To be a bit upset by our neighbour re our cat?

(100 Posts)
Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 15:04:35

So, our elderly neighbours have always loved our cats, given them affection and company when we are at work and especially since our dc came on the scene. As far as we are aware, until recently, our remaining cat (one died recently) stayed in the garden, might have had a few cat biscuits or some ham, but basically came in at night and to eat.
Our neighbours are lovely, have been kind to our children and given them Christmas gifts and birthday cards.
Sadly, last year the gentleman of the couple died and his widow has been lonely since, despite having family who visit frequently and help, and neighbours who really do look out for each other, there's a huge unfillable hole in her life. We'd become aware that our dcat had started to go in and increasingly be fed there and turned a bit of a blind eye as both cat and neighbour were happy.
On Saturday, dh noticed a new collar on the cat and a magnetic key tag on it to open a cat flap. We assume our neighbour put it on. Initially, I felt okay, but now I kind of feel she should have at least asked first. If I were being really honest, I think our cat is being effectively adopted without asking us.
I am not sure what I'd say if our neighbour tried to formalise the arrangement. We've had her since a kitten, she's twelve and were all fond of her. On the other hand, she's not mad keen on the dc and I don't have as much time for her as I did Pre dc. Financially, we feed her and pay pet insurance and for jabs, flea treatment and worming - the insurance alone is £25 per month.
Aibu to be a bit narked? And what should I do about it whilst maintaining a supportive relationship?
Final and relevant point is dneighbours old cat was someone else's and "adopted" them.

mummymeister Mon 22-Apr-13 15:08:17

take the collar off and politely give it back. its your cat. if she wants one suggest to her that you could take her to a rescue centre. if you don't want the cat then give it to her with all the inherent costs. sorry but I think she has been a bit cheeky doing this though probably with the best of intentions.

Remotecontrolduck Mon 22-Apr-13 15:12:37

YANBU, I have slightly more sympathy in this case than I usually do, but WHY DO PEOPLE THINK IT'S OK TO DO THIS?!!

There's so many 'someone's pinched my cat' threads on mumsnet it makes me worry about the mentality of some people. There are loads of cats in shelters needing homes confused

I think you need to gently tell her that it is your cat tbh and although you dont mind her giving it a bit of fuss, you pay its bills and its your pet. Maybe show her some cats online in a local rescue centre that need adopting?

I would go apeshit if someone stole mine, I'd get them back and shut them in until the neighbour got the message <ragey cat lady emoticon>

Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 15:15:21

I do feel a bit guilty that dcat has been a bit pushed down the pecking order so less inclined to go mad and this, added to our neighbours loneliness might be clouding my judgement.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 15:17:30

My first reaction was, what a cheek!

If she is the family pet and the DCs love her, remove the collar and ask the neighbour not to take it upon herself to do that.

If you think Puss might have a better time at this neighbour's then why not approach her and say she can feed and pay any vet bills and she's entirely her responsibility. Cancel the pet insurance policy. Unless she keeps it locked in you'll still see the cat who will roam as it ever did.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 22-Apr-13 15:20:15

yes either give it to her lock stock and barrel and cancel pet insurance etc or hand her back the collar. like the idea of offering to take her to get a rescue cat.

Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 15:20:25

Puss will def enjoy the neighbour's more. I picture her lying on a silken cushion motioning with a furry paw that she'd like more tuna! I think I might talk to dneighbours niece very gently about what she thinks about it. She might not even be aware that the collar hasn't been put on by us. If I'd lost my dh and loved this cat as much as they both did/do, I might not behave rationally either.

Remotecontrolduck Mon 22-Apr-13 15:26:58

I definitely feel more sympathetic to this situation, my rant was more general as there are a lot of threads on here about neighbours acquiring cats....you can't just pinch someone's telly because you like it, same with a cat. Obviously this is a bit more sensitive.

If you would rather she had it and don't mind then that's very nice of you, but you need to tell her she's responsible for the costs. You can't be shelling out £25 a month on insurance for a cat you don't really own any more!

Is it a safe release collar? If it wasn't I would be fuming about that on it's own.

Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 15:33:55

I haven't looked carefully at the collar. Neither of our cats have had them since we discovered the, now sadly deceased, black and white one couldn't cope with keeping one on. Since then, we just left the cat flap on the open setting and took off the collars. Felt safer too.
I'm heading towards the idea that we let dneighbour keep cat but sat little about it to dc. Soon we're doing building work and need to decide whether to have a cat flap or not. This might help us decide. I'll have to work on my better nature which, at the mo, is a bit challenged by the "but she should have asked" thought. It doesn't really matter in the decision making process but it sure is irking me!

WTFisABooyhoo Mon 22-Apr-13 15:37:17

i am a cat owner and i am the most soppy fool when it comes to my pets. however, i firmly believe that cats will go where they are happiest and in this case i think your neighbour is getting alot from the companionship of your cate. if you do think he is happier there and you cant give him the attention he enjoys at hers then i would let this arrangement continue. i would carry on paying the insurance, fleaing and worming him and giving him attention when you see him and let the neighbour spoil him as she had been doing. quite honestly i cant see what harm she is doing and i think to end it would make both the cat and your neighbour unhappy. the only thing i would say is to let the neighbour know that you are worming and fleaing him so that she doesn't double dose him. he is 12, he's probably happier having a quieter life with her than with you and dcs tbh and you still get to see him. personally i couldn't bring myself to take them away from each other and would be happy that they both get enjoyment from each other.

