What can we do??

This is a forum to discuss legislation and legal matters pertaining to the rights and welfare of cats. Please remember to counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice and responses.


Member Since
Purred: Sun May 27, '12 10:54am PST 

While I used to be a cat owner until my beloved Nakie passed away, I'm actually a dog fanatic, and do performance with my cardigan corgi (we herd, do agility, you get the picture). I'm almost 9 months pregnant, but still do my best to keep the dog occupied lol. I take the care of my dog very seriously and it's hard for me to understand when people don't feel the same about their animals.

My husband and I live out in the country, but we still have neighbors. Our neighbor across the way has what we perceive as a colony of cats, most of which appear to be un-fixed, and do not have collars or tags. Also, they tend to stay outside all the time, no matter the weather. We've counted at least 10 cats, but there are always cats coming and going.

While we don't wish the neighbor or her cats ill, we've encountered issues with the cats and are at a loss as to how to deal with this situation in a neighborly manner. Here are some of the things we've had to deal with:
Cats in our trash at all hours of the night
Cat fecal matter in our drive way and on our porch
Cats mating at all hours of the night
Dead animals in our yard
Cats climbing into the windows of our vehicles and spraying the interior of the vehicle

We are really getting tired of dealing with this type of nuisance and are unsure as to how to approach our neighbor.

As someone 9 months pregnant, it is dangerous for me to continuously clean up cat fecal matter due to toxemia. Plus, the dogs get into the cat poop and roll which makes it that much worse. I can't tell you how angry my husband was to find out that a cat had sprayed all over his truck!!!

I keep my dogs inside. Technically only one is mine, but I tend to baby sit for friends and always seem to have two dogs around. Anyway, all are crate trained, inside pets who are licensed with the county. They are leashed when outside and never unsupervised. I see the dogs' well being as my personal responsibility.

At one point, we used to let the dogs chase the cats out of the yard, but I was afraid one of the toms would scratch out an eye.

So, what are our options? My husband wants to trap the cats humanely and take them to the animal shelter. I honestly feel that's our best option, especially since the cats aren't cared for at all, and it's not clear to us which of the cats our neighbor actually owns, if she owns any at all....meaning, we don't know if these are just random stray cats she feeds or what.

Some websites advocate a sprinkler system that detects motion and will spray in the direction of the motion.

Any advice you can give would be great. We don't want to break the law and only want peace from the cats.


I fetch,- therefore I am.

Purred: Sun May 27, '12 3:11pm PST 
Is there a rescue or shelter in your area that does TNR? Neutering the cats would likely solve a lot of the problems you're experiencing, like roaming, territorial marking, fighting/mating loudly at night, and, of course, continually having kittens which only compounds the problem.

This is assuming that these cats are a feral colony that your neighbor just feeds and not actually her pets. If she actually owns them, then she needs to be held accountable for being an irresponsible pet owner leading to the damage to your property.confused

Orange Ruffy

The Baboo Kitty- has Spoken!
Purred: Mon May 28, '12 5:15am PST 

What are your neighbors like? there may be outright neglect, or perhaps ignorance, or it may be money that prevents them from getting the cats fixed.

Fixed cats are good neighbors. Why? They keep the rodent population down, they don't have the mating drive that makes for alot of the behavior you describe, and they keep other cats from taking up that territory.

Some practical points...

1) in terms of the trash....raccoons and squirrels are equally responsible for tearing open trash bags. You need to keep all trash in a covered container at all times. It keeps all sorts of wildlife from getting it. We know, mommy and daddy's window looks out over the buildings trash, and when they go down to feed their community cats, they oftimes see squirrels and even birdies tearing open the plastic bags for a snack! As the cats are fed, they do not bother. Mom once even saw a possum, and dad a raccoon!

2) Keep your car windows rolled up....that way, you won't have inside markings from felines. By the way, racoons also mark........something we only recently found out.

3) Always thump the hood of your car hard before getting in to drive, as in cold weather cats will get up inside near the wheel base to seek shelter and keep warm. Thump hard and even yell if you must.

4) Don't worry about the toxo thing so much...it's hard to get from felines...most of the time when people get it it is from food...always wear plastic gloves when handling raw meat. If you must pick up any sort of poop....use plastic gloves and plastic bags.

We suggest speaking with a local rescue that does T&R....chances are there will be one on the area willing to work to help out and maybe even talk with your neighbors. The rescue mom works with here does that for folks, and will even help them get their animals vetted when needed!

Don't discourage your new little one about to come into this world from being around the cats....cats are guardians, we are mystical magickal creatures who are very very wonderous!

All the best to you on your path...

Member Since
Purred: Mon May 28, '12 11:40am PST 
First off, thanks for your responses. We appreciate any feed back that we get.

Our neighbor is a single, somewhat elderly woman and as far as we can tell she lives alone. She's not very sociable. We notice her home and can see her TV on when the cats are outside, so we know that even when she's home the cats are still outside cats.

