Worried about and frustrated by neighbour cat

corvidae

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Hi all. This is likely going to be more of a rant than anything- I’d love some cat lover commiseration and any ideas you all have on what to do here would also be welcome.
In December my family and I moved from an apartment into a house with a yard. We knew many neighbours have cats, and had gotten accustomed to seeing them through the windows. We even exchanged notes in the mailbox with one neighbour, as our cats would often look at each other through our adjacent windows. As it’s warmed up though, that neighbour allows their elderly cat, Butters, to free roam. Now, this is something I’m opposed to on lots of levels. I feel it’s irresponsible, unsafe for the cat and local wildlife, and on top of that it’s against city bylaws. The most frustrating part has been that I’m limited from taking my harness trained cats on their walks, because Butters will come right up to them. I don’t want my cats getting too close to him because I don’t know his vaccination or medical history, and most frustratingly, my eldest cat Mindy is very stressed by other cats. I can’t even take her for a walk in my own backyard without making sure it’s clear of Butters first.
At the same time as I’m frustrated with how he’s being cared for, I’m a cat lover, and I can’t help but love Butters! He’s very friendly and he has a silly little meow.
Recently I was out gardening and he came over and drank from my watering can for like five minutes. Since then I’ve been putting water out for him at the property boundary, and I’ve found him sleeping on our steps a few times lately. I know he’s an older guy, and I know his excessive thirst could be a sign of kidney issues. Especially because his owners don’t monitor him and he goes to the bathroom outside, I’m concerned they could be missing signs of illness.
I mentioned to his owners in a very carefully crafted note with a very friendly tone that he’d seemed really thirsty and in older cats that can be a sign of kidney issues so they might want to look into that, and they simply told me that they’d leave a bigger water dish out for him, which is of course not the issue.
Overall I’m feeling really frustrated for him. I think he deserves better care than he’s getting, and I also wish he wouldn’t constantly be in our yard. I really wish there were more I could do, but I’m unsure what else I can do while maintaining a civil relationship with his owners.
 

fionasmom

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I am just going to let you know that I understand where you are coming from. It is not fair to your cats and not fair to Butters. I am assuming that these bylaws are not enforced and/or that it is not worth causing issues with the neighbors....something else that I agree with. Solutions to this run the gamut from trying to adopt Butters, offering to take him to the vet, or just being his friend and giving him extra water. I am in no way suggesting that you do the first two however. Do you think that these people might come around in time if you continue to nicely speak to them about Butters and your concerns?
 

rubysmama

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What a frustrating situation. I could feel your empathy for poor Butters as I thread your post. I'm not really sure what more you can do, as you've already shared your concern with his humans. As for him roaming loose, since there's a bylaw, maybe you could check with the city and see what would happen if you placed a complaint. But if they came and took Butters, that would be very stressful for him, and who knows if his humans would notice he was gone, or "bail" him out. Really a sad situation for the poor senior kitty, and of course, for your cats who can't enjoy their harnessed walks.
 

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I would talk to the neighbors and ask for their help in devising a plan that would enable you to walk to your cats. If you share your feelings about how much you like Butters, maybe that will help them be more amenable to working with you.

If it weren't for you older cat that doesn't like other cats, I would have also suggested that you confirm with the neighbors that Butters is up to date on his vaccinations and then you could have worked on a process to 'formally' introduce him to your cats. But, if you do talk to them maybe you can ask about his vaccination status anyway.
 
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corvidae

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Thanks for your support and empathy, all. Things escalated today in a way I wasn't expecting - I saw Butters in our yard today and went to refill the water I set out for him, and when I was petting him I noticed he had a big, weeping puncture wound on his neck. My partner and I went to knock on his owners' door, and she laughed and said "he probably got in a fight with another cat, he's a little street fighter" and then said she'd bring him inside and take him to the vet. I'm really hoping she actually does take him to the vet, as the wound looked quite bad, and from our previous observations of Butters I'm hesitant to believe vet care is high priority for his owners. I talked to a friend of mine who used to work for the local SPCA, and she suggested I call the animal protection line to file a complaint. I think that unfortunately even though complaints are anonymous, the neighbours would pretty quickly know it was me... Now I'm just trying to decide if/when to call in. I definitely will if I see him outside with his wound still untreated, but I'm unsure if I should call first thing in the morning anyways.
Poor Butters. I'm so sad and angry for him.
 

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corvidae corvidae
Poor Butters 🙁
Probably if it was me, I would take him to the vet today, if I saw him with the wound untreated.
If you go to the local/nearest vet, they may have him as a patient anyway and can tell you his vaccination record etc if any.
I wouldn't call him in as a stray. Or for being on your property as no damage I would not do that.
He is an old and wounded cat and if there is euthanasia at your local shelter he may be put down. Not sure how it is where you are.
 

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Oh, corvidae corvidae , that is so sad. Poor Butters. And poor you having to deal with his humans Hopefully they take him to the vet soon, before the wound gets worse.
 

fionasmom

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I knew that something like this was going to happen. I do agree with you taking him to the vet if you are inclined to do that; however, there could be ins and outs to doing that which those of us on TCS are not aware of. You need to use your own judgment on that. I also wondered if you call the animal protection line if Butters is the one to suffer for it. Do you know what they do in these cases?

