Neighbor Feeding Your Cat? 5 Things You Can Do About It

by Monika
Neighbor feeding your cat? See what you can do about it

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

What to do 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

Do not feed me cat collar

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.

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.

GPS

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.

A letter

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.

Dear neighbors,

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?

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64 comments

Mary J Wolf September 26, 2018 - 4:12 am

Thank you for this post. Unfortunately my neighbor stole my cat. She puts kibble and canned cat food out every morning and all of the cats come to feast. These are not feral cats but neighborhood cats. My cat stopped coming home over a year ago. The worst part is that she lives on a busy street. Last week one of the cats was hit and killed by a car. Several neighbors have tried to get her to stop but she has mental health issues. I am very sad that my Leo no longer comes back to his safe home where he would receive nutrition, water and care. I can’t even find him any more. Animal services has been contacted but they do not offer any help. My cat had a collar but 2 times he lost it. I tried rehoming him but he after a few weeks he went back to her place. My street is a quiet court and my other two cats never stray. Leo is chipped and neutered so I pray that he is safe.

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Monika September 26, 2018 - 8:16 am

That’s terrible! I’d be devastated too. Can’t believe how some people can be so inconsiderate and just take someone else’s pet. Maybe it would be best to keep Leo inside only, if you manage to find him. Unless he really wants to go out… Some cats just can’t stand being inside all the time. I hope you’ll find your Leo, good luck!

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Carol January 21, 2021 - 11:07 am

My neighbour constantly for about 4 years has encouraged my cat to go in her house every morning and then let’s him out at about 4pm. I’ve told her politely to stop this and rowed with her over it. I’ve told her I don’t pay his vets bills insurance and keep for her to benefit from. I’ve used ‘do not feed me collars’ but they disappear. They even go out and leave him in the house on his own. At one time he had a vets appointment and I had to cancel it because they had done this. Would I be within my rights to take out an injunction against her and how do I go about it?

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Cindy October 10, 2018 - 8:45 pm

My neighbor’s mother comes to her house and puts food out. She told me there were feral cats around so she was putting food out. I tried to assure her there were none in our neighborhood, the cats roaming belong to myself and neighbors, I’ve asked and I’ve told her to STOP putting out cat food, she continues to do so disregarding our request, I’d go get it up if she wouldn’t press trespassing charges on me. I know she is my cat goes over there all the time my neighbor was told by her vet her cat was overweight and she only feeds it a limited amount

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Monika October 12, 2018 - 10:58 am

Yeah, some people can be really stubborn. I’m sorry to hear you’re having a hard time with your neighbor’s mom. Maybe you can talk to your neighbor – (s)he might be able to convince her mother not to feed the cats?

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Gena from SC USA October 26, 2020 - 4:21 pm

It would be helpful if you have an outdoor cat to put a collar on it. I fell in love with a stray bobtail. She was very thin, had no collar and was skittish around me, so I thought Stranger was feral. Slowly she warmed up to me and loved getting loving. She hung around all the time and I began to feed her. So after 2 weeks I decided to get her spayed, chipped, ear clipped (apparently a common animal control practice to indicate a stray/outdoor cat has been fixed) and her vaccinated. When I went to pick Stranger from the clinic they told me she was already fixed! After looking Into a neighborhood website I discovered that she was cared for by a house nearby. I contacted Stranger’s family and apologized for getting her chipped and her ear clipped. They have 2 dogs and I didn’t realize they had cats. They were very forgiving and said I could keep on feeding her, but I said I’d stop feeding her. Now I feel bad b/c she still hangs around and wants food, but I limit it to just loving. If the cat had a collar I would not have fed her.

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Dorothy Lee October 17, 2018 - 12:03 am

I have told my neighbours 5 times not to feed my cat as he is overweight and vet says to feed him less. I was quite upset on the 4th occasion and went to their door. Last Friday caught the cat eating ham in their garden after hearing their door open and shut. Went in their garden and picked the ham up then roared to them. They couldnt hear because of wind. Threw a piece of rock at their wall. Saw a silhouette spring up through curtains. They came out and denied feeding cat but when I held the meat up they accused me of trespassing. Next time it will be uglier. I have had to buy Royal Canin Satiatory Food which is very expensive to try and fill the cat so he doesnt eat their rubbish. Also keeping him in after 6 when the man throws him the meat. Also worrying about my other small female cat as I think she has a nibble. These people wouldnt put their hand in their pocket to pay a vet bill. They are axxx hxxxx who are making my cat ill. They have to be treated as such. I have talked to the police and council (not their remit) The vet says RSPCA wont do anything so its up to me .

