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Please Help, Upset Neighbor!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay all, I need help and suggestions. No flaming
please, and please be aware I already know the
dangers of letting cats roam - all to well I might
add. In this case I have no options till my eldest
cats are gone.

I am a level headed and
generally considerate neighbor as a rule. My cat
has been causing problems it seems, when I'm away
and she's at play. Only one neighbor has complained...but...

Background: Lexi was found as a stray by me1 year ago.
Has always been indoor outdoor while with me. Has a cat flap,
did not always go out side at night, has changed
lately however, and become more of "outdoor" cat.

I always bring her in at 11 pm at night not later than 12
when I go to bed! My neighbors must think I'm
nuts I go out calling for her at night.
She stays in then till early am I believe.

Here's the scoop: neighbor says she's taken to sitting
on her precious car (which is an expensive Mercedes),
is afraid she'll scratch it, that she has gotten
into her recycling on her deck (via fence I assume?)
and that she has 2x come in her house
when the door is open and Lexi was
watching her unload (there is no screen door).

I have been politely responsive via email and told
her tonight after work I'd drop by and chat. We
were having a get together for the hood, so
I wasn't sure after the blast she leveled if I
was invited -

I do have some solutions
in mind - but want suggestions for keeping her off car
and out of neighbors deck.../fence... other than those below:

(Neighbor also hates cat pooping outside, but
let's get real, cats bury their "droppings" and
aren't leaving them in flangrent on the sidewalks!!)
Still, if she wants to fix that too so the cat
doesn't go in her yard.. I can deal.

Dogs poop everywhere
too.. and I don't complain!!

Here's my solutions so far: since Lexi is young and seriously
stresses out my my senior male cat (who is dying we think)
she MUST remain indoor/outdoor - else I cannot keep her.

There is already stress on him, and this makes it much worse.

So: for her deck / fence and car: CatStopper product.
http://www.critter-repellent.com/ supposed to work well.

For the deck recycle bin and Garbage - bins with lids

Also for the car: cat repellent stuff to sprinkle round car
(bob cat urine etc. I guess!!)

I also informed her to yell at or shake jar of coins at
her when she tries going into the house.

When Indra travels, I am going to suggest we cover her car...

I think the situation requires action on both parts - she
may WANT me to keep cat in, but it isn't going to happen.
And if she wants to solve problem she will work with me.

Some effort on her part is required.
Am I being unreasonable?

Thanks all for input and good suggestions on how to break
her of this bad habit. For the record (she hasn't gone on
MY car...) Indra's is often only one left in the front
parking area during the day... (wish Indra would get
a job away from home - then the car would be gone -
no more problem!!)
post #2 of 17
Well... if your neighbor's car is that precious and that delicate, it should be in the garage. Her recycling bins should have latches, and her house should have a screen door.

However, I think it's unreasonable to expect the neighbor to use repellents, car covers, and coinshakers to keep your cat away. The standard with all pets is (or should be) that they do not inconvenience one's neighbors.

At the risk of your wrath: I do feel your cat belongs indoors, not so much for your neighbor's comfort as for the cat's safety... especially since she has now become a target for your neighbor's potential retaliation.

I understand about your older male kitty, and I'm so sorry he's in decline... but surely you can find some way to give him peace and quiet when he needs it, even with the other kitty indoors. (Also, it can't be healthy for him to be exposed to germs and parasites brought indoors by the other kitty.)

This is not what you wanted to hear, I know. Maybe others will have ideas that are more palatable to you. But the best and easiest way to ensure safety for your cats AND peace with your neighbors is to keep your kitties indoors.

Okay, go ahead, whack me if you want... I can take it... :-)
post #3 of 17
I post this because I think it is critical that we take responsibility to work with our neighbors when they complain.

I would recommend you offer to buy your neighbor a cover for her car or/and find a way to keep your cat only in your yard (by using cat fencing or a cat enclosure).

