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What to do When Your Cat Starts Living with your Neighbours

 by jaime on 21 Jun 2014 |
8 Comment(s)
It's really true when they say that a cat chooses its owner, you can't choose a cat. This is never more true when your four legged companion chooses another home to visit and potentially live in rather than yours.

Owning, caring for and loving a cat can be a wonderfully enriching experience - but what happens when your cat starts living elsewhere? Some cat owners don't mind if their cat is being fed and loved somewhere else - so long as they come home to sleep at night. For others, to see their cat being looked after, and looking contented as a result of living somewhere else can be a very painful and frustrating experience - particularly so for young children.

In situations like this, there are two sides to the coin. Your neighbours may be unintentionally (hopefully) feeding and therefore coaxing your cat into visiting them regularly or your cat is entering and eating food in other homes, potentially 'adopting' a new family.

For the unassuming neighbours, more often than not, they don't realise that the odd dish of food they're feeding your cat can actually be harmful, causing allergic reactions, over-feeding and obesity and digestion problems. And then you have to deal with costly vet bills and looking after a sick kitty.

You should also consider the possibility that the reason your cat is now visiting or even living somewhere else is a reaction their home life - maybe because of other cats your own or children or generally they feel the need to locate to a new and safer territory. In some cases, the original owners end up making the tough decision to allow their cat to become a member of their newly adopted family.

It can be a bit of an awkward situation, but for the wellbeing of your cat, and so you can keep that cat as yours, there are plenty of methods you can try to ease this situation.
 
  • Go and speak with your neighbour and voice your concern - ask them to not let your cat into their home, or not to feed them.
  • Place a bright collar and tag requesting your cat not to be fed - include your name and number and even a bell.
  • Feed your cat well and make sure they are spayed/neutered.
  • Train your cat to stay in your yard, modify your yard to stop your cat getting out or restrict outdoor access to daytime hours.
  • Get to know your neighbours and express your wishes - this is particularly useful prior to your cat getting to know them!
  • As a last resort, call your local RSPCA/ASPCA to tell them of your concerns - particularly if your neighbours are not respecting your wishes.
  • Likewise, if you are the unexpecting neighbour and you have a friendly feline frequenting your home there are also methods you can follow to stop them from doing so.
    • Tell the cat to go away. If you're not able to deter it from visiting you, don't pay it any attention - and if you have a cat of your own only pay your pet attention.
    • Try not to allow it into your house.
    • If a cat makes a suprise entrace into your home, give them a quick squirt with a water pistol to deter them.
    • Voice concerns with the cat's owners - and try and come to some arrangement where you can work together to stop the cat from coming to your property.
    All parties need to remember that this is actually a common problem and can be resolved easily with plenty of communication and respect. It's important that any situations like these are remedied promptly before any cats become thououghly confused as to where they actually live.

    Unfortunately there are execptions to the rules such as cases of neglect from the original owners or someone intentionally coaxing and keeping a cat indoors away from it's owners. Keep out for any signs of these sort of behaviours and act accordingly.




     

