Neighbour scared of my cats! Wwyd?(14 Posts)
Sorry in advance this is very long. Advice appreciated!
My family moved into a semi detached house in a suburban area about 2 years ago. 1 year ago we got 2 kittens. Up till then cats had always come into our garden and we got our own cos the kids loved to pat them etc.
Cats have been going outside for about 6 months. They're very friendly lap cats (we got lucky!) Who don't seem to go far, and I don't think they poo outside (we have to clean their litter as much if not more than when they were indoor only anyway!) They also seem to have befriended the neighbourhood cats. Lots of grooming, playing in garden etc.
So the issue: our next door neighbours are 4 adults and 2 small children. One, who I'll call Joan, is very friendly and I have overheard her encouraging the kids to pet the cats, waving ribbons at them etc when they walk along the back fence between houses.
However a few months ago we were gardening in the front and cats were racing around. There was no border at all between the houses and they were in next doors front garden. Another lady who I hadn't seen much opened the front door, screamed, threw herself to the floor (I thought she had fallen and broken a bone initially!) Then ran back in the house. Shortly after that Joan came and said that's her sister, she has a cat phobia and can we keep the cats out of the garden.... I was confused but apologised and said I'd try my best.
We were planning on renovations anyway so suggested to Joan that while we get our front garden done we would pay to have a nice fence put up, v tall so they'd be less likely to scamper over. She was very polite and said oh no need but I said it was OK and we are happy to pay. She picked a fence style that we both liked and it's now up. I also suggested citrus oil and gave her a spray bottle to use on the cats if they approach. Since then things have seemed ok. Neighbours don't use their back garden at all- it's completely overgrown and I've never seen anyone out there, but the cats along with many neighbourhood ones do still seem to go in. Hunting critters I suspect.
Since then Joan and the kids have popped by to pick up parcels etc and always stopped to pat/play with the cats
Fast forward to this week- my DH was waking to the shop down the road, and our cats have got into the habit of following us there. (The shopkeeper thinks it's adorable and encourages them with fish) He was one the pavement going past next doors drive with cats behind when the sister stepped out, completely freaked out with screaming etc and hid behind a car. My DH is not the most diplomatic, was bemused and said something along the lines of "how do you go anywhere, there's cats all over the place, they're not tigers ffs!" And she was very upset- shouting that we have no right to let them near her, theyre evil etc and he just walked off.
How on earth should I manage this!? Joan seems very nice and reasonable but clearly she is encouraging my cats to visit - meanwhile her sister is clearly distraught by them! My feeling is we should just ignore it as we've tried our best, this happened on a public road and they can't be the only cats menacing the poor woman. DH wants to confront them.
What would you do??
I think I agree with you, continue to ignore it. She can't avoid cats everywhere and it sounds like you've done more than enough to help as it is. People scared of dogs can't avoid them. I'm arachnophobic but can't avoid spiders. I wouldn't confront her though, I don't see how it would help.
What is your husband hoping to achieve by confrontation?
I would just smile and nod and then completely ignore her.
She needs to woman up.
Humans are evil and we see them every day.
Thanks folks. BattleaxeGalactica I think he wants to make the point that if they don't want cat visitors Joan should not encourage said cats. Which I get but I don't want to fall out with her too!
"opened the front door, screamed, threw herself to the floor"
^^ I'm sorry, but I'd just be hysterically laffing. And maybe throw some Dreamies at her
to help with her "evil cat" phobia for extra amusement.
You've offered all reasonable solutions, so I don't think you can do any more, other than usher them away from her should the need arise. If her own sister is encouraging them to visit then that's not your issue.
As you say, they're not the only cats around.
You sound very lovely and considerate, xx.
I would ignore her completely and complain bitterly about the screaming, that would frighten most cats away any way. What a silly lady. If she genuinely has an irrational fear of felines then she needs to seek help in over coming it and not expect the world to bend to her will.
Dress up as a cat and prance around the neighbourhood singing the soundtrack from Cats.
Tell her to have one of these
Or throw a trail of dreamies behind her so she's like the cat pied piper on her way home from the shops.
As others have said you have been more than accommodating. Just ignore her behaviour.
I'm wondering if Joan is encouraging her children to make a fuss of your cats to ensure the children see cats as friendly creatures to offset thei aunt's behaviour (which must be scarlet to children)
Just ignore sister as she is not rational. She needs treatment!
Love the sound of your cats but then I'm mad about them.
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