UK: Middle Class Neighbours Fight Over Cat Poop

This is a little vignette of a cat story from middle England and the middle class. I wonder how Americans would behave in comparison to these two Brits. It depends on the person; that must be the answer.

cat in garden

Cat in a garden. Cats don’t know human boundaries. Photo by Jay Woodworth

A dispute arose between two middle class neighbours when they came to blows over that perennially tricky problem between neighbours when one of them looks after a cat while the other does not and the cat defecates in the garden belonging to the person who does not have a cat.

In this instance, Douglas Pidgeon, aged 60, became infuriated with his next door neighbour because his neighbour’s cat was fouling his garden. I can understand Mr Pidgeon’s feelings. He quite probably has a nice garden and takes pride in it.

Mr Pidgeon threw the cat poop back over the hedge that divided the two properties. The man with the cat, Matthew Lucas, aged 38, discovered what had happened and then confronted Mr Pidgeon. An argument ensued which progressed to a tussle which in turn led to blood being spilled when there was a clash of heads.

It appears – and I am reading between the lines – that Mr Lucas made a complaint to the police which led to Mr Pidgeon being prosecuted for assault. Mr Pidgeon was cleared of assault in the Magistrate’s Court.

As mentioned, this is the kind of problem which can cause conflict between neighbours which is always highly unfortunate because they have to live close to each other – they need to get along. The big question is this: who is primarily at fault?

Perhaps the answer, as usual, is a common sense one and a compromise. Mr Lucas could and probably should have done more to ensure that his cat did not defecate on Mr Pidgeon’s garden if he was aware of his neighbour’s feelings about it. And Mr Pidgeon possibly could have dealt with the matter more diplomatically. The only solution, now, in this instance, would be to prevent the cat going onto the neighbour’s garden.

A lot of people don’t mind other people’s cats coming into their garden but some people do mind and I think their opinion should be respected. There is no law in the UK which says that a cat is trespassing when he or she goes into another person’s garden. Neither is the cat owner vicariously liable for the trespass of his cat and therefore there is nothing illegal in the process. Ultimately it is down to the people doing their best to act as a reasonably as possible.

Facebook Discussion

Comments

UK: Middle Class Neighbours Fight Over Cat Poop — 29 Comments

  1. Mr Lucas should have said sorry and prevented the cat from exiting his yard. Mr Pidgeon could put a fence around his garden, but I doubt that would of helped. I wonder if there was bad blood between the two already.

      • I agree – the owner will have to work out a way to keep his cat out of the neighbours garden.

        The neighbour could also buy some anti cat spray or something that will encourage the cat to go to another garden.

        Seems like both are not making a proper effort.

  2. I can understand how the people feel as my nxt door neighbours who are lovely people. Dont really appreciate our cats as they are big garden people. But they tolerate the cats and just shoo them away. Also they are bird people as well. So i alwys try and make sure my residant bird/rat/mouse hunter ozzie(black cat) is well feed up on meat. Was a frustration in the early days as was worried something might happen to them. I think the cats have learned to stay away. I think its important to develop a good friendship so there is respect. Now our neighbour gives us Rabbit for the cats(not that they will eat) Great article by the way making more awareness. ok think ive talked too much. sorry

    0

    • Kylee, your personal experience is an example of how a tolerant and sensible approach can resolve the “problem” and keep the peace between neighbours. The last thing people want is a war with their next door neighbour. That makes life miserable.

  3. It’s not a very pleasant thing to have a cat fouling one’s garden and perhaps pulling up nicely planted flowers but there are worse things. Mr Pidgeon was getting a free supply of fresh manure which would help his flowers no end. He could also have scooped it up and handed it politely back to Mr Lucas. But these are things we all have to learn to live with and deal with. What about the times when horses were the only way yo to get about and haul passengers and goods. The roads were smothered with dung and people had no alternative but to put up with it without getting into fights with the horse owners. I think these days we are getting too finicky and want everything to be squeaky clean and perfect, and are willing to jeopardize good relations with people to achieve that. It’s darn hard to build any kind of a fence capable of keeping a cat out.

    • I think these days we are getting too finicky and want everything to be squeaky clean and perfect, and are willing to jeopardize good relations with people to achieve that.

      Good observation, I think. Also people are becoming control freaks in a more chaotic world and becoming more stressed. Life is becoming more pressured which can lead to these disputes because the people are on short fuses.

      • Totally sometimes the chaotic of life can cloud people brains. I think if you can come to a balance and reach an agreement between two people can make life easier for neighbours and also the cats involved. Thats what i think anyway.

  4. There is no need for conflict if neighbours are sensible and talk things over and come to a solution, but some people are unreasonable and too impatient.
    Mr Lucas could have made his own garden cat friendly, kept a patch of earth always freshly dug, planted cat nip, put places for the cat to sit in sunny spots and encouraged his cat to stay on his own property. Mr Pidgeon could have used cat deterrents, there are plenty on the market now, or he could have simply clapped his hands and chased the cat out of his garden, after a few times the cat would have got the message.
    Mr Pidgeon wants to thank his lucky stars he’s not surrounded by dogs barking day and night, that can really make someone feel like assaulting the ignorant owners who shut them in kennels outside, or in the house alone long hours to bark non stop. But of course no sensible person would assault a neighbour and cause bad feeling.
    There is no solution to dog problems, we have to live with them!

    • Very true, nothing i cant stand more than barking dogs and people that dont control them. Esp late at night but i suppose you cant do much about that. lol

      • It drives us mad here and the only thing is to complain to the council, they get all the people affected to keep a noise diary for months, then it goes to court which causes bad feeling amongst neighbours, it’s not worth it.
        We just have to live with it and treading in dog muck even though owners are supposed to pick it up.
        It’s not the dogs faults but they are a thousand times more of a pest than any cats could ever be.

        • Yea agree, i know its not the dogs fault but its jut with the forever barking that drivves me crazy. I dont hate dogs just with the noise level thats annoying for me.

  5. wow. You have to even ask who was in the wrong? …..

    deleted by Michael as offensive and nasty (trolling basically)

  6. Without knowing how the neighbours got on together before this happened there is no way to say who is in the wrong, it’s definitely an overreaction to throw the poop back, why not just dig it into the garden, on the other hand has the cat owner got more animals or rowdy kids, all of which could make a nuisance of themselves and have driven the neighbour to finally hit back. We don’t know (and neither do you Woody above but any cat owner is found guilty without a trial in your court)it’s just a shame they couldn’t sort it out amongst themselves without attention seeking and making it public.
    I agree with Ruth that untrained dogs are a far bigger nuisance than any cat is, try living next door to a huge dog that barks, in the garden, unchecked by it’s stay at home owner, from 9am until around 10.15pm on one side and two out of control terriers that are put in cages in a kitchen with the window open during the owners working hours and on their nights out and you will understand that living next door to a cat that occasionally c***s in your garden would be some sort of paradise!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.