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Another problem with neighbor

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Once again I need some advice from all of you. As you know my cat colony gets me into a little bit of trouble every now and then and I do my best to take care of the situations like Alley Cat Allies says to. For instance when the neighbor complained of poop in her garden, we made an agreement that I would go over there 1-2 times a week to clean it up. I did that until the garden got overgrown this summer, now she has redone it and used mulch which seems to be working.

On Sunday I got a note that was taped to my mailbox (mind you, I was home all day and would have answered any knock) which told me to contact her regarding my cats, that they had killed 2 birds in her yard and that it needed to be cleaned up. I went over there right after reading the note and knocked- no answer although there were lights on and her car was there. I waited 2 1/2 hours and tried again...same situation. So I tried the next day... I waited for her to come home and then went over there and knocked...once again lights on, car home...no answer. Today, I waited for her to come home, got a shovel, some newspaper, gloves then went over there and she wasn't home. The car was gone this time.
What should I do? I want to take care of this as friendly and as soon as possible. For all I know my cats didn't even do this, but as I do not know, I will clean it up. I don't want any harm to come to any of the cats. Any suggestions on how to deal with this one? Plus what gets me is that the birds are only coming down so close because there are bushes or weeds with tiny berries in the middle of our two fences that they are attracted to. I have started to cut most of it out.
Any help will be greatly appreciated as always!
JIL05
post #2 of 10
Well cutting the bushes is probably not a good idea because chances are your neighbor values them as a screen between your two homes.

I would write the neighbor a note, telling her that you tried visiting to find out where the birds were so you could scoop them, and also to let her know what you are doing towards keeping the cats away from her property. Tell her you found and removed the birds but would still welcome an opportunity to touch base, since life is too short for her or you to be feeling bad about a resolvable situation, and the summer is to be enjoyed.

In the area where the birds are, I would put out sheets of tinfoil on a string in the area encircling the bushes on your side, since cats hate the sound and feel of it. It may keep yours away from that area altogether

If there is a path your cats take to her yard, I would do whatever I could to block that path using a sprinkler etc.; and steer your cats to another area in your own yard, by putting some cat attracting stuff around such as catnip and some new lay-spots (cushions on a deck chair with cat toys on them).

I would tell your neighbor what you have done and ask her to keep you posted as to whether this has worked and what other things you might do to help.

It doesn't matter in my experience whether it is your cats or not- it is her perception you are dealing with, and she will target all her anger and hostility at your kitties. Good luck. Your neighbor sounds like a pill but she is within her rights and my recommended approach will show her that you are trying. And that will keep her from putting antifreeze in a bucket in her yard near the bird-bush, or dousing your kitties with water or god forbid something else.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, I finally got a hold of her today while she was putting out her garbage.
Long story short, she wants somebody to come and get rid of all of the cats, that she doesn't believe in TNR. I now truly believe she is the one who got rid of all of the other cats including my own pet Tower. And I believe she will be doing something else to get rid of the rest. The long and short of it is we are both not happy. She wants them gone and I believe that they should stay and be able to live out there life here. I honestly can't believe that they are that much trouble and that she is making trouble. She asked whether the one that is really bothering her is a personal pet, so I know that she is up to something... I am really upset. My hands are shaking as I write this. What can I do? Please help! I am so nervous now. It seems like this is all a losing battle.
Thanks,
JIL05
post #4 of 10
It makes me really sad when I hear something like this.

Would it be at all possible for you to enclose your back yard so the cats can no longer travel away from the area? If you already have a fence then it could probably be done inexpensively to add on a top layer for "cat fence".

Other than fenceing I can't think of anything else to protect them from her. I hate to think of the neighbor doing anything to hurt your fur kids.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIL05 View Post
Well, I finally got a hold of her today while she was putting out her garbage.
Long story short, she wants somebody to come and get rid of all of the cats, that she doesn't believe in TNR. I now truly believe she is the one who got rid of all of the other cats including my own pet Tower. And I believe she will be doing something else to get rid of the rest. The long and short of it is we are both not happy. She wants them gone and I believe that they should stay and be able to live out there life here. I honestly can't believe that they are that much trouble and that she is making trouble. She asked whether the one that is really bothering her is a personal pet, so I know that she is up to something... I am really upset. My hands are shaking as I write this. What can I do? Please help! I am so nervous now. It seems like this is all a losing battle.
Thanks,
JIL05
Hi Jill....my advice is to get a group such as Neighborhood Cats invoved. Sometimes these situations are best handled by a neutral 3rd party who can see both sides of the equation but is obviously interested in the welfare of the cats. The other benefit of bringing in a larger group, is that they can evaluate options after seeing your location which is something that we cannot do on this board. In the meantime, I would ask her for a reprieve...say at least 60 days, during which you will look for solutions to keep the cats out of her yard.

You are correct in that it could be an owned cat that killed these birds...but you aren't going to convince this woman of that and right now..the main focus should be trying to avoid her trapping them herself or involving animal control.

Did you ask the Feral Cat Yahoo Group what they recommended?? I can only imagine that there are members faced with this type of situation who have some suggestions of what to do.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/feral_cats/

I'm a huge believer in reaching out to all avenues possible when it comes down to saving cats. I would really encourage you to contacting New York TNR groups as this really isn't a situation you should be working on your own.
Please keep us posted.

