This spat between cat owners has its roots in the distinctly British culture of allowing domestic cats to roam freely wherever they wish. When this happens it is quite common for cats to go through the cat flaps (cat door) and open doors of neighbours’ houses in search of food. And when this happens you might receive a threatening note like the one you see below.
The note is more or less self-explanatory. In this instance the cat belonging to Karl Hart living in Walney near Barrow-in-Furness, whose name is Milton (and a very handsome grey cat he is), kept on wandering into the home of a neighbour where he ate a special cat diet which was particularly expensive. According to the person wrote the note he also trashed her kitchen by opening pouches of cat food and leaving the remains all over the floor.
A woman wrote the note but she is not known to Mr Hart who responded to her threats. He suggested that he fit a microchip activated cat flap in her kitchen door which would only allow her cat to enter her kitchen and thereby prevent Milton from stealing her cat’s food.
As you can see in the note the enraged woman threatened to abduct Milton the next time he stole her cat’s food and take him to a far away RSPCA rescue centre where Mr Hart would have to collect him. She even threatened to take Milton to Scotland which would be highly inconvenient. It may be a crime incidentally.
I think, therefore, that the threat was idle in that I would doubt that she would follow through on it because as mentioned it might be a crime.
The anonymous woman said:
“Please keep him in [in reference to Milton] or at least feed him otherwise travelling around the country with him is my next step with him. My cat needs his diet regulating and your cat keeps eating it all. Thank you.”
Milton looks as innocent as a cat can look. For him it is quite natural because he has no concept of theft or human ownership or doors and barriers. He just sees food and he goes for it. It doesn’t really matter, either, if a cat has been fed because they do tend to like to eat the food in a difficult to get to places. Maybe this is a cat’s hunting instinct coming out.
In response Mr Hart wrote on Facebook we are told (and therefore presume that he knew the Facebook page of the woman in question):
“To the anonymous lady threatening to abduct my cat. Firstly, let me assure you that I do appreciate your frustration with Winston coming into your house and eating your cat’s food.
I too find other cats entering my house through the cat flap that is present and eating the food that is here.
I however see it as an acceptable hazard of allowing my cat to come and go as he pleases. Secondly, please be assured that as I do not follow Winston on his adventures, and he doesn’t report back to me on them, the letter you posted to my door was the first I’ve heard of him freeloading on you.
In all seriousness, in order to prevent what appears to be your objective of making my life hard by travelling around the country to retrieve my cat… I would like to offer to buy you a new cat flap that only your cat can access. Please get in touch with me to organise a rational solution to this issue.”
I thought that was a good solution and it’s a friendly one which should dissipate the animosity between the parties.
My experience tells me that it is genuinely commonplace for this sort of problem to happen but most often British people accept the invasion of their kitchen by a strange cat. The stranger cat becomes known to them and they become regular visitors. They become friendly with the cat and sometimes the cat is adopted which can in itself cause complications. Often the cat is a stray who has become ‘unowned’ over time. There are many variations and sometimes the visiting cat can become very fat because he has taken two meals when he should have taken one.
And sometimes it can work the other way around. In other words, the owner of the cat entering into other people’s homes can become annoyed when she learns that her cat is being fed by her neighbour. Wondering domestic cats can be a source of friction between neighbours. Let’s be honest.