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Help! Advice needed; neighbour has misappropriated my cat

(10 Posts)
ghosteditor Thu 01-Sep-11 18:57:52

Hi ladies,

I'm looking for some advice about how to handle my rude neighbour who has effectively acquired my lovely four year old feline. We rehomed my two lovely cats from a rescue centre about three years ago and one of them (the quirky, sociable, funny little cat that she is) has more or less moved in with one of my neighbours. Said neighbour has also appropriated two other cats during her history on the street (according to other neighbours).

We have a cat flap and both cats come and go as they please. We do what we can to keep them happy - and we're responsible owners who have insurance and feed them vet-recommended food etc. In any case, over the last few months, one of the cats has been seen less and less, leading to lots of late night searches of the neighbourhood. When we first got her, she was so inquisitive that she got shut in several garages, cars, and houses, so if she was missing we always needed to go looking for her. Of late, she's been gone so much that we have tried not to worry, and she looks well enough (if a bit fat). Unfortunately, since she's never home, we haven't been able to get her to the vets for her jabs, which means she can't go into a cattery when we go away, so we've arranged for people to come over and put food down/keep the cats company instead.

Today one of my other neighbours told me that she sees the cat go into a nearby neighbour's house all the time, and that the woman is feeding her. My cat has a collar and a bell and is chipped, so she certainly can't have been mistaken for a stray. We've had a few minor run-ins with this neighbour and I knew that other people disliked them based on some unreasonable behaviour, but I haven't had all that much to do with her. I am 100% certain she knows that the cat lives with us as we've had the occasional conversation about her. As I mentioned, she already has a cat, which she effectively stole from another neighbour by feeding it.

I was fuming when I found out, but need to speak to DH before I go around to have a word. I wondered what you all thought would be a reasonable thing to say. Her unwanted intervention means my cat isn't getting vaccinated and is being fed crappy food which has made her a bit chubby. I presumably would be the one who would have to pick up the bill if she has to have teeth removed or has liver/kidney problems related to the food she's eating at this woman's house. My plan is to stay as calm as possible and request that she doesn't feed my cat anymore and discourages her from staying in their house - mostly since it means I can't get my cat to the vets, and I can't control what she eats there. But, realistically, there's not much I can do now that the cat is used to going there.

Apologies for the very long ramble, but all advice appreciated. It's not like there aren't enough strays and rescue cats which need a new home - why does she need my cat angry?

hiddenhome Thu 01-Sep-11 22:52:07

I would be absolutely furious at her and certainly tell her to lay off or she'll be creating some trouble for herself angry Tell her the cat has a medical problem and she's been making it ill by her actions.

Tell her to get her own bloody cat.

Try shutting your kitty in for a few days so that your neighbour can digest the information.

ghosteditor Fri 02-Sep-11 09:43:58

thanks hiddenhome - we've come to the conclusion that we definitely need to go round and in no uncertain terms tell her to stop feeding the cat and encouraging her to come in. The cat would go in any home, car or garage if encouraged so all the other neighbours shoo her away if she tries to go in - I might try telling said thieving neighbour that it's not like she's special; the cat would go to anyone!

Still fuming though...

Lizcat Fri 02-Sep-11 13:26:47

Again I would suggest Lie the cat has a serious medical problem that requires special food and she could require really, really expensive treatment if the correct diet is not stuck too.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Fri 02-Sep-11 13:32:35

AGree with lizcat we had this many years ago. I had to go and knock on the door. The people had put a note in my cats collar and it said something like "my owners dont love me or feed me"
I went marching over there and asked them why they thought my beautiful, sleek, shiny coated black cat, with collar, bell and tag was a stray? They said the cat kept coming in their cat flap - even though they had no animals! (WTF) and meowing.

I burst out laughing. Of course a cat will do that, and if you FEED the fucking thing it will keep coming back.

Ours was more a case of eejits who didnt know anything about animals thinking they were doing a nice thing. Once I told them to LOCK the catflap and stop feeding the cat she soon stopped going over there! Honestly, some folk are thick as mince.

Your poor cat has a medical problem that means she shouldnt be fed by others is the way to approach this.

