To no longer collect my cat from my neighbour's house?

(43 Posts)
PeppermintPasty Sun 03-May-15 13:51:51

i wonder what you all think of this.

I live in a very rural part of the country. My nearest neighbour is probably just under a quarter of a mile away. They are an older couple. The man, whom I have known since I was a little girl, is in his 80s and is the patriarch of the nearby farm, where his family all live and work. He lives with his second wife, a wee bit younger than him, probably early to mid 70s. They live in a house on the outskirts of the farm land, towards my house.

They have a cat and a cat flap. I have cats. 3-4 years ago I acquired a brother and sister pair of kittens who have been happily living with us and our other cats (2 others) since then.

My garden is massive. Not a stealth boast. It is basically a field with a house in it. Everywhere around is National Trust land that is farmed by said farm.

Cats of course are no respecters of boundaries.

About two months ago the female cat went missing. She is a nomad and sometimes doesn't come in for a day or so, but always comes back. To cut a long story short, we found out that our neighbours had been feeding her and letting her in. My friend cleans for them and the wife had asked friend to let me know they had my cat and she won't leave! Ok, cue a couple of trips round there with my dc to get her back. Wife said she didn't mind, several times, but that my cat was fighting with hers, and so it wasn't ideal. My friend's view at that point was that the wife would have been quite happy to keep encouraging my cat if it got on with hers.

Ok, so I have tried to get my cat back and keep her in, impossible with my other cats, cat flaps, and a little girl who will inevitably leave doors open now and again.

The issue is that the husband has rung me twice and on both occasions been spectacularly rude and aggressive, at one point intimating that as he is a farmer he would know what to do with my cat and that you shoot troublesome animals.

So far so nasty. I don't put up with rubbish like that and the first time I put the phone down on him after telling him to get a grip etc. He told me to come and get the cat again (Friday phone call) and I refused because it is clear they are making very little effort to actually exclude the cat from their house. He shouted at me that it wasn't their problem it was mine, and I asked him how I should deal with it if keeping her in is not an option (it isn't). He suggested I take her to a cats home. I suggested he tried harder to keep the cat out.

But they won't. I accept that they are older and also he has recently been in hospital and it is far from ideal to have a cat coming in who apparently breaks ornaments (?) and has broken into the locked cat flap. I have said I would pay for any breakages but they refuse.

I have a stray cat (with a collar but no name) coming to my house at the moment. I explained to him (over the shouting) that when it comes in I put it out, and that is what they are going to have to do, every time. I said it might take weeks to break her of the habit. I said to them by all means spray water at her, anything like that, but the wife won't do that or says it doesn't work.

I don't want to fall out with them, he has always been a good neighbour but he was spitting vitriol at me on Friday, and threatened solicitors, which is hilarious as I am a solicitor. Basically, he is a shouty old chap who cannot be reasoned with and is used to having his own way. He may also very possibly have been a bit tiddly when he called me.

WWYD?! I just cannot see any other way than for them to continually pick her up and put/chase her out until she gets the message.

Sorry for the length, all about a bloody cat.

googoodolly Sun 03-May-15 13:59:40

YANBU at all. I'm a cat owner but my two are house cats. I wouldn't be impressed if they were being fed elsewhere to start with, and I would be doubly unimpressed if they were being let in and I was getting the blame for them destroying someone else's stuff.

If your neighbours don't want the cat there, then they need to chuck her out and keep doing so until she gets the message. Do they have their own cats? If not, the simple solution would be for them to get rid of their cat-flap, or get one that only works with a micro-chip, although they're not foolproof.

I understand they find it irritating but they can't complain when they feed her and let her in!

PeppermintPasty Sun 03-May-15 14:06:57

Yes they have one cat. I spoke to the wife, who is more reasonable, in fact very pleasant, and we talked about a cat flap with a magnetic collar etc. Her reason for rejecting that (I said I'd pay for it) is that her cat is little and therefore too short for the magnet to work on the same level as the flap confused

She is now denying that she still feeds my cat, but she clearly is, according to my friend.

It's very difficult to deal with illogical people! I am very pissed off that I am getting shouted at!

googoodolly Sun 03-May-15 14:16:39

I don't blame you. I don't really know what to suggest tbh - if she didn't want your cat there, she wouldn't feed it and she'd chuck it out, not just let it come inside!

wowfudge Sun 03-May-15 14:22:37

I think the neighbour is annoyed with his wife for encouraging your cat and is taking it out on you. What is it with people who are deluded and think they have been chosen as Tiddles' preferred home?

I would try a white lie and say your daughter is really upset that the cat hasn't been coming home.

We had a lovely little cat for many years and she managed a magnetic cat flap which involved a stretching climb up to get in and and a drop down to get out, even when very elderly, because there were two steps by the door.

Get them a magnetic cat flap and have done with it. They can lock their own cat inside at any time should they choose to.

PeppermintPasty Sun 03-May-15 15:01:17

I agree. I have had cats for years and, whilst I think of them as 'mine', and certainly my responsibility, I am not so daft as to think I have any control over them.

I pondered writing them a letter for a second or two, but I am not that keen on that sort of thing, a bit P/A, and I daresay it would somehow be used against me, however reasonably I put it.

I may have to call the wife and suggest the magnetic cat flap again, more forcefully. Useful to know it can be done, even by an elderly cat!

JemimaPuddlePop Sun 03-May-15 15:08:21

Yanbu.

We have a cat flap and a few months ago a random cat started coming in.

We were gentle at first and just coaxed it out or shooed it out 'quietly' each time.

But it didn't get the message and kept coming back. So we started being less quiet and chasing it out. I felt mean because we were scaring it, but it did work and stopped coming in.

