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.