Comment(s)8

Jill - Comment
Jill13 Mar 2017Reply
We let a neighbour's cat in because we don't want it to freeze here in Canada. We try to get it out in the evening. Never has stayed overnight. Owner seems to kick it out early am, especially on the weekends.
Amy - Comment
Amy14 May 2021Reply
My cat thinks he lives between 3 houses. He sneaks in the neighbors cat flaps and steals their food even though he's well fed. They can't shoe him away because he takes off if they're around. We've tried keeping him inside for days at a time to no avail.
Sara - Comment
Sara20 Nov 2021Reply
My neighbors have been locking my cat inside there house and trying to adopt him. I text and ask them constantly if my cat is there and if I can have him back. It’s gotten to the point where my cat can no longer be outdoors because he will run away from me and try to sneak into their house. I’ve had my cat for 8 years and this only started happening 6 months ago. I’m so fed up and annoyed, my cat won’t even let me pet him without growling and constantly cries to be let out (not be outside but to go into neighbors house).
Stacey - Comment
Stacey20 Nov 2021Reply
I’m dealing with this atm… my neighbour called me to say she was there this morning, I haven’t seen her for two weeks… shes catnipped up to her eyeballs and still growling at me… I’m gutted… part of me is thinking about just letting her go… at least I know she’s happy there… but I really don’t want her to go.
Rosie - Comment
Rosie24 Jul 2022Reply
Our neighbours cat has moved in. It started with the fact that we have a cat door and an auto feeder and so he was coming in and helping himself. I also happen to be an animal lover who ascribes to the 'live and let live' theory - they have their own little personalities and should get to make choices for themselves so long as they are safe. Anyone who owns a cat knows you can't force a cat to do anything. I understand it must be sad for the owners but you probably need to have an honest conversation and if your cat has truly 'moved on' and the neighbour is on board, ask if they are willing to adopt the cat legally and take responsibility. Then get a new cat if that feels like the right move.
Tara - Comment
Tara24 Jul 2022Reply
"It must be sad for the owners...." It is. And I can only hope it happens to you so you can see how much it hurts. Then I will have an 'honest conversation' and tell you the cat must not have been happy with you and likes someone else more, and you should get a new cat. Then you will know what a little salt in the wound feels like.
T  - Comment
T 24 Sep 2022Reply
I've been doing cat rescue for 30 yrs, but this is one of the strangest situations I've come across. We had a cat show up this summer. Incredibly thin, tiny and apparently not neutered, he appeared to be starving. Had never seen him before and started hanging around. I put an ad in our local neighborhood next door and asked if anybody knew who's cat this was cuz I did not want to encourage somebody else's cat to hang out unnecessarily. That being stated, apparently this cat has chosen our house instead and has marked its territory. It now is waiting for me when I come home from work everyday and really it appears after having food available to it that it's not even really hungry anymore now it's not starving. (The owners assured me that they were feeding appropriately, but there's no way a cat Is THAT hungry and THAT thin unless it either has a nutritional deficiency, a parasitic infection, or is not being fed appropriately)At this pt however It just wants attention. It has a home, I've met its owners They seem like lovely people, but both times this has happened to the degree where the cat is now believing our home is it's territory. I reached out immediately and the second time I had said did you by chance go out of town again because apparently the first time the cat showed up they had gone out of town and broken its routine leaving it with a sitter. When I reached out the second time I was right on the nose again they had once again been out of town. I'm not sure what the situation is at this cat's house, but it apparently has decided it likes our home better. We have NOT let it inside no matter how many times it's tried to come in, and now it's chasing our cat around our property. I'm not one to be mean to animals, but at the same time I'm not sure what to do with the situation at this point. There's obviously some reason this cat does not want to go home and has decided now to want to live here. It's about ready to get very cold and nasty where we live as we live in Washington State. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm trying to take their cat, which I've been very clear about. I don't want their cat. I do feel like there is something to be said for the fact that the cats choose YOU. I have a thing with animals. We live in the county. This is not the first time this has happened that animals just show up at my house and then never want to leave. I actually run like a spiritual YouTube channel. Some might say my energies pretty good so it's probably part of it and I have a thing with just knowing what animals need when they need it. I used to wake up when I was little and have multiple stray dogs just waiting for me. My parents would get furious. I was five. I didn't do anything except for just give them attention and feed the ones that seemed like they were starving. I have deers that show up and then bring back multiple generations of deers to meet me, they park their babies across the street from me while they go foraging for food during the day cuz they know I'll keep them safe. I have raccoon families, you name it. They live right around our property I think because they know they're safe here barring any unforeseen predators I can't do anything about. 😉 However, this one cat has been nagging at the back of my brain that something just isn't right at home for it because in all the years I've been doing this, I've never had a cat do this that's come from what seems to be a very loving home. It is very odd situation. It's been going on for months now and the cat just doesn't seem like he even wants to go home. At this point. I feel bad. I don't want to take their cat. I don't even want their cat, but it sure seems like their cat wants us. 🤷
Tara - Comment
Tara24 Sep 2022Reply
I Am going through this RIGHT NOW. Neighbor has been feeding my cat, he keeps going back to their house, so I did the right thing and told the neighbors he could stay if they would like to keep him (they did) I wanted him to come home, but I Didn't want to risk him getting hurt trying to walk back to the nieghbors house across town. Now the same neighbor began feeding ANOTHER cat of mine, and now says this cat is hers too. She has 2 of my cats....Those cats love ME. They aren't 'choosing' a new home as so many people think. They are visiting because they like the neighbor so much, not because they don't LIKE me. I am an animal lover. I would like to believe I have a connection with them as well. Animals have ALWAYS followed me home, since I Was a kid. Being good with animals has nothing to do with a neighbor feeding someone elses cat_ and letting it move in their house.
Kitty Lover - Comment
Kitty Lover24 Oct 2022Reply
we wondered about cats that get bit. The neighbors did not take their cat to the vet when it was bit by an animal. It comes to our house for food and warmth, a bed to sleep on. They leave the cat outside all the time, day or night. It got mauled by probably a racoon or a coyote, It very well could have died as our neighbors had ducks and two of them were someone's snack, probalby a racoon or a coyote. The neighbors did not take the cat to the vet like I said, nor check for rabies. Is that legally required? And the cat wants to hang with us, but usually leaves at certain times after getting a good nap. It does go home. But the neghor is pissed about us feeding it and givint it attention, love. I don't think thte cat likes it at their house, it seems stressed out and vomits. I told the neibhors the cat vomits, but they just wont provide the cat with health care.
Jake - Comment
Jake30 Oct 2022Reply
My neighbor cat started to move in after I renovated my pets house, and my pets are not cats. I had a dog and chicken. At first I think the cat tried to catch my chicken but the cat didn't bother my chicken at all but instead the cat sits with my dog and my chicken, I tried to sent her back couple of times probably plenty of times but she still returned. I don't want my neighbor to think that I deliberately stole their cat. Right now I already attached to her and feed her because she won't go back to her home. It's been months since she came. My neighbor really good to their cat idk why the cat choose to moved in, they say the cat perfectly healthy and still young at the age of 2. The cat really white, I gave her name Snowy Whitey since she is white. I talked to them but I feel like they still wanted the cat back but they decided to let her go if that what the cat wanted. sometimes I couldn't sleep, I mean If you owned a pet and they moved out or gone it's really sad for them to think what could've happen to their beloved pets even though nothing bad happen like for my neighbor cat and you still can see your pet like they do, but that changed everything because they're not with you anymore. I probably think that the cat attracted to my pet house because it had ceiling fan installed, sofa's and comfy pets bed. I do that because I really like to sit outdoors and drink some beers in the evening, so I make my pet room with half glass walls and put furniture in it since it's basically a room with half outdoor style and it connected to my outdoor dining room and my garden. Plus the cat didn't afraid of my dog. I mean shouldn't cats afraid of other animals especially if they met for the first time or something. Idk maybe my dog didn't growl or do something spontaneous to triggered it since my dog didn't bother to bark at the cat or do anything to the cat.
Beryl.guy - Comment
Beryl.guy08 Dec 2022Reply
My cat as chosen to live with my next door neighbour it won't come anywhere near me she as kidnapped all my cats since living here & now she wants me to pay for flea treatment? What do I do?

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