Originally Posted by golffox
Once again, my cat-hating neighbors are complaining about my four ferals. They say they are climbing all over their vehicles making paw prints and scratching the paint. One is threatening to call animal control. I'm so afraid for these cats that I've grown to love. Any advise? Thanks!
This is from the Best Friends Forum:http://www.bestfriends.org/archives/....html#thirteen
When neighbors complain about ferals and start calling animal control
Question from a member:
There are stray cats living in the woods across the street from my house. I wanted to try to catch them, spay/neuter and release them back. My neighbors are against this. One says they are urinating on her porch and the other says they are using her garden as a litter box and killing birds at her feeder. What do you do when your neighbors won't wait to give you time to show TNR works, or find alternatives, and call animal control that euthanizes the cats? The cats are being euthanized immediately so I don't have time to do much.
Response from Nathan:
As an animal control facility, we field neighbor "nuisance" complaints on a daily basis - both sides, the neighbor doing the complaining and the person who is the subject of the complaint. My first question is ALWAYS, "Have you sat down and talked to your neighbor yet?" I am amazed at how often the answer is No. They are your neighbors. You have to live next to each other. So we need to go over, knock on the door, bring a cup of coffee, and sit down and talk. Sometimes our neighbors are nut jobs and that isn't possible. That is the extreme. Once again, we cannot let extreme scenarios dictate policies for groups.
So with neighbors, it is important to listen closely and ask questions. In one case, a neighbor demanded, without explanation, that a caregiver stop feeding cats in the neighborhood! After asking several questions, she discovered the neighbor was upset because he didn't like cat footprints on his new car. To keep the peace, the caregiver bought her neighbor a car cover and he never complained again. By asking questions and offering solutions, it becomes possible to focus on the person's specific concerns rather than their generalized objections to feral cats.
Sit down and talk. Calmly share your concerns with the goal of amicably resolving the problem. It can be a good idea to prepare a small packet of written materials in support of caring for feral cats. If relations are seriously strained, community mediation services may be beneficial.
Offer concrete solutions! Once you have determined what the person's specific complaints are, you can address them. If you haven't had the cats neutered yet, do so, and let your neighbor know how much it will improve the cats' behavior while gradually decreasing the size of the colony. Offer to keep litter boxes in your backyard for cats to use, or put a cat fence around your yard.
Explain the value of TNR. TNR is the most humane and effective way to control feral cat populations and minimize the most common concerns people raise about feral cats. Be sure to explain the ramifications of trapping the cats and taking them to an animal shelter: most will be killed since feral cats are not candidates for adoption. In addition, more cats-probably unneutered-will move back into the area starting the cycle all over again.
Here are suggestions for more specific concerns:
Wild animals: Feed cats during the day and pick up any leftover food once the cats have eaten. Other humane deterrents are described in our fact sheets on "Living with Wildlife".
Kittens: Spay/neuter will prevent more kittens from being born. In some cases, feral kittens can be socialized and adopted.
Spraying, fighting, howling: Neutering quickly reduces or eliminates these behaviors. Regular and sufficient feeding will also prevent fighting.
Cats using yard as a litter box: Caregivers can place covered, sand-filled litter boxes in their yards, and/or offer to periodically clean the neighbor's yard.