a squirrel, or a possum, or a racoon.  Who do you call to complain about that?

Same thing about the burrowing.  Does she not realize that cats are not burrowing animals?  They do not have a digging instinct like dogs.  If your cat was "burrowing" under her house, it was chasing a mouse or a chipmunk, which was the real cause of the damage.  Who is she going to complain to about the rodents?

Whackadoo.  Ignore her.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Twik on April 19, 2013, 10:14:09 AM
What is there about cat footprints on a windscreen that cannot be fixed with a squirt of washer fluid and a wipe?  ??? Doesn't sound worth the effort to complain, really.

And yes, I've never seen a cat burrow. Maybe chase something into its burrow, but just digging for the fun of it? Not a cat thing.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 10:15:42 AM
Sorry, i am not a pet owner so I do not have any strong opinions about controlling the pet.  It sounds to me like you are trying your best and doing a reasonable job.

Your neighbor is a whackadoo.  If you have your car parked outside, SOMETHING is going to walk on it.  If it is not somebody's cat, it will be a squirrel, or a possum, or a racoon.  Who do you call to complain about that?

Same thing about the burrowing.  Does she not realize that cats are not burrowing animals?  They do not have a digging instinct like dogs.  If your cat was "burrowing" under her house, it was chasing a mouse or a chipmunk, which was the real cause of the damage.  Who is she going to complain to about the rodents?

Whackadoo.  Ignore her.

Well, if you are having a problem with a racoon, possum or squirrel yuo might live trap it and relocate or call an exterminator.  There are protocols for hunting those animals as well so I don't know that OP would want Sam viewed in the same light as they are viewed.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: MamaMootz on April 19, 2013, 10:22:34 AM
What if you could make Sam an enclosed outdoor area in your yard? Kind of like a kitty "campground"? He gets to go outside and you don't have to worry about where he gets to - google some outdoor cat enclosures and see if that might work for you - you could even set it up so he has his own "door" to get out and in - and he may stop trying to escape if he has the option to go out whenever he wants to.

Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: TootsNYC on April 19, 2013, 10:35:51 AM
Pet owners better control what their animsls do outside. If a big dog atstacked Sam (or a small child) would the response be to shrug it off and sy "Hey, the dog was outside, can't expect the owners to control what it does there."

If I were Sam's owner, yes, actually that would be my reaction.

In fact, I *was* Sam's owner, as a child (and his name really was Sam), and he used to come home all scratched and bitten from getting into fights with whoever.

And while I'd have been upset if he'd died (and I was upset when he did die, and he died younger than indoor cats do), I'd have also known that he had the life he wanted.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 10:42:50 AM
Pet owners better control what their animsls do outside. If a big dog atstacked Sam (or a small child) would the response be to shrug it off and sy "Hey, the dog was outside, can't expect the owners to control what it does there."

If I were Sam's owner, yes, actually that would be my reaction.

In fact, I *was* Sam's owner, as a child (and his name really was Sam), and he used to come home all scratched and bitten from getting into fights with whoever.

And while I'd have been upset if he'd died (and I was upset when he did die, and he died younger than indoor cats do), I'd have also known that he had the life he wanted.

And if your child or grandchild got mauled by a dog?  Would you hold the dog's owner reponsible or would you shrug it off because when animals are outside, owners can't control what they do? 
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: TootsNYC on April 19, 2013, 10:50:32 AM
No, because I would expect an owner to leash a dog that is vicious toward *people.*

Animals have different dynamics of interaction.

And I guess I'm wrong in the "shrug it off" idea because AFTER a dog indicated that it was *vicious* toward other animals, I would expect the owner to keep it from being unleashed.

However, cats don't generally maul people unprompted. Dogs sometimes do; I've never really heard of a cat attacking someone out of the blue. I've seldom heard of a cat attacking someone, period. (When I was a kid, one of ours did, semi-provoked, and we put him down immediately.)
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: turnip on April 19, 2013, 11:02:20 AM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 11:07:13 AM
  If your cat was "burrowing" under her house, it was chasing a mouse or a chipmunk, which was the real cause of the damage.  Who is she going to complain to about the rodents?


Well, if you are having a problem with a racoon, possum or squirrel yuo might live trap it and relocate or call an exterminator.  There are protocols for hunting those animals as well so I don't know that OP would want Sam viewed in the same light as they are viewed.