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.
post #4 of 17
your neighbour is complaining over nothing! but i guess its important to them.

maybe they could get a cover for the car?

i would suggest you work on your own garden if you have one to make it so exciting Lexi doesnt want to leave and doesnt make her own fun else where.

if you like this idea i have loads of suggestions?
post #5 of 17
I believe your neighbour has very valid complaints (except for the one about scratching the finish of her expensive car...). In my family home, we always had cats that came around our yard, and we hated them - scaring away birds from the feeder, teasing our dog, and generally being a nuisance. They did use our garden as a little box, and that was pretty gross when we were gardening soon afterwards. We have leash laws for dogs, which we always paid attention to, and resented the fact that cats were just allowed to roam free all over the neighbourhood. And when a cat was in our yard, driving the dog crazy, it was our dog who was barking, and being blamed for being bad.

However, that said, I think you are being very very sympathetic and reasonable. If any one of the cat owners had come around and make suggestions like you are proposing, we would have been delighted. You should, of course, offer to pay for the things like new garbage pails with locking lids, or whatever. (And your neighbour should not take the money, but that's a different issue).

All of your suggestions, including telling her to make a noise shaker to scare the cat away, are very very good one.
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by Sammie5
They did use our garden as a little box, and that was pretty gross when we were gardening soon afterwards.
Ahhhh they were fertilizing for you! Just kidding :P .

I doubt the car would be scratched. Cats are very elegant and precise with their movements. They usually keep their claws retracted when they jump to a surface like that. However, yah I think a car cover is a good idea.

Maybe the kitty is looking for warmth (I know thats the reason cats are attracted to the hood of cars)? Maybe an outdoor cat box with a heating pad would help. I don't know.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Many thanks for the suggestions. I may be keeping her in the basement during the daylight hours when I am away, out for a duration
during the night, and back in during late night. Witht he cold weather
she should not want out as much anyway...

Ms. Petunia, yes, I know there's a cats inside movement only! I
respect your civilily voiced views.

the way I feel is that the only problem I have is neighbor with an at home business, so unfortunately her car is ONLY car in the hood parked in lot
by my house during day... sigh. and she's around lots and lots
and in and out lots n lots. (And therefore a target for
Lexi, who a) really likes her b) is lonely when I am away and
she's no play and c)
Indra may reminder her of her "old" owner whom ever she was...

If neighbor had a full time, or even part time job and was
away more, with more to think about and worry about,
this would be a "non" issue. (As it is with the
other neighbors who are always away/out and therefore never
"see" the cats!)

I am glad the board thinks I'm being reasonable. I do understand Indra's car issue - she doesn't want it damaged and just spend a load on it (600) which she doesn't have to spend on cars!

The cover is an idea I didn't think about,
tho I'd be nuts to think she would use it.
(We live in townhome in NE area of US
where it gets cold and taking and put cover on/off an issue I guess.)

Also she uses car frequently so... taking on / off could be
a bother perhaps. OTH, there is a neighbors tree that dumps stuff on her car, so the cover might be a welcome thought in that regards,
to keep junk off the car. (Of course she wants
neighbors to cut it down, LOL! Not likely *that* will happen. Heck they
didn't even offer to trim it when it was over her roof line!)

the cat stopper is to keep cat out of yard and deck/fence areas...
ultrasonic for cats only, covers a wide area. The powder can be used
by the fence line on the fence and deck areas (without offending
humans as the smell is non existant to us).

I'm bringing her a covered recycle bin for her deck today - and jar of
pennies to shake at Lexi if she tries to come in. Told her the machine
gun water gun is coming later! After T day.

I don't mind paying for the stuff - I think that's fair, given I have
no intention right now of completely keeping Lexi indoors.

I miss the old place I lived - on a nice park/lake with lots of wilderness
for cats to roam around safe and sound without making neighbors

Yard enclosure a good idea - were it not for the feral I am homing in the garden area, prepratory to trapping and releasing/taming down some. (Further stress for sick old Diablo who is "top cat".) And of course, finances are in the toilet due to the 1000 dollar cat bill run up by Diablo AND Shebs
both getting sick at the same time. *sigh*.