Ripeberry Fri 02-Sep-11 13:32:48

Go round there and get your cat, keep the said cat locked in for a week and I would go so far as putting a note on the collar, saying 'DO NOT FEED'.

My parents had a cat when we were young and two old ladies started to let her in and feed her and we saw her less and less, but when we saw where she was going, they threatened US with the law.
This was in the days before micro chips though, so no proof apart from maybe some photos.
I think our old cat prefered it with the quiet old ladies, rather than a house full of noisy kids.

In the end, cats go where they please, we don't own them.

ghosteditor Fri 02-Sep-11 13:45:38

thanks everyone - good to know that it's not unreasonable to go over there and demand that they stop. I might pop to the vets now to see if they have a 'do not feed' tag for her collar. I've spoken to this woman before and, like I said, she just sits around all day imagining problems and crises. Once, my cat followed her daughter to school and then the daughter brought the cat back and got in trouble for being late. The woman wrote a really passive-aggressive letter (she'd sent others before too) telling me about it, as if there was something I was expected to do! Presumably the cat followed the girl because they encourage her to go in the house etc. Cat has also followed me to work several times, but there's not much I can do about it!

Maybe we should bring them both in and shut up the cat flap for a while. In any case we're definitely going to go over later and very firmly insist that they cease and desist.

Ripeberry I agree that we don't own the cat, but as much as I like cats I would never feed another person's pet - it's not my right. And by feeding my cat shitty food she's potentially damaging her health, which is something I will have to pay for. I pay for jabs and insure her - the least I can expect is that no one deliberately tries to encourage the cat to move in with them.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 02-Sep-11 18:22:54

WTF? What a cow.

My cat used to have royal canin anti allergy or whatever it was called and itwas nearly £60 a month, if our neighbours leave food out and he eats ithe throws up repeatedly

I would suggest printing out a price list from the online stockists and asking her to buy that (which she won't) also keep your cat in at night, our Bengal is in at 9.30ish every night.

Again, what a cow.

ghosteditor Mon 05-Sep-11 09:48:02

Thanks fluffy, just spotted your post. I will try to keep the cats in at night, but they have both bludgeoned through the locked cat flap before (once even popping the door off) so I'm not certain of success.

I'm actually just adding an update (copied from another post where I subjected people on the due-in-January list to my fumings):

DH went around to the neighbours' house and politely asked if our cat was there (she was). Fortunately it was the husband, not the wife, who answered the door. Husband said 'oh yes, she's always here, we have trouble getting rid of her. We're not feeding her though. Our cat just died' hmm

The not feeding her part is a blatant lie but now I can put the DO NOT FEED collar on in good conscience, since it must be the 'other' (imaginary) neighbours who are giving her food. Hopefully it will be a stern reminder. I still can't believe that our next-door-but-one neighbours, who know the cat is ours and is well looked after, could be so bloody selfish as to feed and encourage our cat to stay in their house. 'We have trouble getting rid of her' - yeah right, you didn't look like you'd just been chasing a cat around the living room all day...

Also, I've booked her in for her jabs tonight so if she's not home I can just turn up at their house with the cat box and ask them to hand her over (and then add the new collar and lock the cat flap when I get her home). She didn't actually materialise last night so I assume they didn't kick her out - the cheek...

Am still fuming but since all was very polite and civilised, DH says he'll go round in a week if she's still not coming home and ask if they need help blocking up their cat flap (since their cat is now deceased they don't need it, and shouldn't have food in the house). The wife claims she can't shoo a cat out or give them a squirt with a water pistol because 'she's an animal lover' - but apparently such an ignorant one that she doesn't actually think about vaccinating her animals or feeding collared cats who could have special diets for all she knows.

Thanks for all your advice, anyway!

stromnessdundee Wed 05-Oct-11 21:26:42

I have lost 3 of my cats over the years to old biddies who fed them. The last 2 took umbridge at my having had a baby and voted with their feet. It got to the stage of them not setting foot in my house for over a year (despite an open catflap). When we moved abroad we left them with the neighbour who had catnapped them. She was not too amused but we did tell her again and again to stop feeding them. They were just not our cats anymore. Still paying 35 quid a month for one of the cat's medical problems though! Good luck.

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