Your cat, who likes to wander around the neighbourhood, jumps onto your neighbour’s car because the engine is still warm. The bonnet (“hood” in the USA) is warm. Your cat misjudges slightly and grabs using his front claws. Or, perhaps, already on the car is another cat that was unnoticed until suddenly seen. As a result, your cat skids and jumps off.
There are slight, faint scratch marks. You can hardly see them. To your neighbour they are a major source of irritation because he loves his car and he keeps it in perfect condition.
Your neighbour complains to you about it. What would be your response? Here are some example responses:
- “My cat did not cause the scratches. He always jumps perfectly and lands softly. He has never marked a car. The cause must be something else”.
- “It is your problem. My cat has the right to wander and it’s just one of those things that happens. Live with it. You can easily fix that with a bit of polish”.
- “I am sorry. I’ll keep my cat in from now on. I’ll build an enclosure. If you get a quote for fixing the paintwork I’ll pay for it if your insurance excess prevents you claiming”.
- “It is your problem. If your car is that precious to you, either put it in your garage or cover it up when not in use”.
Most people accept roaming cats. A lot of people like them and welcome them. They are part of the community. In reality I have never heard of a cat scratching someone’s car until today when I read Dave’s comment, which gave me the idea for this post (the link opens a new window and the section about his car has been emphasised by me).
Dave does not like cats or dogs. He trapped the cat that he says scratched his car and took it to a pound. He stated that the cat’s owner should prevent her cat from jumping onto his car. He says the problem is with the cat’s owner and he tried to get the owner to agree with him but failed. So he took drastic action.
My personal response would be that neighbours should compromise. As Ruth says, live and let live. Give and take. However, if it could be proved that my cat had scratched someone’s car (highly unlikely, I believe), I would pay for the repair and apologise. Initially I would do no more than that if the person who owned the car responded amicably to that suggestion.
If he threatened action that would harm my cat that would obviously present an entirely different and more serious problem. It would be an escalation of the problem and I am not sure at present how I would deal with it.
Note: the photo by Tobyotter is for illustrative purposes only. A cat did not scratch this person’s car hood. A person did it with a box.