Luckily my new immediate neighbor was in animal rescue for 7 years
and therefore she has a tolerant side. And I'm an end unit,
so that makes it easier too...

Cheers to all and many thanks I'll keep board posted...
post #8 of 17
Or she is using the car as a perch-could you build her a shelf somewhere in your yard for her to sit up high and watch the neighborhood. The car probably gets warm in the sun, so a heating pad would be nice if you can swing it. Or park your car outside for kitty to sit on! LOL!
post #9 of 17
I'm a cat lover and a dog lover. BUT its not fair to your neighbors to let your cat out. It doesn't matter what the excuse is - YOU are responsible for your cats actions if you choose to let him roam outside.

If it were a dog, I'd suggest you put a fence up to contain your dog - instead of letting it roam the neighborhood. So the suggestion to you is to set up a "fence" for your cat. You can buy an enclosure that allows your cat to sit outside all day (if you want) but your cat cannot roam the neighborhood. Or have someone build an enclosure for you.

If you want to keep the outside cat YOU must invest in keeping the cat in your yard. Its not the responsibility of your neighbors to keep your cat out of their yard.

BTW what happens when a cat-hating neighbor decides to shoot your cat or trap him or poison him. It has happened!
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45
I'm a cat lover and a dog lover. BUT its not fair to your neighbors to let your cat out. It doesn't matter what the excuse is - YOU are responsible for your cats actions if you choose to let him roam outside.

If it were a dog, I'd suggest you put a fence up to contain your dog - instead of letting it roam the neighborhood. So the suggestion to you is to set up a "fence" for your cat. You can buy an enclosure that allows your cat to sit outside all day (if you want) but your cat cannot roam the neighborhood. Or have someone build an enclosure for you.

If you want to keep the outside cat YOU must invest in keeping the cat in your yard. Its not the responsibility of your neighbors to keep your cat out of their yard.

BTW what happens when a cat-hating neighbor decides to shoot your cat or trap him or poison him. It has happened!
I also love animals, but I agree with GoldenKitty. I think it's unreasonable for one to be expected to work around another's pet. (Oh and by the way my kitty jumps up on my dresser all the time and i am finding scratch marks, so I can see why the expensive car person is complaining...) And it would be nice if everyone were compassionate to animals, but that may not be the case and you wouldn't want the neighbor(s) doing anything to your cat either. I know it must be tough but I do think it'd be in everyone's best interest if your cat was somehow contained to your property.
post #11 of 17
I agree entirely that your cat is your responsibility. If I had a nice Mercedes I would not want any cats scratching it either - whether the cats were mine or yours.

I have indoor cats and have had to deal with neighbour cats using my flower beds as litter boxes. I do not think this is fair and I resent that I'm a responsible owner and they are not. In the spring my flower beds and area smell terrible of cat feces and urine. It's not my cats that are doing this and yes, I resent it.

If you cannot keep your cat in then I think it is up to you to buy the car cover for your neighbour and/or build your cat an enclosure. It's not her responsibility to keep your cat off her property - it's yours.
post #12 of 17
I would say build or buy an enclosure so that Lexi can go outside but be in a contained area. If you were going to spend all that money buying a car cover, new bins, etc., why not spend it on something that will work no matter WHAT the neighbor's problem is?
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
To all the indoor only - it is ONLY MY problem not HERS too folks. This is not a flame, but a strongly held and observed opinion:

I respect your right to your opinions but ask you to consider next time you have someone doing something you don't like but have no input or control over - what would you do? Never mind that you approve or do not. What would you do??

Yell at them, or work with them???

We have to live cheek to jowl in my townhome development and we have to get along in society as well (this applies accross all levels of society by the way).

Since we cannot dictate our neighbor's behaviors (unless they threaten our life or limb), if we want them to do things "our" way 100 percent, we are going to be disappointed.