Sharnita, what i meant was, it seems to me that the neighbor just likes to complain, so she has picked OP and Sam as the targets, rather than thinking about what the real problem is. 
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 19, 2013, 11:21:17 AM
So long as you aren't breaking any rules/laws, I say just politely ignore your neighbor. Humans don't own the earth (although plenty like to act like we do) your cat as every right to go out and live his life like any other creature. Your neighbor likes to complain, its what she does, and it has no bearing on you or your cat, its who she is.

This.  If your city/county/neighborhood doesn't have restrictions on cats being out unleashed, then I don't believe you are obligated to address her concerns. I agree with others that since you alerted her to your cat being out, she is going to blame everything on your cat. Buy her a bottle of cat repellent and suggest she use it to keep all cats away from her yard.

Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: MindsEye on April 19, 2013, 11:23:19 AM
I wonder how this thread would be different if it had been started by the OP's neighbor, saying that she didn't like the fact that her neighbor's cat kept coming into her yard, and asking what she could do about it...?

I think that we would have advised her to approach her neighbor directly about the problem, and that if it continued, that she should involve animal control.

OP, your neighbor has approached you about Sam.  And now the ball is in your court.  Find out what the laws in your area are.  And then decide how you want to respond.

You asked who is easier to contend with... your cat or your neighbor?  In my opinion it is easier to deal with the cat, who you have complete control over, than with a neighbor who you say you already have issues with and who might decide to cause you more problems. 

At this point I don't think that it is so much about which of you is "right" as it is about making sure that Sam is safe.

If this neighbor is really such a "wackaloon" then I would worry that she might put out poison or something.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: sweetonsno on April 19, 2013, 11:25:22 AM
I do believe that it would be wise to check with the laws in your neighborhood and community. It doesn't matter if everyone else is violating the rule as well. If the complaint comes in for your pet, you're the one who is going to get the ticket (or have your pet picked up).

I guess I would look at it this way: your neighbor has alerted you to the fact that Sam has been a nuisance on her property on two separate occasions. She has (presumably) asked you to keep him under control. If you decide to do nothing, I don't think she has any obligation to inform you again if he creates a problem. While it would not be particularly nice for her to call animal control, I don't think it would be rude. This goes doubly if there's a law or rule in place. I agree with MindsEye. If there is a law in place, the neighbor has already fulfilled her etiquette obligation by talking with the neighbor prior to bringing it up with the appropriate authorities.

I also vote for a kitty run. You can get the whole thing put together quite cheaply. You can pick up some wire mesh fencing at the hardware store. You don't need to get posts, as it stands up by itself. However, you should probably invest in a few stakes to keep it close to the ground. My cat figured out how to crawl under pretty quickly.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: WillyNilly on April 19, 2013, 11:28:54 AM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

The OP mentions there are several cats in the area. Some are probably not even pets, just semi-feral outdoor cats that live in the area. A cat is no more rude then a squirrel or a bird or a field mouse - animals live in the world. And they all poop. All anyone can do is control inside their own home and even then its only to a certain degree.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 11:31:31 AM
I agree that the controlling factor here is the local law, which OP should observe.

In the area where I live, animals walking across or existing on your property (which is basically what the neighbor complained about) is not considered a "nuisance" at the level where Animal Control would get involved.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Possum on April 19, 2013, 11:35:53 AM
I adopted a cat who had been a barn cat.  She was mean, cranky, and didn't like having to stay inside all the time.  She'd constantly try to get out when I was entering or exiting the apartment, and I had to be careful she didn't get onto the balcony, lest she take the two-story leap to try and run away.

It took time, but she gradually got used to being inside.  She still would do her daily attempt to leave when I was coming in (I had to put my foot in the door and shake it before opening the door) or going out, and I couldn't take her on the balcony unless I was holding her, but the one time she *did* run out, I scolded her and she ran right back inside. 

If I'd let her run loose, she might've lived a few years longer.  Instead, she had over a decade with me.  No worries about being hit by cars, mauled by another animal, stolen by someone, taken by the animal control truck, picking up distemper, no fleas, and no mysterious injuries that wind up killing her.  (My first cat used to scrap with all the neighborhood cats, and one particularly unfortunate scratch abscessed into his skull and killed him.)

Keeping a cat indoors is much like not letting your kids have ice cream for dinner every night.  Yeah, it makes them upset, but they'll be happier, healthier, and better off for it.

