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tug-o-war with neighbor over kitty

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ben is not feral, but is a stray that showed up in my yard in early spring as a tiny kitty weighing 1 lb at first vet visit. Now he's growing into a very healthy, beautiful cat who's UTD with immunizations & is neutered.

He's not able to live in our house, as I have a large dog that I'm afraid will hurt him, or even worse. But I am planning to bring him in at nite thru the winter, as my dogs are crated thru the nites & I've done this several times before.

Here's the problem - the family of 3 boys (1 highschool, the other 2 college age), mom & dad that live next door seem to be taking over ownership of kitty, whom I call Ben.
They pet him & play with him a lot (which is great), I'm sure they feed him (which is OK, tho I'd rather he be on a strictly raw diet), but the worst part is that they take him indoors a lot, which didn't used to bother me ...
UNTIL ... I had Ben neutered & kept him indoors for a few days.
The neighbor actually called me at work to ask me "whatever happened to that cat?". I'm thinking "do you mean MY cat?", didn't say that tho. Explained that he'd been neutered & I was keeping him indoors for awhile to recupe.
Since I've been letting him outdoors again, things have resumed as they were.
Has anyone had to deal with that sort of situation before? Can I claim Ben as "mine"? Do they not think that I worry about him when they have him in their house??
Sorry to rant ...
post #2 of 16
I guess I'm not understanding...
you're upset because the neighbors want to keep Ben inside but you want to leave him outside? I would think you would be happy knowing he is safe.
post #3 of 16
If he's a stray that you can't bring inside then I don't see how you can claim him as yours. If they are willing to give him a good home and let him inside where it's warm then I would be happy to let them do it. They obviously care for him and want him so I don't see why you don't want them taking him in.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I didn't go into details I guess, I'm sorry.
The thing is, when neighbor called me at work, he explained that he can NOT keep Ben in his house thru winter as he is VERY allergic to pets - they have NEVER had a pet. He said He could keep Ben in his garage thru the winter. He's afraid that my "psycho" dog will eat Ben. Tho I assure you, I would not let that happen - they are well separated when they're both indoors.

After posting my first post, I was outdoors playing with Ben when neighbor came over. We talked & I think we've got things figured out between us. I will put all the MONEY into caring for Ben - they will pet & play with him. I explained that I'll keep Ben in at nite when it's cold & let him out during the day - we're both aware that Ben is happy outdoors. He said he will also keep a shelter on his porch for Ben, as we will.

Do you think that he has rights to keep the kitty I've paid to have vaccinated, neutered & licensed? There are TONS of unwanted kittens in this state, if they really want 1 I figure they could easily get 1 of their own.
post #5 of 16
It sounds like a reasonable solution.

Do just bear in mind that here you're talking to people who - well - at least most of us - put out a lot of money to care for feral cats that we do not consider ours, and money is rarely the issue, because we'd spend our last nickel to care for a kitty in need. We tend to focus on what's best for the cat. This is a site devoted to cat welfare, after all.

But I'm glad it sounds like you've worked things out. Maybe it would be better if you asked them to help you pay for his care?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I do understand that. And money really is not the issue with me either - the health & welfare of the cat is what matters most to me too. I know that these particular neighbors will not invest any money in this kitten & if the cat is going to be kept outdoors, it does need yearly vaccines, as well as vet care for injuries, flea prevention & other health concerns - which DOES involve money.

I would LOVE to just hand over the responsibility of this kitty to someone I KNEW would be responsible for him - but they are not. Like I've stated, these people love petting & playing with Ben, but they will not put any money into caring for him.

I have grown very attached to this kitty. I am seriously thinking about taking him to live in our dog boutique. At least he will be safe & warm & have daily company there. Yet, why do I feel guilty about the neighbors kids missing him?
post #7 of 16
If he would be safe at the store, keep him inside there! But do dogs go in the store? Not all dogs like cats... As you know from your own dog, lol.