I guess as to some of the responses: We know it was the cats in the trash because we've caught them in the trash multiple times. While it could be other animals, the cats are the only ones we've caught. We have been keeping a lid on the trash, but somehow they're still getting in it.

Cats are nothing if not very resourceful. I wonder if they're getting fed, or whether they're just bored at night and smell the food in there.

As for me picking up poop because it's not all that toxic...I don't ask her to come over and clean up after my dog(s). I always carry poop bags with me when we walk and when my dog or the dogs I'm watching do their business, I consider it MY business to keep up after them. Even when they use the bathroom in MY YARD I still clean up after them. Just because her cats aren't on a leash doesn't make her any less responsible for the waste they create, especially when it causes us a disgusting inconvenience when the dogs roll in it, or eat it.

Really gross story: My dog got into some cat poop before we had a chance to clean it up (and those of you who have dogs understand that cat poop is a treat for dogs due to the high amount of protein it contains), and then later in the night my dog threw it up all over our bed while we were sleeping. Yeah. Pretty horrible.

Was our neighbor there to help wash our sheets at 3 am? Nope, she sure wasn't! It's different if YOU are the one that has to suffer the inconvenience of someone else's neglect.

And yeah, I guess we'll have to keep our vehicle windows rolled up (we've done that ever since to prevent the spraying) but that still doesn't take care of the claw marks and cat paw prints that mysteriously appear on our vehicles over night. Again, I used to have a cat that I kept inside, so I know cat prints when I see them. Racoons have thumbs (or thumb like appendages) and possum prints look alot like rat prints.

As for checking our engines for errant kitties, hadn't even thought of that. I guess that's probably one more thing we'll have to deal with doing.

While I appreciate that trap and release is probably what most of you would recommend, we probably wouldn't trap the cats, pay to neuter them, and then give them back to the lady only for her to keep outside. It might prevent some of the annoying issues like the loud mating and such, but that won't stop them from using our yard like a litter box.

As for cats being good neighbors, we haven't seen any benefits to that, yet. We still have plenty of rabbits, ground hogs, squirrels and raccoons in the area, and we still find mice droppings in our shed and barn. Unfortunately, these cats are just as much of a pest as anything else out here.

You must understand, having a cat or two as an outside, country pet is one thing and we understand that. I realize that just because I am a responsible pet owner, that not everyone will be. But, having several (read that up to 10 at least) that roam outside is something completely different.

Again, I used to have a cat that was beloved to me. He was a GIANT maine coon mix I got at a shelter who recently passed of a variety of health problems, and its hard for me to see someone just so negligent that they would leave their cats outside to the elements, especially when we live so close to a very busy state highway. I kept my big buddy inside, but even so he was licensed with the county and fed a special diet for his kidneys.

And maybe our neighbor is overwhelmed and needs some help. We don't know her situation, because she keeps to herself and doesn't speak. I think my husband is going to try to introduce himself (even though we've been neighbors for a while) and sort of politely feel out her situation before we make any moves on taking the cats to the humane society.

We'll see what happens. We don't want her to be hostile towards us, but we both feel its important that she's aware of what the cats are doing, especially since she's the one that seems to feed them.


I'm just a- lover!
Purred: Mon May 28, '12 1:13pm PST 
There are products you can get that should help keep cats out of your yard. I've never used them so I'm not sure how effective they are. I think they do the same for other critters as well.

It's not your responsibility, we get it. Too bad? shrug These cats maybe just ones she feeds and hasn't collected. There are tons of feral and stray cats every where. Even if you don't see them, they're there. Well part of the ecosystem now.

If you want to live peacefully, you'll try to find a TNR group. That's going to take care of a lot of your problems. Find out if she's feeding them, if not try to find a pet food bank. You're not paying for it, but you're providing it. That's going to take care of more of your issues.

I assume they poop in a garden area? If not where? I'll give suggestions on how to stop that when I know.

What other complaints do you have? We can work and find solutions for you, but if you just came in here to whine and compare cats and dogs (apples to oranges?) then I don't think there's much else to say. Be productive on finding a solution.hamster dance

Beatrice- (Miss You!- '94-'12)

The very Beast- of all

Purred: Mon May 28, '12 8:16pm PST 
I don't think that a rescue group that performs TNR will make you pay to have feral cats neutered. They're funded largely through donations. It might be nice, of course, if you made a donation in exchange for their help, but I don't think they'll send you a bill.

Taking cats to the shelter and dropping them off, though, usually does involve a fee. So, if you're worried about cost, that's not the way to go. If your neighbor does claim the cats as hers, then she could have you charged with theft and possibly destruction of HER property (since the cats will likely be euthanized if you take them to a shelter).

Most of the behaviors that you've mentioned are things that would get better with neutering. Spraying, scratching and leaving feces on surfaces are territorial marking, which is hormone-driven. Cats who are neutered are more likely to stay close to their own home, since they no longer have the hormonal urges to roam to claim territory and mate. They are much less likely to get into loud fights since the territorial urges have lessened, and obviously the mating issue will be solved.