If you still want her to have some outside time, get her accustomed to a harness and leash.  Some cats will never take to it, but some find it almost as exciting as a dog would!
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Punky B. on April 19, 2013, 11:36:23 AM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

I have the same issues with the neighbor cats and completely agree.  Outdoor cats can cause inconvenience and damage, but we're just expected to deal with it because "that's what cats do"- I would never let my dogs poo in someone's yard/mark their door but am expected to deal with it from cats.  It stinks and it's unsanitary.  Pets need to be supervised.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 11:46:23 AM
I would just like to point out that the OP's neighbor did not say anything about the cat's elimination habits.  I realize other people have a problem with that, but this neighbor apparently does not (or she has not gotten far enough down the list of possible complaints yet).
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: snowdragon on April 19, 2013, 11:48:49 AM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

I have the same issues with the neighbor cats and completely agree.  Outdoor cats can cause inconvenience and damage, but we're just expected to deal with it because "that's what cats do"- I would never let my dogs poo in someone's yard/mark their door but am expected to deal with it from cats.  It stinks and it's unsanitary.  Pets need to be supervised.

This and the first time it happened I would approach the cat owner with " I know there are several cats around, but I wanted to let you know, since you're a neighbor - the next time I find cat poo/distruction in my yard, I am calling animal control."  and go from there. Frankly,  I don't have a pet because I don't want to deal with the poop, I should not have to deal with it from anyone else's pet.
Dog's are kept on a leash - cats should have to be leashed too.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: turnip on April 19, 2013, 11:55:57 AM
I would just like to point out that the OP's neighbor did not say anything about the cat's elimination habits.  I realize other people have a problem with that, but this neighbor apparently does not (or she has not gotten far enough down the list of possible complaints yet).

I've never said anything to my neighbors.   My experience with cat owners suggests it wouldn't be fruitful.   Just because no one is complaining about cleaning after the OPs cat doesn't mean no one is inconvenienced by cleaning up after the OPs cat. 

I can't imagine what etiquette rule would say it is OK for other people to clean up your pet's droppings, therefore I can't imagine what etiquette rule would say it is OK to have an outdoor cat.   If the OP wants to avoid being rude, she should keep her cat indoors.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: turnip on April 19, 2013, 11:58:47 AM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

The OP mentions there are several cats in the area. Some are probably not even pets, just semi-feral outdoor cats that live in the area. A cat is no more rude then a squirrel or a bird or a field mouse - animals live in the world. And they all poop. All anyone can do is control inside their own home and even then its only to a certain degree.


My babies poop.  Is there any circumstances under which we would say it was OK for other people to have to deal with their poop?   I'm fairly confident the answer is 'no'.   All we can do is control what is in our home, but if on an etiquette board someone asks what to do to avoid being rude and inconveniencing others, I think the answer is very plainly "keep your cat inside."
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: WillyNilly on April 19, 2013, 12:09:21 PM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

The OP mentions there are several cats in the area. Some are probably not even pets, just semi-feral outdoor cats that live in the area. A cat is no more rude then a squirrel or a bird or a field mouse - animals live in the world. And they all poop. All anyone can do is control inside their own home and even then its only to a certain degree.


My babies poop.  Is there any circumstances under which we would say it was OK for other people to have to deal with their poop?   I'm fairly confident the answer is 'no'.   All we can do is control what is in our home, but if on an etiquette board someone asks what to do to avoid being rude and inconveniencing others, I think the answer is very plainly "keep your cat inside."

Well I respectfully disagree. I don't think its rude to let an animal live a free life. The world belongs to all creatures not just humans, and clearly the cat has no interest or desire in living an indoor life and forcing such confinement on the animal IMO would be cruel. If there are laws that forbid it, so be it, the OP should follow the laws, but if there aren't then its not rude. If the neighbor dislikes the roaming animals she shoudl write to her politicians and ask for a change in the local laws.

And I have to deal with other people's babies and their inconveniences on a daily basis. I have to navigate around high chairs in restaurants put in the pathway (like at the end of a booth) and smell their discarded diapers in the trashcans of public restrooms, and hear their squeals and chatter out in public and get stuck behind them walking painfully slowly on narrow sidewalks or down public stairways. Its part of life in the world with other living creatures and I don't mind it, it is what it is.

If cats weren't pooping in your garden then mice, squirrels, raccoons, deer, possums or whatever is indigenous to your area would be. That's simply the reality of the world. No matter what some animal is going to defecate in your yard unless you enclose your yard. Cats that go to a human's home at night are more likely to get regular health screenings via a vet then wild animals and are more likely to be friendly to humans then most of the options of free roaming animals.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 12:10:32 PM
I think that animals living a "free life" are not called pets.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Eden on April 19, 2013, 12:12:44 PM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

The OP mentions there are several cats in the area. Some are probably not even pets, just semi-feral outdoor cats that live in the area. A cat is no more rude then a squirrel or a bird or a field mouse - animals live in the world. And they all poop. All anyone can do is control inside their own home and even then its only to a certain degree.