If you do go that route, know that LEGALLY he is your cat, you have the documentation (vet bills) that he is yours. The way I look at ownerships is, whoever cares for the animals physically & financially is the owner...
post #8 of 16
"Shared custody" isn't necessarily problematic. We share a cat with our neighbor. She turned up here as a stray, and when I tracked down her owners, they didn't want her back, as she didn't get along with her sister. Although she wanted to live here, and hangs around most of the day and mainly eats here, Jamie won't accept her. One of the neighbors who'd recently retired and lost her own cat wanted to take her in, but couldn't afford veterinary care and premium food.

I'm her legal owner, since I have her vetted and buy most of her food, but she lives at our neighbor's house, and is very much her cat emotionally. Our neighbor contributes what she can financially, keeps her inside as much as possible, and tends to her when she's been injured in yet another cat fight.

It's been a very good compromise, and as far as the cat is concerned, she has two homes.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all the replies!
I still feel pretty torn about the whole thing. On the 1 hand I'm so scared of something bad happening if Ben lives outdoors even just during the days. We live on a residential, yet pretty busy street. While I've never seen him in the street, another neighbor told me they saw him across the street recently. Really worries me!
On the other hand, I do feel bad for the neighbors kids who have grown attached to him & would miss him should I bring him to live in the store.

Yes, many dogs pass through the doors of our store. The entrance is on the main floor, which is the dog boutique, but we do grooming downstairs - I don't groom so I'm always upstairs.
However, most dogs coming in are on leash or being carried & there are many different levels for Ben to jump up to & places for him to hide. NOT saying that a dog couldn't possibly get at him, but the couple of days he was here it worked out real well. He's actually VERY timid & runs into the back office whenever he heard the entrance door open.

I do feel silly now for whining about my neighbor
post #10 of 16
Your not whining, you are a concerned fur-parent!

Well I would go with keeping him at she store... he's more likely to get hit by a car. I know it's sad that the kid will miss him, but it's really for the best. Don't feel like your being mean or unfair, you are thinking logically and trying to do the best for your cat.

It is a sticky situation though... have you talked to them about keeping Ben at the store?
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks KatKisses! When neighbor called that 1 day when I was at work I did just mention to him that I had considered keeping Ben to live at the store, he really didn't respond to that.
But it's already SOOO cold here! Dipping into the low 30s & maybe even 20s at nite We've even had snow that's sticking to the grass. So I have been bringing him at nite here at home, but have to keep him shut in the bathroom & I don't think he cares for that. And then I feel terrible when I let him outdoors in the mornings. I think we may have a very hard winter, so I do believe I will take him into the store when I go tomorrow.
My neighbors, like most people I guess, kind of hole up indoors in the winter anyway. This summer & even last eve they spent a lot of time outdoors & hung around with the kitty, but I don't think that would be the case thru the winter.
post #12 of 16
I think it is a great idea to take Ben to your store! Many businesses have office cats now. As long as he is safe, he will be fine. I would be like you, worried about the cold weather, the cars, and anything else that could endanger him. If he could live inside at your neighbor's, that would be different. But he can't and the ages of the kids seem to be old enough that they should understand what is best for Ben is most important.
post #13 of 16
That's odd that he didn't respond... Maybe he realizes that it is technically your cat?

I didn't even think about that, your right, the kids won't be playing with him in the winter anyways! You are great for watching over this kitty, it seems that no one else is.

Let us know how it goes.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
A couple of pics of Ben - 1 with my 16 year old cat Cuddles & the other with my small dog DJ
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by ChattyCathy View Post
A couple of pics of Ben - 1 with my 16 year old cat Cuddles & the other with my small dog DJ
Awww he looks very happy!! Looks to be fitting in quite well! He is very handsome. Your 16 year old gal is quite gorgeous too!
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by killerapple View Post
Awww he looks very happy!! Looks to be fitting in quite well! He is very handsome. Your 16 year old gal is quite gorgeous too!
Thank you! Cuddles has been an indoor cat all her life. Coco, the big dog, has never bothered her, I guess maybe becuz this was Cuddles home long before Coco came around. But Coco sure does want to get ahold of Ben!

Ben & DJ have started playing pretty well together when he's indoors.

I couldn't find Ben last eve to bring him indoors & he wasn't on the porch again the eve. I just worry so much whenever he doesn't show up like that! That's what makes it so difficult sharing with the neighbor like that - I just really don't know if he's safe somewhere or what.
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