My Neighbor Feeds My Cat

My Neighbor Feeds My Cat

by Wilbur

Picture added by Admin - cat going to a neighbors - photo by Andreas.

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.

Picture added by Admin - cat going to a neighbors - photo by Andreas.

My neighbor feeds my cat and I don't like it. As far as I know they don't lock Mary Lou in (my cat) or try and keep her but just feed her. I would rather they didn't as I am frightened that they will keep her in the end. I don't know how often she is fed by my neighbors as she is out a lot anyway. Sometimes she seems to spend the whole night at my neighbors' place. Or my cat is out and about but as it is very cold I don't think that is the case. Is there anything I can do to stop this and do I have any legal rights? Are they doing something illegal?


This is a fairly common situation. If cats are outdoor cats they will gradually migrate to whatever situation, place or home that is the best to meet their needs. Humans due the same, we look to improve things for ourselves as well. There is no absolute right of possession of a cat despite the law, which treats animals including domestic animals as human property no more or less than a piece of furniture. As far as the law is concerned we do own our cats but in practice because a cat is a living creature they can come and go as they please if the cat is not an indoor cat. This tells us that the law is out of date. We keep and care for cats in practice but do not own them.

There was a recent criminal case in the UK (a burglary) in which the judge, in summing up said that if a personal item was stolen of little monetary value but high sentimental value the sentence should reflect that. An example might be a picture of a relative. This approach or concept should be carried forward to the law on keeping animals. Cats carry a high level of sentimental value. Cruelty to cats should be heavily punished not only because of the pain suffered by the cat but also the distress caused to the person. Under the current law a cat that is hurt amounts to criminal damage and possibly cruelty ( both separate criminal offences) but the compensation would be next to nothing because in the eyes of the law a moggie cat has little or no value (a purebred might be worth say $3-500). In civil law it would be trespass and/or interference with goods. Compensation should be higher to reflect both the suffering of the animal and the emotional distress of the human keeper.

As to your problem, the problem is yours I am afraid and there is nothing that can be done on a legal basis. Your neighbors have not stolen your cat and cannot therefore be prosecuted for theft. Neither have they committed cruelty or harmed the cat (the opposite it seems). Your cat prefers your neighbors' place and/or the food is better. Cats are very motivated by the quality of food available and a stress free environment.

Your complaint that "My neighbor feeds my cat" can only be stopped if you made your cat an indoor cat or created an ambiance that suited the cat better than that of your neighbors plus throw in some superior food to boot. She would then be very likely to hang around. Instead of being full-time indoors consider a large enclosure if there is sufficient space and funds. If Mary Lou is locked in, to stop her going to your neighbors, and the environment remains the same (i.e. not completely to her liking) then that would, on the face of it, be cruel. Hope this helps. Sorry it isn't better news.

A good toy can help make the environment better for our cat and this one is meant to be very good:

My Neighbor Feeds My Cat to Home Page

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My Neighbor Feeds My Cat

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Oct 25, 2011 I know this thread's from a while ago, but.....
by: Kat L.

I know it's 2 years after the post + you've probably already resolved the issue, but take it from someone who knows:
Keep her inside.
You can't trust people no matter where you live anymore.

I always worried about having cats outdoors and preferred indoor only,but I was in school when this scenario played out + my parents' rules that they be allowed out at the time.

A neighbor tried to steal ALL 3 of our cats, believing allowing them outside was neglecting them + even took their collars + ID tags off (which is a finable + illegal charge, if proven). They told everyone they were "strays" so they could take them with applause by the neighborhood. We fought for 5 years with them.

One cat they tried to get bc he was "cute + friendly". Well most friendly cats are pets. He was missing for 4 months + when I looked for him they never said they saw him but a few days later I saw him lying in the yard across the street from theirs, staring at our house. I called his name + he ran at me, full sprint, + licked my face like a dog. They pulled in their driveway + asked me what I was doing with THEIR cat. I said it was the cat I'd been looking for, and he followed me home + we kept him in until next spring.

But his brother disappeared on Halloween only a few weeks after that talk, who we never found, with tons of lost posters + hours of searching for months. We still miss him terribly, + I wish everyone at home had listened when I said to keep him in.

