Tolerant British Accept Invader Cats

Willie a red tabby and white Maine Coon
Gorgeous “Willie” photo copyright David Howes. I have taken the liberty of publishing David’s photo here. If that is a problem please leave a comment.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

If you let your cat go outside through a cat flap at his pleasure, you are allowing yourself to enter a world of shared cat ownership. It is a cat-human relationship that is somewhere between Morocco and the United States of America and it does present an added aspect to our responsibilities towards our cats and those of others. I’ll explain what I mean and see if you agree with me.

Valley Girl (VG) is an American friend of mine (her blog). We have almost exactly the same age. She is my American “twin sister”. She has referred me to a story about a couple of English ailurophiles – I love that word provided I can spell it – who live in the north of England. They are David and Julie Howes. David has a really nice Flickr account and he is an excellent photographer and the subjects are often their cats.

The Dawes have a nice menagerie of Maine Coon cats and non-purebred cats. They have a cat house at the bottom of their garden where the cats spend some time. This is a cat-centric household.

They have a cat flap that is open at certain times…”The flap is locked when the Maine coons are about in the house and unlocked when they are in their room while we are at work & during the night…”

Now, bearing in mind that in Britain people like to let their cats go outside at will, you are almost bound to get some time-share cats and stray cats who are confident enough to use the cat flap to come inside for food. It has happened to me and other householders where I live. There is a pool of stray or roaming cats in Britain who are not constrained by the usual rules. They do as they please. There are some aspects of cat ownership in Britain that resembles cat ownership in Mediterranean countries; the world of true community cats.

In this instance a unneutered tom, who has been named “Parker”, has been coming through the cat flap and eating food, spraying urine inside – to claim territory I presume – and disturbing the cats. Willie, a gorgeous red tabby and white Maine Coon, has been unsettled and he is taking it out on Darley, who is a deaf, polydactyl, all-while Maine Coon while Petal went missing for a while and Jarvis “gets quite agitated and will run from the kitchen to the patio doors and back again” when Parker is about.

Parkers’ presence is disturbing the peace to cut a long story short.

VG asks this simple but crucial question:

If this invader cat keeps returning, would you consider closing the door with the cat inside, capture the cat, and take it to the vet to be neutered? I suppose part of the answer depend on whether the tom appears to be feral, or a neighbor’s pet..

Good question. I am sure the Howes have asked it themselves. There are lots of questions and hurdles to be confronted. I don’t think the Howes want to close the cat flap, as I have, because the set up at the Howes household is very nice for the cats and their human caretakers.

As I understand the legal aspects, this is not trespass. In other words, Parker’s owner (and he seems to have one) cannot be sued for trespass.

If you are going to neuter Parker you’d have to consult with the owner first. If you did not, it might be construed as criminal damage to someone else’s property ;)! — Highly unlikely however.

The point I am making is that the British are a nation of tolerant people known for their liking of animals. In my experience this leads to the situation described above. Is it such a bad situation? It is what you might expect under the circumstances and perhaps we should put up with it.


11 thoughts on “Tolerant British Accept Invader Cats”

  1. It’s a pity you don’t have a Cats Protection over there, they would pay for the neutering of that tom. It’s in their interest to get as many cats neutered as possible to save unwanted kittens being born and ending up with them costing them even more to feed/vaccinate/neuter before they rehome them.

  2. Oh boy, I am going to JUMP! on this one. [“Dawes or hOWE’S, who cares.”]
    , ahem. My neighbor’s cat “Oreo,” [I call him “Taz.”], is an un-neutered male. A B&W Tuxedo un-neutered male. I pick him up and cuddle him, talking little chitchat babytalk. He sprays me. He humps my poor Shrimp (who is male, neutered, obviously). I have to run across three neighbors’ yards to separate him from a roundball fight. (He isn’t even my cat, but I’ve offered to have him neutered.)
    Tell you the truth, I’m about to do the surgery myself!

    [eyes roll.] I have talked to his human–she refuses to neuter. I offered to pay, but warned her that she would have to pay for the vax’s, and licensing. She made fun of me in front of the unneutered male’s human, her 13-yr-old son.

    So, this is what I would attempt.

    Spray Feliway” on every thing that the cat contacts, and wait for the sweetheart to mellow out a bit. Then take said Romeo in to your vet and let her know that the poor little guy is an orphan whose fate lies in your hands, and you’re looking for a home…

    Chances are, your feline vet will pick up on this and give you a discount on the neutering and shots. Then, you can traipse over to the “owner,” and say, “Hey, Neighbor. your son’s beloved cat is mine, unless you teach him the importance of caring for his/your pets.

  3. Hi all- interesting information. Apparently the cat might be hard to catch, so that’s a problem. My impression from David is that, although they have actually caught “Parker” in the act (I mean seen him at the food bowls inside) he dashes out the cat door lickety-split. So, it’s a bit of logistical problem, considering their schedules and the number of other cats in the household.

    Anyone have any clever ideas on that one?

    I’ve read that there are cat doors that can be triggered to open via some special id device on a cat collar. But I’d imagine that refitting the cat door and the resident cats would be a huge pain.

    I’ve been trying to come up with some clever solution as to how to capture Parker, w/o success. So, cat experts?….

    • Time and patience is what it takes.
      We had an old couple near here who started feeding a homeless cat in their garden, they did this for months until miserable neighbours noticed and objected! They were doing no harm poor old souls nor was the cat. Anyway it upset them so much they called Cats Protection in. My sister and I went to see the old folk and to try to reason with the neighbours, their response was they’d poison the cat if she wasn’t removed. Against the law of course and maybe just a threat but we couldn’t leave that cat in danger. They gave us two weeks!
      So we devised a plan for the old folk to bring the food nearer and nearer the door then into the kitchen, which they did gradually further in until she was clear of the door and then at an arranged time we went to their house and our plan was for Babz to hide behind the door to close it when the cat came in and I would grab her…..luckily we suceeded and the few scratches were worth it lol and were able to take the cat for microchip check etc and eventually rehome her as no one claimed her.
      This plan works to catch toms for neutering too 🙂

  4. A lifetime of dealing with all sorts of cat welfare problems and doing the best for the cat concerned 🙂

  5. A cat being badly treated can be spirited away to be rehomed and a nuiscance tom cat can be spirited away to be neutered and returned without too much fuss, for his own sake, if it’s all planned and done discretely.

    • I agree and I would do it. It would be interesting to see if the owner even noticed. When Red was ‘done’ he wasn’t even shaved – you almost couldn’t notice.

      • Our vets didn’t shave toms either and as it’s just a very short op they don’t have deep anaesthetic so they are up and about in no time, yes a thoughtless ‘owner’ probably would never notice the difference!


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