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Neighbour's cat upsetting my 3 cats

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Caracoveney, Jun 5, 2017.


  1. Caracoveney

    Caracoveney PetForums Newbie

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    Can anyone advise, please? My neighbour got a little cat a few months ago, who kept coming over into my garden and seemed to be very thin and desperate for food, then I didn't see her for quite a while, then when I returned from holiday 3 weeks ago, it turned out that she had had kittens during the time I didn't see her (nothing to do with my 3, who are all neutered).

    I had started giving her the odd meal as she seemed desperate for food and used to come in to my kitchen (my cat flap is broken so just have a gap there, as one of the cats has forgotten how to use the flap), but was amazed when I found these kittens coming under the fence and seemed to be at weaning age, as they scoffed the food also as though they were starving. I started to put regular kitten food down at the far end of the garden, in case they weren't being fed properly, and also gave the mother a meal of her own. The neighbour is out for huge amounts during the day (ie starts VERY early and gets back late, and the kittens are kept outside, she says, implying that the food is left outdoors also - not very hygienic in good weather. I know that the cat doesn't like hard 'kibbles' - even kitten ones - so that isn't an alternative).

    However, my own cats started to get very nervy with the regular visits and frightened to stay in their own garden, and much as I hate to see any animal suffering, I was worried about my cats wandering around elsewhere, frightened, when they used to enjoy being in their own garden. Even though the mother is tiny, she is quite spiteful and always hissing (though I guess that being a mother of kittens may not help that, so I can't blame her, in a way).

    I decided enough was enough today as found that I had to follow my own cats into the neighbouring field to feed them as they were frightened to eat their food in the house or garden. I blocked up the gap under the fence where the kittens were coming in and keep putting the mother on top of the neighbouring fence and 'easing' her over, with much hissing and spitting. I feel bad about it but what else can I do? I think that a couple of the kittens have now been adopted but wonder about the welfare of the other two.

    And what of the mother? I feel bad for her. I cannot report my neighbour as, firstly, I can't prove anything, and secondly, it would be obvious that it was ME as we live down an 'alleyway' and she is on the far end and I am next to her. There are no other neighbours in houses who would know what is happening as the large field is behind and beside her house.

    I have to add that I cannot have an easy conversation with the woman. There is a slight language problem and she is quite 'forceful' and she has a rather strange boyfriend - I am frightened about reprisals to my cats if I reported them. The boyfriend seems to be out a lot also and I never hear the back door open (leading to where the kittens are) open when he gets back from work, so don't think that he feeds the cat/kittens.

    What on earth can I do? I hate being horrible to the little cat and am worried about the kittens that are left, but I can't risk my own cats wandering off to find a more 'peaceful' billet.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi, I agree a horrible situation. But I would have to do something, I could not turn my back. Nor could I leave the poor mother cat to get pregnant again and again with the chance her kittens will die or be stillborn due to neglect, seeing as she is evidently not being looked after properly. Nor are the kittens by the sounds of it.

    Perhaps in the country where the neighbour comes from that is how cats are treated, not neutered and left to get on with it as best they can. :( . But that is not how we do things in the UK. There are animal welfare laws, and hopefully we feel we have a moral responsibility as well to protect animals.

    Really the woman needs reporting for neglect of her cat and the kittens. But I can see you might feel nervous about doing so, as it will be you she will be likely to suspect, and you fear reprisals.

    In your shoes I would take the second option and purely for the sake of the cat's welfare I would grit my teeth and befriend the woman. This is the only way I can see that you are going to be able to help the cat. You will need to go gently so she is not suspicious, but if you can get her trust then you stand a chance of exerting your influence over her treatment and care of the cat.

    I did the same thing myself years ago when I lived next to a neighbour who neglected her cat. I even bought cat food for the cat and gave it to the neighbour. I managed to persuade the neighbour to get the cat neutered, and I paid for the op. (this was before the times of free neutering schemes through Cats Protection). My neighbour was resistant at first but I talked her round.