HansieMom Mon 22-Apr-13 15:39:04

I think I would just let things go on as now and pay the 25 a month insurance too. They could not start insurance on a twelve year old cat, could they? Your cat is happy, you still see it, your neighbor loves it. I would see it as a kindness.

Sallyingforth Mon 22-Apr-13 15:41:14

Regardless of what you say or do about ownership, if the cat wants to go next door it will. There's nothing you can do to stop it, except keep it permanently indoors.

phantomnamechanger Mon 22-Apr-13 15:43:29

someone stole our cat then let him go again when he got ill sad

seriously, he was gone for 4 months, so he must have been a housecat in that time - he would go to anyone for food, the piggy!
At first we thought he was accidentally locked in someones shed then as time passed, we were convinced he must have been hit by a car, then one day there he was large as life in the garden, we could not believe it. He was pleased to see us. But it was soon evident he was ill, very rattly breathing - fluid build up in lung due to large tumour so we had to have him put down.

Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 15:50:05

You know though, £25 is a lot for us at the moment especially for a cat that wouldn't be ours really any more. Sorry if that sounds harsh-it's not meant to.

WTFisABooyhoo Mon 22-Apr-13 15:51:57

well if £25 is a lot for you then you would be rehoming the cat anyway surely if you cant afford to pay for him?

WTFisABooyhoo Mon 22-Apr-13 15:55:45

what i mean is, if your neighbour hadn't 'adopted' your cat you would either still have to pay the £25 per month or you would be rehoming him. if you cant afford it then you should definitely offer her the chance to properly adopt him and take over all his care and if she says no then you'll have to find him another home but dont just stop paying the insurance. he is 12 and more likely to need veterinary care now so the insurance is pretty important and someone needs to be paying it for him. i dont think you can just use this as an excuse to save money. if you cant afford him then accept that and admit it and rehome him properly, either with her or someone else.

YouTheCat Mon 22-Apr-13 15:57:44

£25 seems a lot for pet insurance for a cat.

I don't think the cat going to the neighbour would bother me really.

Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 16:47:10

Wtf-the money is okay if its our cat. It suddenly shot up when we cancelled our other cat from the policy. We took on the responsibility for our cats as kittens and so wouldnt dream of leaving them without medical cover or rehoming them because of the expense. But if I've accepted that she's adopted our cat, without asking us, I don't then see why we would pay to insure a cat we have nothing to do with any more. I think we're actually being pretty reasonable-our neighbour has put a collar on our cat to let it have free access to her home. But there are extenuating circumstances making it inappropriate and I sensitive to get cross about it.

Catonthemove Mon 22-Apr-13 16:49:49

We can find the money, but are being frugal ATM, iyswim.

PeterParkerSays Mon 22-Apr-13 17:02:29

Catonthemove - I completely get you. Have a chat with the niece. Your neighbour may not even have realised that it looks like she's adopting / taking over the cat, only that she doesn't have to walk to the back door to let it in if she's wobbly on her feet.

Start by establishing whether she is actually interested in the cat, and is aware of how her actions would look to an outsider.

Ignore the posts upthread about the insurance. Of course you shouldn't continue to pay for the cat's insurance if it moves to your neighbour's. £25 is a lot of money each month for anyone - you possibly woudn't mind if it was £2.50, but not £25.

If it would be a problem to get the cat insured anew, you could maybe suggest they pay you the money to cover the premiums, and you show them the invoices / renewal schedule so they know they're not covering any additional costs, only the insurance premiums.

KittensoftPuppydog Mon 22-Apr-13 17:24:27

You took on responsibility for the cat, but now it sounds like you pretty much neglect it. Sorry to be harsh but I think you have a moral responsibility to keep paying the insurance. A pet is for life. It's not you cat's fault that you circumstances have changed. I think you should be very grateful that someone else is giving it love now.

DrHolmes Mon 22-Apr-13 17:30:07

I would ask her if she has adpoted her or just wants her for company for a while.
Could you say your children have been asking for the cat?
If she has adopted her I would tell her that she will have to get insurance for the cat as otherwise vet bills could be very large and seeing as the cat is getting on a bit then she might have costs to cover in the next few years. I certainly wouldn't keep paying the £25 a month! That's £300 a year you could spend on your kids or towards a holiday OP.

That's if you let her adopt your cat, it's not her cat, it's your cat. You should decide.
I see it that if she wants to be the responsible owner for the cat, she should pay.

MammaTJ Mon 22-Apr-13 17:36:08

Of course if she has adopted it, you are no longer liable to pay the insurance.

What utter nonsense that you now pretty much neglect it. Circumstances change. DC come along and of course you put them first rather than a pet.

You do need to talk to her about it though, just in case the cat need medical help and is no longer convered. It needs to be made very clear who will be responsible for this.

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Mon 22-Apr-13 17:37:40

YANBU. I'd have gone bananas!

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