What we can expect is to attempt to resolve problems to the extent that we can, and live with less than "perfect" solutions. that folks is LIFE.

I haven't heard much in the way of this acknowledgement of reality. And I think it needs to be addressed. Holier than thou doens't go far when the pedal hits the rubber.

Those who feel it is MY problem only, and that I cannot expect
a partnership to resolve the problem or accomodation to achieve the goal
of teaching the cat not to go there...

Ask yourself

Would you like to live next to *me* and have a problem, or would you like to live next to someone like YOU, who's attitude would be that what ever the problem was, it wasn't THEIRS but YOURS??

(As in you park your car in "their" vistors spot, you don't take in your garbage cans exactly after the trash is picked up, you don't keep your front yard mowed enough, you h ave too many visitors to your place, you have way too many loud football parties, you don't wash your windows or put a wreath on the front door, etc etc etc.)

Ie, they are perfect, and you're the "bad" "wrong" one??!!! And that by golly "we'll do it MY WAY"!!

Would the problem be solved do you think?? Humm... no, let's see outcome might be = pissed off neighbor who goes out of way to make things even WORSE?? LIke I could get pissed of and escalate into keying my neighors car (I wouldn't, I'm not that type, but you get my point.)

I don't have money for an enclosure at the moment, plus I have a sick cat I'm nursing who is attacked by the younger cat (who has rehoming issues due to being taught to bite as a kitten which is why I have her), a feral I'm attempting to tame and get fixed, cared for and released, spent over 1000 dollars on vet bills this month for my 2 senior sick kitties, and I'm sick myself. (I have Lymes and hemolytic anemia.)

and yet, despite these problems, I'm attempting to be a good (NOT PERFECT) neighbor. I'm attempting to mitigate and "cure" the cat issue as best I currently can.

At the moment I currently live with neighbors who let thier dogs poop on my sidewalk and then don't pick up - I have dogs that poop in the green spaces and don't get picked up after (let alone cats) - I have neighbors who have yard sales out of their home leaving junk in the commons areas (de facto running a business with no licence) I have neighbors who have a cat that roams all day all night any weather and never seems to be cared for (ya don't see them out looking for the cat at 11 or 12 at night egads you don't! Or checking on him/her at 8 am to see where he/she's gone, or putting bell, collar and tag on cat, as I've done), I have neighbors who park in the yellow curb fire lane (blocking the parking areas at times for all of the rest of us), I have neighbors who party all hours when it is a school work week, I have neighbors who have an Akita that gets out at times,

I have a Keeshond that was/is walked off lead and chased and attacked my senior arthritic cat who was IN THE FENCED yard on my property (got through a small the hole in the fence... the owner just stood there and said "bad dog" and nairy once did he suggest he'd put it on leash when he went by my house, or that he understood the problem I was having!! And he didn't even pull the dog away from the fence when it started going into the yard!! I stood and watched and was flabbergasted. I had to threatn him with leash laws and tell him I'd confiscate dog if it was ever in my yard again (which I would NEVER really do, because I like animals).. THEN he finally put it on leash to walk by my house (tho not on lead elsewhere...) And he never scoops the dog's poop...in any place he goes!

So in the acutal scope of things - how horrible and bad a neighbor am I?

For suggesting at my own expense, I'll provide recycle bins with lids, spray for the deck railing and bin and yard, cat ultra sonic chaser for the car parking spot/front door area, fog horn to scare cat away from door/car?? And all neighbor has to do is use fog horn when cat tries coming in house...to teach cat to stay away. And use it when she's on the car. Aversive therapy.

All parties happy - perfect solutions? No - because all parties have to give some. Good enough for real life, and resolves the problem?? - YES!

Once again: Would you like someone with my attitude or yours living next to YOU?

Just food for thought.
post #14 of 17
I sure hear all your frustration and do understand some of your points. But I still maintain that YOUR cat is YOUR responsibility. If your other neighbours are irresponsible, that is NOT your responsibility. If my neighbour jumps off a bridge that doesn't mean that I have to jump off the bridge too. So some of your neighbours do not scoop or watch their cats does that automatically mean that because they don't do it that you don't have to do it? I'm sorry but I've never been able to use that "anything you can do, I can do too" philosophy.

