Silly moo up the road is feeding my greedy cat

Stray Cat

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Cat lovers know that people don’t own cats. Although the law says that we do. The law is outdated; old-fashioned and rooted in a time when attitudes towards companion animals were less refined and developed.

We are simply companions with our cat. The relationship is mutually supportive. The behavior of many cats reflect this non-ownership. A lot of cats that are allowed outside treat neighboring homes as part of their home range. They wander. They could be called community cats. They are part of the community although they have a base home – the “owners”.

The wandering community style cat will be fed by others. This is a natural consequence of a cat sharing the companionship of various people in an area. Under these circumstances, it is not right for the so called “owner” to complain if someone else feeds her cat.

To complain about someone else feeding her cat is to force their ownership upon the cat. The complaining “owner” is really trying to assert her ownership rights and is upset that her cat finds someone else’s food preferable.

On the netmums.com website there is a thread entitled: “oh my god my neighbour feeding my cat at it again..” Every comment to the article supports the woman who is complaining that her neighbour is feeding her cat. They provide advice on how to stop her. What is all the fuss about? Why all the anger?

The owner writes:

total nightmare. silly moo up the road is feeding my greedy cat…

The “problem” of someone else feeding her cat is not a problem from the cat’s perspective. It is natural for a cat to search for food etc. and not be confined by walls and doors. The problem is that there is a challenge to the woman’s “ownership”. She is half way to losing her cat, she thinks. This is really a people problem not a cat problem.

I would suggest too that if a cat that is fed by several households becomes obese as a result the cause is not the fact that there are several sources of food for this cat but because the food is overly appetizing. It is what we call “moorish”, The problem of overfeeding is not caused by the cat being unable to self-regulate feeding.

The idea of community cats is much less common in the West than in the Middle East and the East. This is probably because with respect to domestic animals the idea of ownership and possession is more important in the West.  But the domestic cat does not recognize the idea of ownership. In countries like Morocco and the Southern Mediterranean countries there are many community cats. They are not obese.

The true relationship between cat and person is one of loyalty and companionship but not true ownership. In the West, the so called “owner” will be the cat’s primary companion and probably only companion but if that relationship weakens the cat may well find other companions and become a community cat. What prevents the cat wandering and doing this is conditioning. Cats are used to being in one place and are familiar with their environment. They will usually stay in that home but a more confident cat and a cat that is less than content may roam and develop into  a community cat.

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38 thoughts on “Silly moo up the road is feeding my greedy cat”

  1. I keep Monty in his own yard. No worries about neighbors feeding him. But he does eat a surprising amount of vegetation back there.

    Reply
    • There was a story recently about the remains of cats found in Chinese graves from 5,000 years ago and it was decided that one of the cats had eaten lots of grain throughout his/her life. I think cats can eat quite of a lot of plant material (although grain is not plant material as far as I am aware) and be OK, indeed thrive. Wild cats eat herbivores and there is quite a bit of plant material in the stomach of a herbivore, which is eaten by the cat.

      Reply
      • Monty just always thinks he’s starving. The cat grass and cat nip I bought have caused him to lose interest in the Christmas tree, which is good.

        Reply
  2. This same situation exists in the assisted living facility where I work as a physical therapist assistant. I asked the patient I was working with if she had a cat, because I saw a bag of cat treats on her table. No, the cat wasn’t hers, he lives across the hall, but if she leaves her door open a crack he comes in and hangs out in her apartment. And she gives him treats. He comes for the treats, but more than that, I think. He must enjoy her companionship, since he stays around, according to her, even after he gets his treat. I wonder how the cat’s human across the hall feels about this. I assume he knows.

    Reply
    • I agree it is more that just about food. If a cat wants to eat at two or more homes, the people who live in those homes including the cat’s owner, should get together and work out a decent diet that matches the situation.

      Reply

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