If you want to take him to the vet, you might be surprised that his owners may not object. The question becomes whether or not they would pay you for it, or if it would be all on you. You might be better off if you tell them first, so that they cannot then run around the neighborhood saying that you took their cat.
 

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Hi. Any new news? You know, I am not opposed to 'fibbing' when it comes to the welfare of a cat, especially an older one. If you have seen Butters and it doesn't appear anything has been done to help him with that wound - if it were me - I'd make up a story, from your 'past', that fits the current scenario and share it with the neighbor. If you are willing, offer to pay for the care, as well as taking Butters to your vet. If you haven't seen Butters, you could still knock on the neighbor's door and ask how he is doing, and still share that same 'story'. Empathy and sympathy can go along way, even if it involves a bit of a tiny, white lie.
 

fionasmom

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I, also, have manipulated the truth in order to help animals in need and have no problem with that. I once knew that I had to get a 10 week old kitten away from a neighbor who was going to turn her loose outside to be a mouser in a coyote infested area. I told him that I could see that she was FeLV positive because of my vast cat experience and that she would be better of with me and would probably infect all his pet cats.
 
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corvidae

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Sorry for the late reply all! For some reason my email notifications weren't coming through and I hadn't refreshed the site itself in a moment.
First, an update: I didn't see Butters outside at all yesterday, but this morning (of course while I was walking Mindy :rolleyes:) he came running down from his house's front steps to greet me. I gave Mindy's leash to my roommate so she could take her away from Butters, and got Butters some fresh water. His wound appears to be cleaner and also be scabbing over, which is good. I'm not 100% sure if they took him in to the vet, but I'm happy he at least seems to be healing up and to have had some basic care (the fur around the wound was really gross the first time I saw it).
Thanks for all your thoughtful contributions, folks. I haven't called Animal Protection yet because of just what fionasmom fionasmom said - I worry that it would come back to make things worse not just for me but for Butters. My sense of the animal protection response around here is that they might not even think it worth looking into. Like I said, free-roaming outdoor cats are against city bylaws, but I have never seen those bylaws enforced. If Animal Protection did choose to look into it and they were fined, I'm not sure if they would reform their behaviour or just pay the fine and carry on. And if things escalated and Butters got taken away, I'm not sure how great his chances would be at adoption as a scruffy senior. It's such a frustrating situation.
 
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corvidae

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Some somewhat gross pictures of my little friend’s injury, on Sunday vs. this morning.
2E8389AF-0E70-491E-AA42-9201724D4E74.jpeg
476CDC24-31CA-42F7-9CAA-8E27C17972C5.jpeg

I suppose one good thing is even if I don’t act now, I do have proof of some of the things that have happened to the poor little guy.
 

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Oh my!! Since he lets you touch him like that, you could try a home remedy - Grocery store chamomile tea bags, as they are almost always German (you don't want English, nor any additives or flavorings), brew a bag in water, cool the liquid to room temp and dab it all over that area with cotton balls or a soft cloth, as many times a day as you see him. The tea is both a soothing and healing agent, and has anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties. It is also safe should he ingest any of it. If it would help 'disguise' you treating it, you could keep him hanging around for a while till it dries a bit.
 

fionasmom

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Poor baby! I am glad to hear that it might be healing. This is not medical advice, but the cats I deal with include ferals who will probably never have any chance at medical care because they will never again be trapped or caught. In a couple of cases I have trained them, as zoo keepers train zoo animals, to allow me to touch them with a Q tip which means that this can translate to putting flea meds on their neck or the occasional dab of triple antibiotic cream. My point being that if the wound is kept clean, Butters has a good chance of healing. Since you can touch him to that extent, it would be a good idea to use the teabags or any other safe remedy that he might allow. If you use a triple antibiotic cream, make sure not to use the one with pain killer.
 
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corvidae

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Thanks for your suggestions! It’s been rainy today, and I’ve seen Butters in his own house through the window which is good because I think the wound is less likely to get infected inside. I will check up on it again the next time I see him out and about and keep you all updated, and also clean it or try the teabag trick as necessary.
 

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If he will let you, trim the fur and blot the wound with a damp cool cloth. The cool cloth will also help with pain and inflammation.

This is how I treat my cats when they play too rough and bite each other. This has to be done on a regular basis though.
 
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corvidae

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My partner works outside of the house and ran into Butters on the way home on Wednesday, and was able to snap this picture with really good implications! His wound has been shaved, which means he’s been to the vet! It also means they were letting him out before it was treated but I’ll take the small victory where I can.
6EDA5CEB-097F-4A46-8AE9-16D08AD46636.jpeg
 
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corvidae

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IndyJones IndyJones I was thinking about that too. Our eldest, Mindy, just had a super intense dental with lots of extractions that should have been done years earlier (we’ve only had her for 5 months). I just gave her her painkillers and antibiotics by syringe for the first time and I’m hesitant to believe that Butters’ owners would be thrilled about such an involved medication situation. It looks like it’ll be sunnier today so I’ll see if I can catch Butters outside and see how he’s doing.
 
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