Katie
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I will definitely check out Yahoo groups this afternoon. I don't know if there are any rescue groups in my area to get involved but I will try. I have a pamphlet from Alley Cat Allies which I wanted to give her but she wasn't interested. I have acted on every complaint quickly and courteously. I just don't understand. The only complaint that I cannot take care (at least not at this point, short on money) is keeping them totally out of her yard. I cannot afford a cat fence right now. Every time I go out all of the cats are in my yard and I have been keeping watch, but I unlike her cannot spend all of my time looking out my backyard windows...I have a life.

In the meantime, Is there any herb/scent that I can put around in the yard that will calm them down a bit? I had read somewhere about something like that. One of the more dominant ones does chase the main one she is complaining about at times. That could be the problem.

Thank you as usual. You guys are the best and I couldn't make it through all of this without you!

JIL05
post #7 of 10
I am so sorry you're going through this!

I think contacting a group like Neighborhood Cats or the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets is a great idea. However, I would also be armed with information, because it sounds like this is going to be pivotal given the attitute of your neighbor. I would search on line to find your local animal control laws. How many cats are you allowed to own without being considered a shelter? The problem with TNR in many places is that if you care for the cats, they are considered pets legally. Some places require licenses - most don't. Some have restrictions on the number of pets you can have, others don't. This is one of the really weird areas of TNR, so I'd find out if TNR is considered a charitable thing, or if the kitties are considered your pets (legally). If they are considered your pets, are you resctricted on the number of animals you can "own?" We live in a rural area, and there are no restrictions of any kind - except that all animals be current on rabies and distemper vaccinations.

I think knowing how the town/county is going to view the situation may be important. And let's cross our fingers that the law is going to be on your side here, because that may make the whole thing moot - other than the personal relations issue with her.

And if you can't find your local animal control laws on line, I'd suggest making the call from someplace other than your home and don't give them your name.

As to finding potential local intervention, you can search for groups in your area here:

http://www.pets911.com/organizations/organizations.php (Type in your zip code)

OH - and here is the link to Neighborhood cats, a NY org: http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/ I don't know where in NY you are, but I would definitely give them a call.

You can also contact the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network: http://www.bestfriends.org/nomorehomelesspets/ This org has a different mission than Alley Cat Allies, but it is also a national organization and they may really be able to help.

I'd start with Neighborhood Cats.

To help calm cats, people often use Feliway spray. How well it would work outside, I don't know. In indoor situations, people also often use Flower Essences. If you put water out for the outdoor kitties, perhaps you could try the Flower Essences in the water? I don't know how much that would really help. http://www.catfaeries.com/

I'd be shaking too - and I wish I could give you a hug.

Please keep us posted.

((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))

Laurie
post #8 of 10
The other thing you could do is have a friendly talk with your local police about how she is saying she wants all the cats GONE and how you are afraid she will do harm to them.

If you do this after you have a solution and are working with a group such as those mentioned above, you will have more credibility than her and she will come off like a crabby, possibly worse, lady.

It is indeed her property but that does not give her the right to be cruel to living creatures.
post #9 of 10
We had three outdoor cats, one was a personal pet which was fixed and had all it's shots. It was really my daugters cat that she loved very much and we had her for five years. The other two were strays I ended up feeding and taking care of. Our personal pet was an indoor cat, but since the two strays arrived she started taking an interest in going out. I found it unfair the other two were free and our 1 cat had to stay in. Regardless, she always stayed on the property or at least close to home.

Well, to make a long story short, our neibours across the street complained that the cats were killling THEIR birds. They fed city birds and have bird feeders in their yard, so they consider the birds 'theirs'. After the complaint, they started gathering all the feces they could find, be it cat, dog, racoon - what-ever and placing it on our porch in a neat little pile. The only verbal complaint we got was the one time about the cats killing their birds. In all honesty I never saw the cats catching birds, but okay, their cats so they might have.

After a little while our personal pet that was my daughters went missing. She was devastated. Then, two days later the other two strays were gone also. I became furious. We know the neibour took them, either killed them or took them for a long ride out in the country. We have another cat now and if something does happen it will be very bad for them I must admit. To take someones pet that is like part of the family is inexcusable, not to mention all the sadness and grief it brought my child. They could have communicated with us better and we would have responded positively, but they never wanted to talk.

So I feel your pain. Please do something before your neibour shows you what they are capable of. If she already asked if the one 'trouble maker' was a personal pet, you know forsure she is thinking of doing something. I don't know what steps to take and I am sorry I can't give you any advice. But what I can say is find out all you can so you can prevent something very bad happening. I know how it feels to loose a pet and the anger I now feel towards my neibour is justifyable. I am a hair away from doing something drastic - but that is just me. Hopefully you can talk it out and find a solution - that is always the best way. Good luck!

Tommaso
post #10 of 10
i agree with everyone that said you need to get a 3rd party involved asap.

if she thinks other people are now watching what she does she may be
more hesitant in doing harm to the rest of the cats PLUS a 3rd party
might be able to resolve this situation.

good luck and take a look at these pictures.... someone had mentioned
you putting up a cat containment fence.... i agree that it may help
keep your cats safe.

also, i would definately not let any of your personal pets outside anymore.

keep as much as you need in your yard to keep the cats in your yard.

lots of hiding places like insulated cat homes and lots of cat toys and if i
were you i would sprinkle cat nip all over your yard and leave plenty of
water and dry food out but bring the dry food in during the night or the
racoons will eat it.

you want to make your yard as attractive as possible to your cats so they
have little reason to leave.

here is a link to one of the fences but you can do an internet search to
see what is out there... you also might want to see if anyone is selling
them on ebay for cheaper.

http://www.catfence.com/pictures.htm

good luck !! all fingers and paws are crossed !!!
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