If a random cat comes in now I run at it doing the 'kssssshhhh' noise loudly and they go straight out and don't risk it again.

FluffyJawsOfDoom Sun 03-May-15 15:38:01

I'd be annoyed too, if I were him, tbh. Onus is on him to get a lockable cat flap if he dislikes the intruder but they're expensive and it IS your cat - could you get one installed to stop it leaving yours?

hiddenhome Sun 03-May-15 15:51:49

You can cat proof the garden. That's what we've done after my kitten went missing for six days. Somebody took her in and tried to keep her.

My cats can't leave the garden now.

Bad things happen to cats who are allowed to wander.

GloGirl Sun 03-May-15 16:12:50

What a pain, any way you can get caller ID so that when they ring you can ignore it for a week and then when you answer say "Sorry, been soooooo busy".

PeppermintPasty Sun 03-May-15 16:13:03

I genuinely never thought of my getting a magnetic cat flap!!! shock grin talk about dense! Although, thinking about it, if I had one it wouldn't make much difference would it as the cat would just go to the other house as soon as she went out. And I cannot keep her in indefinitely. So on reflection, I don't think that would solve this particular issue.

And it would be totally impossible to cat proof my garden. It really is a field, no exaggeration, but not one with fences around it. It has woods etc at one end, it would be impossible unfortunately.

PeppermintPasty Sun 03-May-15 16:16:46

Haha I have caller ID and I ignored him the second time he rang but he let it ring and ring and ring so I thought I should get a grip and answer it. Next time I'm going back to ignoring!

TalkinPeace Sun 03-May-15 17:13:09

get them to get their cats microchipped and get a microchip cat flap : then no issues with collars and no issues with cats in other houses

Coyoacan Sun 03-May-15 18:07:10

I sounds like she wants to adopt your cat and he is deadset against it. Really she should never have fed your cat if she didn't want it to stay.

Could you sue them for alienation of affections?grin

PeppermintPasty Sun 03-May-15 18:22:33

I was thinking of turning it around and accusing them of stealing my 5 year old's cat grin

MidniteScribbler Sun 03-May-15 23:45:58

Why should someone else be responsible for controlling your cat, just because you can't?

A cat that kept coming in to my house when unwelcome would find themselves caught and taken to the pound.

gobbin Mon 04-May-15 00:53:34

A cat that kept coming in to my house when unwelcome would find themselves caught and taken to the pound Really?! I don't actually believe you (and anyway, whose town has a 'pound' these days?)

One of my three cats was going in a neighbour's house via their (obv broken) microchip flap. I don't use a flap so the cats come and go as and when they whinge to go out/come in. Overnight, they are in, though in warmer weather one cat often stays out.

Now, because my cat was getting into their house, we got a message asking to keep it in at night whilst neighbour's cat was able to come n go at will through the flap. Well, if your cat isn't actually there when you call it in at 10.30 there's not a lot you can do! Neighbour wouldn't entertain the idea of locking the flap.

MidniteScribbler Mon 04-May-15 01:32:38

Well we do have a pound (I'm not the UK), and I would have no hesitation taking a roaming pet to the pound. We also have a cat curfew of between dawn and dusk, so a cat out of their own house at night is breaking the law. I have sent a cat to the pound in the past (kept jumping at my bedroom window screen at about 2am in the morning and howling and screeching). The council lent me a cat trap and I caught it and they collected it. I have no tolerance for people who don't confine their pets to their own property.

fruitandbarley Mon 04-May-15 02:44:04

Probably going against the grain here, but I'd strip it back to the start, I'd go round there with box of chocolates or something that I thought was fitting (not because I thought I was in the wrong), and say sorry if the cats caused trouble, that apart from locking it in which isn't an option, there's nothing you can do, and you really need them to refuse the cat entry/boot it out, every time it comes round for a couple of weeks till it gets the message. Ive had cats myself, you can't control them, but I think I'd try and get rid of all the bad feeling there is at the moment because I think any logic on his part is being obscured by whatever problem he has with you. He has cats himself, must know that you can't tell them where to go. Try and dissolve the bad feeling and he'd probably be more agreeable. (That said I still agree with you, just trying to offer a solution).

Coyoacan Mon 04-May-15 04:54:13

fruitandbarley Excellent suggestion!

Thelovecats Mon 04-May-15 05:14:18

Midnite you have to understand that what you are talking about is a totally alien concept to most of us!
It sounds like going to talk to the wife would be a good idea, as it's her that needs to stop encouraging your cat. The whole situation sounds a bit batty!

claraschu Mon 04-May-15 05:41:48

A microchip cat flap for them would instantly solve the problem. It is expensive and fiddly to instal, but MUCH more reliable than a magnetic one.

Midnight, I would tell you what I think of you, except that someone capable of your actions would be too callous to care.

Yarp Mon 04-May-15 07:05:10

It sounds like you need to talk to the woman

I think wowfudge has it right. And fruitandbarley

A microchip cat flap is the best solution, but the neighbours sound so unreasonable, you'd have to buy and get it fitted to their house yourself

PfftTheMagicDraco Mon 04-May-15 07:23:40

But the cat clearly isnt unwelcome, is it? They keep feeding it! If they spent all their time shooing the cat away they they would have a point. But given then have been letting it in and feeding it, I'm not sure why they think it won't come back!

PfftTheMagicDraco Mon 04-May-15 07:26:10

I should add we have a neighbourhood pest of a cat. He is a huge unneutered tom who comes in through our windows, attacks our cats and menaces next doors elderly cat. We can't work out who owns him. It's getting ridiculous and we are considering catching him and handing him in.

Now, if I'd been feeding him, it would all be my own fault.

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