We live opposite our town's largest park and our cat loves going there. He is very friendly and loves attention. Unfortunately he also has chronic indeterminate back pain which means he is sensitive in the back and tail area. Ofcourse when children at the park see him, they want to fuss and pet him, but can be heavy handed. When they are, he tries to turn away, but if pursued, he will give then a warning swipe. We have been contacted by the council because people have complained about him being in the park. He's an outdoor cat. What would you do?
It's news to me that a council would contact you about a cat. (In fact, I'm wondering whether one of those children is the DS/DGS of a councillor or council worker. I'm also wondering what they propose to do about errant eg squirrels or birds.)
Can't really do a curfew as we have 2 other cars that go in and out and we don't do litter trays. I can see both sides to this and can't really see a solution. Should I publicise that the cat will retaliate if taunted?? He's starting to sound like a dangerous animal! In his defence, we have 3 kids at home under 5 who have never been hurt by him, but that's an inadequate defence if he actually hurt a child. Which would mortify me.
Apparently they wrote to us, but never posted it as I heard through the grapevine that there was a complaint and rang up to deal with it. (We are no longer in Staines, despite the name, this is a small market town) The councillor I spoke to agreed that legally there was nothing he could ask me to do, but 'if you see the cat in the park, can you call him in' in the spirit of neighbourliness. Clearly not a cat owner. Apparently a further complaint was made that he used the sandpit as a litter tray. Hmm, this along with all the other wildlife in the area. Obviously someone doesn't like him being in the park.
In other words, someone moaned to the Council after receiving some half-baked story from one of their kids or curtain twitching; and the council official or elected member then drafted a letter (if indeed they got that far) then dumped it (or had it dumped for them by their legal advisers) when they realized what a whole world of grief they would be opening up for themselves.
They're into damage limitation now - and you've got someone who doesn't like your cat. (The park/sandpit and the children are likely just embroidery.)
What would happen if you tried a curfew? (You can get 'selective' microchip cat flaps that would allow the other two out and in but not him.) I'm thinking of the cat's safety here by the way and not your legal rights. When someone takes against a cat, sadly all sorts of things can happen if they're neurotic enough.
PS - the trick is to be able to say that you've done something - anything - so that the Ccuncillor can phone back the complainer and try to keep them happy. It may go against the grain (it certainly would with me: I'd want to load for bear) but in these circumstances you've got four-legged hostages which makes things difficult.
apart from trying to keep him in during the busy times ie; when the kids come out of school i cant see theres much you can do, we once had a letter off the post office asking us to keep our cat under control as the post man had put his hand through the letter box with a letter and sammy had striped him good style, what the * the cat was indoors