I'm sorry you are having a rough time healthwise and with your sick kitties and with your finances - that's really tough. But this is your kitty she is having the issue with, not the neighbour's dog who doesn't scoop, etc. Hopefully you will be able to work out some compromise with her that will make you both happy.

Good luck.
post #15 of 17
I'm sorry you've been upset by some of the responses to your question. Maybe the opposing view would make more sense to you if we separate the apples from the oranges...

There are many potential points of friction between neighbors that cannot be entirely avoided: we all have to park our cars, take out our trash, mow our lawns, etc., and sometimes the way we go about these things may be troublesome to our neighbors. In these cases, since the activities are common to everyone, it does indeed take cooperation to keep the neighborhood happy. You are absolutely right about that.

But there are other activities that we CHOOSE to engage in, things that are NOT common to everyone, and those carry additional responsibilities. If you choose to have a party, it's your responsibility to keep the noise down to a reasonable level. If you choose to own a motorhome, it's up to you to find a place to keep it that doesn't cause parking problems for your neighbors. If you choose to let your pet roam freely, it's up to you to make sure she doesn't cause trouble for your neighbors.

Example: I once lived in an attic apartment next door to a family with a Doberman. They could not, or would not, keep the dog in the yard -- it chased me every time I set foot outside. I could not get from my car to my front door without being terrorized.

Should that family have expected me to wear protective leather clothing or carry pepper spray to ward off their dog? Of course not. It was up to them to keep their dog from being a menace to me, their neighbor.

Granted, your cat is not a threat to life and limb -- but the principle is the same. My neighbors chose to have a dog, so it was up to them to figure out how to avoid forcing their neighbors to deal with that dog. You choose to have a cat, so it's up to you to avoid forcing your neighbors to cope with your cat.

Please bear in mind here that I ADORE cats, and I think your neighbor's concern about her car is nonsense -- but IN PRINCIPLE, your cat is your responsibility. It's not up to your neighbor to try to control her... that's your job. If your neighbor will go along with the compromises you want, that's great! But if she won't, I don't think you should feel she's being unreasonable.

Do you see the distinction I'm trying to draw between the two types of problems? I'm probably not stating it very well... it's been a very, very long day. ~ sigh ~

In any case, please don't be upset by anything we say here... it's hard to say things as warmly or kindly in pixels as we would in words, face to face. I'm sure those of us who disagreed with you were honestly just trying to help you see your neighbor's viewpoint and find a solution.

I hope you and your kitties are all well, and I wish your family a joyful Thanksgiving!
post #16 of 17
I myself have been having a problem with my neighbors dog. I have taken their dog home numerous times, talked with them, even rebuilt the fence with them. But today when I got home from work and was tired and found their dog in my backyard eating my dogs food and growling aggressively and biting my dog, I called animal control.

Also I think it is a valid point that your neighbor might do something to the cat. I know people who just don't like cats and they would do that.

One lady I know just doesnt want cat foot prints on her car, and she is threatening to kill her neighbors cat.

Sure its great to sit down and talk with your neighbors, but face it. Youre just not going to agree on everything.
post #17 of 17
opilot, I think you are being way too defensive here. As others have pointed out, your neighbor is within her rights to ask you to keep your cat off her property. It's also fortunate that she's not like some neighbors, who would lay out poisoned meat or shoot at your cat with a BB gun. In my opinion, it's nice that you have been communicating with her about this, but in expecting her to alter HER living arrangement to compensate for YOUR failure to control your cat, you are going too far.

I saw a cat enclosure on the www.petsmart.com website that costs about $55 US. Surely you could cough up that much -- as I said, if you were going to buy a bunch of bins and stuff, you'd probably be spending just about that much. Another thing you could try is to rig something up with the wire you use to trim trellises with.
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