My babies poop.  Is there any circumstances under which we would say it was OK for other people to have to deal with their poop?   I'm fairly confident the answer is 'no'.   All we can do is control what is in our home, but if on an etiquette board someone asks what to do to avoid being rude and inconveniencing others, I think the answer is very plainly "keep your cat inside."

Well I respectfully disagree. I don't think its rude to let an animal live a free life. The world belongs to all creatures not just humans, and clearly the cat has no interest or desire in living an indoor life and forcing such confinement on the animal IMO would be cruel.

And I have to deal with other people's babies and their inconveniences on a daily basis. I have to navigate around high chairs in restaurants put in the pathway (like at the end of a booth) and smell their discarded diapers in the trashcans of public restrooms, and hear their squeals and chatter out in public and get stuck behind them walking painfully slowly on narrow sidewalks or down public stairways. Its part of life in the world with other living creatures and I don't mind it, it is what it is.

If cats weren't pooping in your garden then mice, squirrels, raccoons, deer, possums or whatever is indigenous to your are would be. That's simply the reality of the world. No matter what some animal is going to defecate in your yard unless you enclose your yard. Cats that go to a human's home at night are more likely to get regular health screenings via a vet then wild animals and are more likely to be friendly to humans then most of the options of free roaming animals.

Those are not domesticated animals so the comparison is not relevant. I wonder if you hold the same opinion of dogs, parakeets, pet snakes, etc. Just let them wander because confining them is cruel?

To be clear if the norm in the neighborhood is to let cats roam and the owner is fine with that, I guess that's fine, but in general I can't agree with the idea that someone's cat pooping in your yard is natural and you should just get used to it.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Eden on April 19, 2013, 12:13:39 PM
I think that animals living a "free life" are not called pets.

Yes! Conveyed so much more succinctly than I was able to do.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: WillyNilly on April 19, 2013, 12:16:28 PM
I can't tell you how much time I've spend cleaning cat poo out of my yard, or how much money and time I've spent installing 'cat stoppers' thoughtout my yard to keep them away.  ( the cat stoppers do work, but require frequent battery replacements or elaborate cording to get an electric outlet to them )

So in my opinion, outdoor cats are rude - full stop.   Their feces is known to carry bacteria harmful to humans, and no owner can guarantee what they are doing when they are out of doors.   I know many people let their cats outside anyway, but I don't see how etiquette could ever support it.

The OP mentions there are several cats in the area. Some are probably not even pets, just semi-feral outdoor cats that live in the area. A cat is no more rude then a squirrel or a bird or a field mouse - animals live in the world. And they all poop. All anyone can do is control inside their own home and even then its only to a certain degree.


My babies poop.  Is there any circumstances under which we would say it was OK for other people to have to deal with their poop?   I'm fairly confident the answer is 'no'.   All we can do is control what is in our home, but if on an etiquette board someone asks what to do to avoid being rude and inconveniencing others, I think the answer is very plainly "keep your cat inside."

Well I respectfully disagree. I don't think its rude to let an animal live a free life. The world belongs to all creatures not just humans, and clearly the cat has no interest or desire in living an indoor life and forcing such confinement on the animal IMO would be cruel.

And I have to deal with other people's babies and their inconveniences on a daily basis. I have to navigate around high chairs in restaurants put in the pathway (like at the end of a booth) and smell their discarded diapers in the trashcans of public restrooms, and hear their squeals and chatter out in public and get stuck behind them walking painfully slowly on narrow sidewalks or down public stairways. Its part of life in the world with other living creatures and I don't mind it, it is what it is.

If cats weren't pooping in your garden then mice, squirrels, raccoons, deer, possums or whatever is indigenous to your are would be. That's simply the reality of the world. No matter what some animal is going to defecate in your yard unless you enclose your yard. Cats that go to a human's home at night are more likely to get regular health screenings via a vet then wild animals and are more likely to be friendly to humans then most of the options of free roaming animals.

Those are not domesticated animals so the comparison is not relevant. I wonder if you hold the same opinion of dogs, parakeets, pet snakes, etc. Just let them wander because confining them is cruel?

To be clear if the norm in the neighborhood is to let cats roam and the owner is fine with that, I guess that's fine, but in general I can't agree with the idea that someone's cat pooping in your yard is natural and you should just get used to it.