I think the consensus here is the best answer you're likely to get from a group of cat lovers. It's at least worth looking into, isn't it?

Member Since
Purred: Tue May 29, '12 5:58am PST 
First off, it's not that I'm not a cat lover. I had a cat. He was an inside cat, and he WAS very well taken care of and I made sure he never caused any issues like THESE cats are causing. Again, big difference between two cats and over 10.

And we did look into the shelter option and they'll charge us for bringing the cats in, even if we are the ones who spend money on humane traps. I think it's like $25.00 per cat to bring them in.

Unfortunately, we don't have a TNR rescue in our area. Would that we did. I think since we live right across the way, it would do much difference to keep the cats at home, but maybe it would help do something. Who knows. It's not an option for us, anyway.

The other day, we noticed a family of raccoons feeding out of a bowl of food that the old lady put down for her cats, so I guess it's not just cats she's attracting. It would make sense if the raccoons are keeping the cats from eating that they're hungry enough to forage through trash. Poor cats.

The cats use the bathroom all over our driveway, and sometimes on our porch and deck area. We don't have flower beds, primarily because of the issue with the cat poop. We just feel they'd be too hard to keep sanitary.

This morning, we cleaned up 4 cat piles out of the gravel drive way before the dogs could get to them, so that was a bonus for us. At least we didn't have to bathe anyone. The hubby did find a hair ball on the hood of his car, which we do keep parked in the garage. I'm not sure what we could do to keep them off the cars, considering that our garage doors don't completely touch the ground and they squeeze under it. We had a bad storm last night, and its likely they came in to escape the rain and lightening.

And I know you guys are all cat fanatics. That's why we came here, because neither of us want to cause injury to anyone, or be accused of stealing anyone's pet. We WANT humane ways to help solve the problem, and of course, we recognize the problem will never be 100% fixed. Just like there will always be raccoons and possums, there will always be feral cats. We just think that dealing with what seems to be a whole colony is a bit much to ask.

We think there are more this year then last year...seems so, anyway.

As for us being whiney...well, maybe you'd feel differently if it was a dog doing this kind of mischief to your property. And imagine, not just one dog, but so many you aren't sure how many there actually are and having to clean up their poop in your yard EVERY DAY. Dogs in your trash. Dogs chasing your cats. Dogs getting in your shed and scratching your cars and barking at all hours of the night. *shudder* ;-) ;-) Just saying, guys, it's not really apples to oranges. It's responsibility for your pets, plain and simple. ;-) Everyone has a different perspective, and we just want to do the right thing.

We came on here for help, and we appreciate all the constructive help we have received.

~Purrcy ~- Meohmy

Purred: Mon Jun 4, '12 3:20pm PST 
You poor folks! This a terrible situation for you to be in!
I think,even as a cat lover, I would feel the same as you do.
First, I would approach the neighbor and ask if all the cats are hers. If some are, I would ask which ones are. I think you need to explain the situation to her - maybe she is completely unaware? Older folks may have some confusion or at least some diminished faculties.
Maybe the cats have actually become overwhelming for her and she doesn't have any idea or anyway to stop what is happening. She might feel guilty if she stopped "taking care" of the cats. The cats might even be taking food out of her mouth (most older folks live on fixed incomes).
She could actually be grateful if you intervene.
Because of the situation you describe, these cats have not received any proper veterinary care. Some - possibly most - may be ill and/or suffering from an endless variety of feline diseases. In my opinion - and I'm ducking bricks here - the kindest thing to do for most of these cats is to humanely end their lives. They don't have an owner who cares for them, except for feeding them (and raccoons too) - who might be a rabies threat.
Bless you for caring enough to seek help here. Ask your neighbor which cats are actually hers - if she tells you "all of them" - then you need to seek the help of your local animal control.
Your dogs are at risk - eating worm infested fecal matter is going to infect them. YOU as a pregnant person ARE at risk.
You are NOT whining - you are stating valid concerns.
Please keep us informed how you resolve this problem.

~Purrcy ~- Meohmy

Purred: Mon Jun 4, '12 6:21pm PST 
I forgot to say that I am so sorry that I am so sorry that your beloved Nakie has passed on. You sound like a very responsible and reasonable person. Again my heart goes out to you.
I do not own dogs but my brother does and I love them dearly. When my brother visits my home with the boys, I cringe because they DO jump on my almost new car, and pee on my newly planted seedlings and cause me endless anxiety with their antics, but I love those guys - you have neighbor cats that you do not and have no reason to love.
Your neighbor is actually abusing you - you don't have to put up with that.
BTW your biggest concern is toxoplasmosis from the cat feces - not toxemia. Every pregnant woman should be cautious about handling cat feces.
I wish you the very best.

Edited by author Mon Jun 4, '12 6:29pm PST