I had feral cats around my house since I can remember, but those cats had no owner, always afraid of people and constantly meowing for food. So we started feeding them just like we fed our own and they stuck around because we were a secure source of food. Now, I don’t see any issue with feeding feral cats, but if it is someone else’s cat then feeding them is not the best option. Unfortunately, not everyone understands it.
Your neighbors might have the best intentions, but if they are constantly feeding your cat it can become an issue for you and your cat. A treat from time to time is not a big deal but if they give plenty of food to your cat on a regular basis, it is something to worry about.
Potential issues of neighbors feeding your cat
If your cat is constantly being fed by your neighbors it can lead to:
- Cat getting fat from all the food she eats daily
- if your cat has allergies or health issues that require a special diet and your neighbors are not aware of that, it can lead to more health issues or your cat coming back home with an upset tummy
- Maybe your cat doesn’t have allergies but you tend to feed her with the best possible food while your neighbor is feeding it ‘junk food’ or the cheapest cat food on the market which also affects their health
- A sudden change of food your cat eats can lead to illness. That is why, if you want to transition your cat to new food, it has to be done slowly. But this can’t be done if your neighbor is also feeding your cat.
- If the cat is being fed with a more delicious food (but not necessarily healthier or better quality food) at the neighbor’s place, the cat will want to go there often to eat. Your cat might get used to getting more delicious food and spend less and less time at your place and more and more time at your neighbor’s. This can lead to your neighbor unconsciously or consciously, stealing your cat!
If this is what is happening to you, then maybe my tips will help you tackle that problem. Luckily, I never had this problem. My cats were always very adventurous and insisted on going out (I live in a rural area), but my neighbors are not very interested in cats and especially not interested in feeding them. Although, I do know people that had this issue so I wanted to help brainstorm ideas on how to solve it. I am sharing some of those ideas with you and hopefully, some of these will work for you!
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Possible solutions if your neighbor is feeding your cat
If your cat is allowed out and your neighbors started to feed her, here are a few options that come to my mind when dealing with that issue.
Talk to your neighbors
Chances are that your neighbor thinks your cat is a stray, that you are not feeding your cat enough or that you left your cat on its own if the cat is non stop meowing in front of their doors. Maybe they just don’t see any issue in feeding someone else’s cat.
Have that talk with the neighbors and if they are normal human beings, they will understand that your cat is getting enough food at home and that there is no reason for them to participate in feeding the cat. If your cat has health issues or is getting overweight, let them know so they can understand the gravity of the situation.
Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have understanding neighbors so if they don’t want to stop feeding your cat, here are some other possible solutions.
The vet bill
Now, this might seem a bit harsh but I think it is only fair if your neighbors keep feeding your cat, even after you asked them to stop, which results in your cat getting overweight, having health issues, or spending most of the time at your neighbor’s place.
The next time you go to the vet, don’t throw away the vet bill. Give it to your neighbors and let them know since they are directly affecting your cat’s health, they should participate in the veterinary costs. They will probably think twice before feeding your cat the next time.
‘Do not feed me’ cat collar or ID tag
If you want to try other methods before going to have that possibly awkward talk with your neighbors, you can get a cat collar or an ID tag that says “Don’t feed me” which should already be enough to show your neighbors that the cat doesn’t need more food and is well taken care of by its owners.
I was surprised that not many “Do not feed” cat collars and ID tags are being sold on Amazon, so I looked up Etsy too. I found a few good ones.
- Do not feed. Special diet. – ID tag from the photo above, with the info on the back (Etsy)
- Regular “Do not feed me” cat collar (Etsy)
- Please don’t feed me – ID tag with all the info on the back (Amazon)
The collar is also a good solution if you are not sure who exactly is feeding your cat but you see that she is getting more and more fat.
If your neighbors are still feeding your cat and treating it like it is their own even after you had “the talk”, you can try the following… Put the GPS tracker on your cat’s collar which will always show you where she is. If you see the cat is at your neighbor’s house again, you can go knock on their door and demand to have your cat back. If you do this often enough, your neighbors will probably get bored with it and just stop taking over your cat.
If you are not sure which of the neighbors is feeding your cat or you want to avoid the talk if it is not absolutely necessary, you can leave your neighbors / potential cat feeders, a note in their mailbox.
We know that you only mean well, but can you please stop feeding our cat because it is affecting her health. The cat is on a special diet / getting overweight / other reason which is not only bad for the cat but it also shows on our vet bills. Next time our cat visits you, please don’t give her any food as she has enough food in our house.
Thank you for understanding. Your neighbors.
I hope some of these ideas will help you solve this neighbor issue. In some situations, if your neighbors are really hard to deal with and they are firm in their decision to feed your cat, these ideas might not work.
Let me know in the comment if you have any other idea on how to solve this issue, so we can help all the owners whose neighbors are feeding their cat!
Did you ever have this problem with your neighbors?