The day before Christmas that year, our 3rd cat went missing + he came home 2 days later afraid of people, his collar cut off + a clean gash on his neck, smelling of shampoo. Someone tried to steal him, removed his collar + he escaped + came home. He's been indoors since.

Over the last few years, the one that was in until spring, my parents insisted be allowed in + out again, and I knew they would try again without a doubt.

Last year, I didn't see him for a weekend + while at the vets with our other cat we saw them with our cat, calling him a "stray". They panicked when they saw us bc they knew he was ours. We called the cops. The neighbor claimed he was abused, so we had to wait for an investigation before we could get him home. The vet + cops confirmed we never hurt him, + we later found that he;d been hurt bc of the trap they set to catch him. They injured him trying to steal him.

We got him home, + finally convinced my parents (it only took 5+ yrs)that it's best for them to be indoors-only. Now they're all indoor, it gives us peace of mind, + they're happier. They don't try to go out. That was my parents' idea in the 1st place. They're content to stay in. I just wish they'd listened before we lost his brother who will probably be missing forever, + I'll always wonder what happened to him + where he is.

Furthermore, microchip your pets. It's a life saver.

Dec 19, 2010 similar prob
by: Anonymous

I have a similar problem, we recently moved and my cat loves being at home during the day but at night he meows to go out. Since we have moved here he is gaining more and more weight. I have four cats and they are all monitored and healthy weight maintained apart from this one. It is frustrating because I wish my neighbours wouldnt feed him. The problem is I don't know which neighbours house he is going in to.

Apr 10, 2010 The other side opinion
by: Anonymous

Well, here is another perspective. We sat on the porch and then all of a sudden a cat jumped up to my husbands lap. He stayed put for 30 min. We figured he belong to a neighbor but he does not have a collar. We left him outside our door and he meowed for hours. Finally, we felt so bad and let him in. He stayed overnight at our house. This last for 2 weeks after we asked around our neighbor if anyone lost their cat. When we finally found the owner and told them where their cat has been staying, they just said "oh..thank you. We typically just let him roam around, since he always comes back." I like my neighbor but that comment made my jaw dropped.
2 months past by, this situation became very uncomfortable for us. We don't want to be called a theft but the owner does not seem to care. We love the cat and the cat loves us but he is not ours.
We decided to confront them again and asked if they are interested to have us adopt the cat.
It took them 2 weeks to come to our door with their whole family to told us that they want their cat back.
You think the story ended there, nope. Winter passed and spring has sprung. One night, we heard the cat meowed at our door again. We called the owner, they came and picked him up. They said, oh we kept him inside all winter. Now it's warm for him to go out again. Let me just say, it has been 3 weeks that we have to call the owner everyday to pick up their cat from our house or our door.
We know it is not our cat. We respect our neighbour wishes to not feed him or give him shelter. But this is getting out of hand.
At what point is the owner will see that their cat has chosen a new home?

Mar 30, 2010 I hate my neighbor
by: Anonymous

..who feeds my cat. My cat likes to go outdoors and who can blame him. But he has to eat a diet cat food Uretic (
for crystals in his urinary control) he almost died last month the vet bill was 600+ and they say it's usually from the food they eat but recomended this food. Well the cat made it but is now out eating that junk food from my neighbor. It also brings skunks and other stray cats around. I wish he'd get his own animals to feed! I already told him about feeding but he still does it. I guess my cat will have to stay in more until I move to a better place with my own fenced yard. Good luck with your dip shit neighbor.

Feb 01, 2009 My Neighbor Feeds My Cat
by: Anonymous

My Aunty is having the same problem, and is very concerned that this may cause her cat to become obese. He has put on noticeable weight, and I don't think the food the neighbor feeds him is superior. Hes just a piggy and will eat anything put in front of him =)
Obesity is serious and can end up in some hefty veterinary fees. So I can see how a lot of cat owners would be annoyed if this was the case. It would peeve me off too, have you tried talking to your neighbor?

Jan 24, 2009 My Cat Stays Home
by: Anonymous

Thanks for this. My cat stays home because she is old and loved but I can see the problems. I also agree the law is outdated.

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