Is the statement in the title correct? I feel that it is. Distinct problems can occur if you let your cats wander outside in the knowledge that they might occasionally enter a neighbour’s house and eat the food there or worse, urinate in the house.
This is what happened in Yeovil, UK. It has happened to me too. By which I mean a neighbour’s cat wandered into the flat where I was living and became friendly with us. We then started to feed the cat. This is a mistake but very difficult to avoid particularly if the visiting cat is hungry. But when you feed a neighbour’s visiting cat you encourage the cat to return. You reinforce the cat’s behaviour and you will upset the owner. There is no question about that unless the owner is so sloppy she/he does not care at all.
In Yoevil, a lady’s three-year-old cat, Saskia, wandered into the houses of neighbours. Saskia had the unfortunate habit of urinating in the homes she visited. On the face of it that is odd. It implies that the cat urinated outside the litter box in strange houses. I think what was happening is that the cat as spraying to mark territory. That is far more likely. That behaviour may have been due to the presence of other cats in the neighbourhood. A place which is cat friendly can end up with too many outdoor cats which in turn can cause all kinds of cat-to-cat and human-to-human conflicts.
Obviously the neighbours who suffered the spraying complained to the cat’s owner, Vanessa McCarlie, aged 33. Vanessa took umbrage and said that the problem was with the neighbours who fed her cat.
“What they have done is fed my cat for the last two years, now she wants to go into their houses. She is saying my cat goes into the house, goes to the toilet and leaves.”
An argument ensued. This became a heated argument between Samantha Arnold (who incidentally has 9 cats of her own) and McCarlie. There was some pushing and shoving. The upshot is that Arnold ended up in hospital where she was fitted with a neck brace (see picture)!
McCarlie was charged with two counts of assault. McCarlie accepted a restraining order whereupon the charges were dropped.
My take on this is that a cat owner should respond helpfully if a neighbour says that their cat is going to someone’s house. If that happens the cat’s caretaker should take steps to stop it happening. That can be tricky because if you let your cat go outside you are losing control of your cat.
The best answer is to fit a microchip activated cat flap. That prevents all but the owner’s cat entering the property.
If my cat was entering someone’s home and that person complained to me I’d discuss a microchip activated cat flap and if my neighbour did not have one fitted I’d offer to pay half of the cost of fitting one. As part of the deal I’d ask that my neighbour stopped feeding my cat if she was doing this.
If is vital to try and keep the peace with neighbours. Without it you might as well move.