I very purposely live in a city that has leash laws for dogs. But I have been to plenty of places where off leash dogs are allowed and I don't complain when I'm there. That is the culture and the law in those areas and I respect that. And I am a firm believer in having more designated areas in my own city for off leash dogs because while I personally don't want to encounter an off leash canine, I do feel dogs deserve spaces where they can run freely.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 12:18:26 PM
First of all you need to understand that I do not know from one day to the next what status I am with my "friend" across the street.  Some days I can do no wrong and others she is judging me from head to toe. ... Aside from that, how can I keep things okay with my neighbour/friend? .... This is very much a friendship issue and not a legal one.

Issues of pet poop aside, I think you may have answered your own question inside the question, OP. 
PP's have some valid points about the line of personal responsibility and other people's boundaries.  However, if this is just part of a larger pattern of a person who is constantly looking for offense and impossible to please, I think you may have to rethink your friendship on that basis.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 12:19:17 PM
Being "off leash" does not mean the dog owners let them out all day with no idea where they are, what they are doing or whose property they are on.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Aquamarine on April 19, 2013, 12:26:54 PM
My property is my property and other people's animals are not welcome to use it.  I trap cats that come into my fenced yard (with a locked gate) and call the pound to come pick them up.  You need to keep your cat inside because not everyone welcomes cats onto their private property.  I have spent a small fortune on my backyard with waterscaping and I will not see it turned into an outside litterbox because a neighbor's cat "likes to be outside".  I like to be outside too, in my backyard that does not smell like a litterbox.

You keep your cat inside because:

1.  It's what responsible pet owners do.
2.  Your animal does not have the right to trespass on your neighbor's property.
3.  Your animal won't get picked up and used as fighting bait.
4.  Your cat won't get hit by a car.

Your cat's right to roam free ends at my property line.  I don't think I'm the only person out there who feels this way.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: MindsEye on April 19, 2013, 12:42:40 PM
If there are laws that forbid it, so be it, the OP should follow the laws, but if there aren't then its not rude. If the neighbor dislikes the roaming animals she shoudl write to her politicians and ask for a change in the local laws.

The way I see it, this is not just about who is "right", it is about making sure that Sam the cat stays safe.

If there are no laws governing pets wandering around, then there might also be no laws governing how people can deal with what they see as "nuisance animals"on their property.

If this neighbor is a "wackaloon", then she may stop at writing letters to her alderman.  She could very well start setting out traps or laying out poison. 

OP, if you prioritize Sam having his "freedom to roam" over his health and safety, then by all means keep letting him out to wander.
Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Amara on April 19, 2013, 12:59:15 PM
I agree that your neighbor has given you warning and that you need to heed that warning. That said, I am a passionate believer in indoor-only cats for all the reasons others have already listed. You know the potential dangers out there. They do not, and our pets like our children need our rules for their own safety. It is our responsibility.

Cats will eventually get used to an indoor life. Granted, it's not an easy or short transition in many cases but it can be done. There are ways to mitigate their frustration: window seats, cat leashes, cat strollers ( http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Pet-Supplies-Cat-Strollers/zgbs/pet-supplies/3024134011 ), tall cat condos next to windows, and if you do want them to be outdoors but safe, the cat enclosures that MamaMootz mentioned. There are a wide variety of these, and some are easily made, others can be extremely elaborate. I did a quick search on Google and here are the results: http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22Cat+enclosures%22&oq=%22Cat+enclosures%22&gs_l=hp.3..0l4.943.14012.0.15045.32.19.9.0.0.0.1342.4890.0j13j1j2j0j1j0j1.18.0...0.0...1c.1.9.psy-ab.o2rp7QHp1Ts&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45373924,d.cGE&fp=904ffd09aa26092&biw=1203&bih=759

Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Charliebug on April 19, 2013, 02:51:52 PM
Thank you for the all of the thoughtful (and some very passionate) advice and input. I have let her know that Sam will not make a nuisance of himself and that we will keep a very close eye on him. As for the pooping in her yard- Sam comes home to use the litter box (weird, I know) so that is not an issue.

The shine has warn off over the past week with Sam after we weren't trying to fight his need for freedom all the time. Now he stays outside for a couple of hours during the day and either lays in our yard or our flower bed. He does visit the immediate neighbours next door as he loves to go visit their new kitty through their window (neigbours find it amusing) but he definitely shows no interest in heading across the street to neighbour/friend's house at all. I am not at all concerned she will poison him- she is an animal lover. I do think this has a lot to do with control and rethinking the friendship is the order of the day for sure.

Once again, thank you everyone. I appreciate your thoughts on this.  ;D

Title: Re: Who Is Easier to Contend With...The Cat or the Neighbour? (Long)
Post by: Wordgeek on April 19, 2013, 03:01:14 PM
Since the matter has been resolved, thread closed.