Cat owners should stop their cats wandering into other people’s houses

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.

Samantha Arnold, 24, in a neck brace
Samantha Arnold, 24, in a neck brace
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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.


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2 thoughts on “Cat owners should stop their cats wandering into other people’s houses”

  1. I cannot speak for anywhere else. Letting your cat out unleashed and not in secure cat fencing or enclosure in the US is putting their lives at risk. and that includes several infection diseases. AC laws seldom address roaming cats and it is that exclusion that lends them to being disposable pets that can be let out to fend for themselves until the sad sack owner wants to pay attention to them. It’s really easy keep your pets confined. In your home, on a leash or in a secured enclosure. Cats kept for rodent control in rural areas should be properly chipped and fixed to discourage roaming. As to the microchipped cat flaps…well it’s hard to lay blame on anyone when everyone is letting their pets roam.

  2. I have had this problem with a neighbor. She used to feed one of her cats outside, because she couldn’t bring that cat in without disharmony being a problem with the indoor cats and dogs. She in advertantly (or verdantly) fed my cat (Buddy) too, who was indoor/outdoor. I’ve managed to have fair control over my cats except for this, whereby he and then others of mine were drawn to the “better tasting” dry food she kept leaving outside. The dry food was also a danger to Buddy who could get crystals because of it. It’s too simple to “just” keep mine in, though I tried that. Other than this problem, which I tried to curtail in other ways, there hasn’t been any others. I asked her to feed only at certain hours (when I also would keep mine in) so that her’s could eat and coincidentally leave none for mine (AND OTHER) stray cats who didn’t even live in our hood. She refused to. My cats kept (and to this day still) keep going over there, though Buddy has since passed away. Even since her original cat (who she let stay outside until 20 years of age) had finally stayed inside, this woman kept putting food out for strays who came through the hood. I’m home all the time and see what goes on day and night. I know the routines. I talked, sent letters to this woman, but she’s one who can’t be told anything. I at least consider things. I’ve considered keeping my cats indoor only, but as they seen most of their time staying close to me, and I know when and where-to they meaner away, I rein them in when necessary. If I don’t see one, I know where it went and often just have to call them once and they come to me. Often I walk over there, they simply see me standing there and come walk with me home, which is fun in itself and gets me out of the house. My attitude is I do what I can, weighing everything in the balance. People will eventually do the right thing on their own. If I pester them they just dig in, like trolls on the internet. In my location I’ve never had a problem (other than this) with my cats also being outside, but I understand not all locations are ideal for it nor do all owners have eyes on them 24/7 like I do. I also have cameras and IR switches that signal me as to their whereabouts. I also never let my cats go far and always make sure they will come when I call them. That’s the most important thing in addition to seeing to all their wants and needs when they are home. Sorry for the long reply. Keep your cats safe and happy.


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