    I appreciate you may not find it easy, but you are an animal lover and you are worried about the cat and the kittens. You will not rest easy if you do nothing I think.

    Please let us know how things go. Good luck :)
     
  3. Caracoveney

    Caracoveney PetForums Newbie

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    Hallo

    Thank you for your quick response.

    All of what you have said makes sense, and it's just the implementation of it that I have to think carefully about.

    I don't see the woman much as she is working long hours, even at weekends, and the boyfriend, if I even say hallo, looks at me as though I'm mad (he is from her country also but don't know what his English is like as have never heard it) so I don't think I'd get much response there. She isn't an unpleasant person at all (she gave me a huge lump of birthday cake recently), but it is difficult to broach the subject, but I know I must.

    I am feeling bad about all of it. Had I the resources, I would have adopted one of the kittens myself (my neighbour offered me one) but most of my money goes onto my 3 beloved cats (and not sure if they would accept another one, anyway) and I can't really afford one more, (I buy mine good food and often just have cheese on toast or an egg myself for dinner but they are SO important to me! Mine are insured and obviously they have their innoculations and I very occasionally put mine into a cattery if I go away anywhere).

    I started by giving the mother their leftovers (mine are quite wasteful), but then started using new food for her and buying kitten food for the dear little kittens. I shouldn't have started doing it, I know, but it is hard to stand by and do nothing and you obviously had the same sort of situation, where you couldn't turn away). I suppose the cat may just be 'trying it on' but she does seem desperately hungry at times. If you are fed before 7 in the morning and your owner doesn't get back till 5 or 6 or later, it seems a long time for a cat to go without a meal, especially with kittens to look after, when they can't get into the house.

    I will think carefully about all of this. I have even tried to find homes for the kittens myself to get them away from there. It is true what you said that from where the owners originate, their attitude to pets may be different from us here.

    Many thanks again.
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Yes, a mother cat who is nursing kittens needs a huge amount of food a day - 400 grams to 500 grams is not unknown. (That's 4 to 5 pouches of 100 grams). She can't produce milk for the kittens without proper food, and then the kittens will be weak and have poor immune systems, or even die. Also the poor mum cat needs to get herself back in condition after being pregnant. Pregnancy takes a huge toll on the cat's body. I am sure she is desperately hungry.

    We feed our nursing mums at the Shelter as much as they want all day long.

    It sounds as though you already have your good opening as your neighbour gave you a piece of birthday cake. :) It seems like she is making friendly overtures so all you need do is respond. I wouldn't go in overtly to speak about the cat. Instead just be friendly and help her with her English (if she needs help). That will start to create a bond. She may like it if you ask interested questions her about her own country and then maybe see if you can compare how things are done there and in the UK. Subtlety is needed but I am sure you get the picture and will be excellent at being subtle! :)

    A good way, once you know her a bit, is to introduce the topic of cats by talking fondly about your own cats. If you have photos of your cats on your phone show them to her, as it will make clear you regard them as members of your family. You can also bring in the topic of neutering, pet insurance etc in reference to your own cats. It will get her thinking hopefully. :)
     
  5. Caracoveney

    Caracoveney PetForums Newbie

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    Yes, it all makes sense - I will have to think along those lines. It doesn't help that the houses are set so that you don't just 'bump' into neighbours, as there are high fences and also she doesn't seem to have a 'set' time for coming and going. They are from Eastern Europe so not sure what their attitudes are to pets.

    However, I have had a thought. I bought several boxes of kitten food to feed the kittens. Occasionally, in the past, I have sometimes genuinely accidentally bought the 'kitten' version for my 3, who are all adults, so I could take it round to see if she would like these as I 'accidentally' got the wrong sort. (I know that, to be quite honest, the adults can eat it, mixed in with their normal food, but she needn't know that.)

    The kittens seem pretty healthy and lively at the moment, and are gorgeous, and they seem to be weaned as they always polish off the food I give them, so hopefully they are not a 'drain' on the mother any more. But she obviously needs 'building up'.
     
    chillminx likes this.
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