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Former neighbors' cat keeps coming back

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This has been a long-term problem, but it has gotten much worse recently. Former neighbors of ours got JC's "doppelgänger" 4.5 years ago, and everybody kept picking her up and delivering her to our door, thinking JC had gotten out. The people moved away 3 years ago (about 12 miles away), and their cat would return to her old haunts every few months (and the rest of the neighbors would bring her to us), so I would call her owners to come pick her up. The past few months she has been showing up several times a week. Her owners are so afraid that she'll get hit by a car that they've talked to their former landlords, who've agreed to adopt her. So far, so good - she's being well cared for, and is back in her old neighborhood. But: she apparently has decided she'd rather live in our house, even though we purposely don't feed or pet her. She now sits outside the house and wails for hours. JC won't accept her, and he sits inside and wails. We've tried "introducing" them according to the "rule book", but he attacks her. This morning she brought us a dead marten (kind of like a weasel - don't ask me how she managed to kill it), and now, 15.5 hours later, is still sitting on our front steps begging to come in. I'm afraid to chase her away - what if she gets hit or shot? We could let her move into our furnace/laundry room (bright and heated), but that doesn't seem ideal. Any ideas?
post #2 of 9
Can you put a screen door on your laundry room and move her in there until resident cat gets used to her? Sounds like she knows where she would be best off-
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
We have a net "inset", i.e., an adjustable metal frame with a cat net, for a doorway. We had her in the guest room for several days last week, with it screened off. She purrs, and wants to make up with JC. He snarls and sprays her out of his anal glands. He almost killed another cat a few years ago, and I'm afraid he'll try it again. I forgot to add that I checked her out for injuries this morning - she seemed fine. She appears determined to move in, and he's determined to keep her out. When I have him outside on his leash, she approaches, and he spits, bites and scratches, even when we're off his "turf". My husband isn't at all happy about "dividing" the house again for two cats that don't get along - we already had that situation for over 3 years. (And even longer for two male dogs when we were first married). It would be "do-able", though - we could put another cat flap in the laundry room window, so she could come and go as she pleased, like Straycat did. In really arctic weather, she could move into the guest room.
This is going to sound crazy, but I'm wondering if it might help to move everybody (my husband and me, and both cats) to neutral territory over the long Easter weekend. My in-laws have two bedrooms that open onto one balcony. Each of us could take a room with one cat, and use the inset to alternately block access to the balcony for one cat, but allow some interaction through the net. Maybe they would "pull together" in strange surroundings. Then again, they might be so irritated that it will make matters worse, and the balcony isn't secured.
post #4 of 9
I think taking two cats, that are known not to interact yet, away together could be a recipe for disaster.

Sounds to me like you have the whole situation fairly well worked out fortakingher in to the restricted environment - and long term, most cats will settle.You just need to convince the husband!
Now if anyone has a solution to that one..........please mail me quick!!

(I bet she is curled up by the fire, by Thanksgiving )

post #5 of 9
Hmmmmmmm , this is a hard one for sure . Question , did you try using the Vanilla extract on them ? Maybe if you ably that every day on both cats for a while may help . Also can you get the feli-way in germany ???
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I tried the vanilla, and we do have a Feliway plug-in we're using. My husband says he won't let her live here, because 1) it's unfair to JC, and 2) she doesn't need a home. Last night I got so frustrated that I picked her up and took her home (to the landlords). She showed up at 6 a.m. today. My husband took her home (the people live catercorner to us). This afternoon I bought a bright green breakaway collar for her, and ordered a name tag. I'm going to put a sign next to the front door explaining that the green collar, black upper legs and brown eyes mean it's Zsa Zsa, and that she lives across the street, and that JC has a silver collar, green eyes, and completely white legs. That should stop people from bringing her to our door. Now if she'd only stop wailing. The landlords really want to keep her - he's got advanced Parkinson's and is virtually bedridden, so the cat is a bit of entertainment/company for him. They said she'll stay for an hour or so, but then yams to go out. They've just had a cat flap put in their terrace door for her.

I should have explained that my in-laws live around the corner and down about a block, so the idea (which hubby has since nixed) would have been to just sleep over there at night, and otherwise leave the cats in their usual surroundings. Zsa Zsa goes into other people's homes all the time - as soon as she finds an open window, she goes snooping, or curls up in somebody's bed. Our windows and doors are screened with cat net, so she can't do that here.

I really don't understand why she wants to be in our house, except for the fact that people kept/keep bringing her here. The wailing has got to stop - as soon as both cats start, the dog next door starts to howl, and nobody is getting any sleep (or any peace during the day).
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I was just thinking about Zsa Zsa's new owners being a bit disappointed because she's always "out on the town". Do you think adding another cat to the equation would make the situation better, or worse? She's trying so hard to get JC to accept her, and tries to make up with all the other neighborhood cats, with mixed results. Suppose her new owners got another cat? Maybe she'd decide to stay home more? She obviously hasn't settled in there yet. Our local shelter is trying to find a home for a cat whose owner died in February. The woman's daughter has the cat right now, but is having respiratory problems because of it. The cat is described as an 8-year-old, indoor couch potato who wants to cuddle all the time. At 8, her chances of finding a home aren't great. These people are in their mid-seventies, so the shelter won't adopt a cat out to them (stupid policy!). The husband probably won't be around much longer (maybe 2 or 3 years, according to his wife), but she's in good health. Do you think I should talk to them about the cat? I could adopt her, and turn her over to them (I don't mind breaking idiotic rules). They'd have the desired "lap cat", and maybe Zsa Zsa would stay home more if she had feline company. The worst-case scenario would be that we end up dividing the house into three separate "cat turfs", and if the cats would otherwise be homeless, my husband could put up with that.
post #8 of 9
I think it could be a risky bet, adding a third cat into the equation.......another in house cat may just persuade her to move out entirely!
Since the relationship with the new owners is fairly good, how about suggesting to them that they block the new cat flap and keep her indoors for a while, to see if she can bond with them more.

It sounds as though she is an adorable "roamer".......picking up a meal at all the restaurants in the neighbouhood, sleeping in all the sunniest spots, before eventually going home to roost. It may be she is so adamant about entry to your house as it is the one place she hasn't managed to access!

Cruel as this sounds, I think you may have to be really unpleasant in order to persuade her she reallydoesn't want to visit with you.
Next time she is wailing on the doorstep, open a window above and let loose with a bowl of water. Nice returns are not going to convince her that you don't want her.
Not something I would ever normally suggest, but this does seem to be something of a one-off case....a cat with a great home, who thinks the grass on the other side of the fence is greener. Take steps to show her its actually concrete!!!!!

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
She has been in our house several times, because I always had to call her "old" family when she showed up here, and then wait until they could come pick her up in the evening. The kids are in school, and both parents work. I really think it's Jamie she's interested in. She approaches any cat she sees, which is odd behavior.
I called the shelter to ask about the 8-year-old. They said she doesn't get along with other cats (sounds like Jamie), which is why she's still at the daughter's house and not in the shelter. The only people who have inquired about her have had other cats.
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