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Monika October 19, 2018 - 11:42 am

So rude of your neighbors to still feed the kitty when you explicitly said no! Some people just don’t want to listen. It would be great if a policeman or any person of “higher power” could talk to them, maybe that would get them thinking about what they’re doing. But I know that it’s hard to get them to come over for a situation such as this one. I hope you manage to resolve this with your neighbors!

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Ranit November 1, 2018 - 1:59 pm

My Neighbour is lovely and i think she means well. She has been feeding my cat since we went on holiday in August and the person taking care of our animals stopped putting food out for domino because he wasn’t coming home. She has since been asked at least 5 -6 times to stop and she persists. She has even been buying the cheap food from Amazon, the big Felix 90 pouch boxes and they keep trying to deliver it to my house by mistake and it has her name and address on it. She has N O other animals. She claims He’s never let inside, but I saw him go in just last night. She denied it today and said she hasn’t seen him in over a week. I am trying to get him to come home today.. He’s not been home since Monday night. I was wondering if you think it would work to keep him in with a litter box for a couple fo weeks and let him out a back door instead of the usual door? I also though about taking him to the vet and asking if they would write me a letter that he needs to be on a special diet and that the food she’s feeding him is hurting him. I don’t know fi they would do that or not, but thought its worth a try?? Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

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Monika November 3, 2018 - 3:49 pm

Hi. It might be a good idea to keep him inside more and only let him out a back door for a while. Also, if I were you I would try with the letter from the vet. If they don’t have time to write it, maybe you can do it instead and they can just sign it and put the name of their clinic. If someone with more perceived authority such as the vet, or an animal rescue group if there is one near you, signs the letter, she might finally understand the consequences of her actions. If she wants to feed the cat so badly, she should simply get her own cat.

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Lilly D Craigen December 12, 2020 - 6:02 am

My neighbor’s cat has ribs that stick out and is abnormally thin. When he cones to my porch and meows I believe he is hungry so I feed him- then he is happy! When it rains he has no where to go- so I put a box on my porch for him. If my neighbor took care of him I wouldn’t have to. I feel sorry for him…

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Amy February 7, 2021 - 12:30 am

The same thing is happening to me. My neighbour cat comes to my front door of the house and meows very loudly quite often and so I feed her. On rainy days I saw her socked and wet sleeping near my front door. I just have to let her inside my house. The cat then happy staying at my place. I attempt to push her out hoping she is going back to the owner but she didn’t. Then the owner accused me of stealing their cat. If they take care of their own cat properly, this things would never happen.

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Monika December 13, 2020 - 12:13 am

Oh, poor little guy. Well, if your neighbour is not taking good care of their cat, what else can you do…

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Rosemary November 14, 2018 - 9:59 pm

My neighbour has been feeding my one cat for some time. It has now come to my attention that they are letting him indoors, too. He no longer comes home. This morning, the neighbour called, to advise me that they had both of my cats indoors. “Could we please come and pick up our one cat, since she doesn’t get along with her cats. Currently, they had her closed in their bathroom.” I have advised them that she is fine to be outside. The neighbour is concerned that she is so light and it is getting colder outside. Because, she brought our cat into her house, our cat couldn’t come to our door to be let inside. I really want them to stop bringing my cats into their home. It is bad enough that my one cat won’t come home anymore, but it won’t take long before they do that to my other cat. I have 2 special needs teens that aren’t happy about this.

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Monika November 20, 2018 - 3:44 pm

Sorry to hear you’re having problems with your neighbors 🙁 Can you try and talk it out with them a bit more? Maybe you can convince them that the cats are fine and you’re feeding them and taking good care of them already. They don’t need a double amount of food, they’ll just get fat and unhealthy.

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Mags November 30, 2018 - 9:33 am

I have a neighbour who leaves cheap cat food all day and all night out – she has a cat who is spoiled rotten and she feeds her topside mince and thin pieces of beefsteak.I have asked her years ago to take the food away It caused a huge problem with stray cats and all the cats knows she has food out.More importantly my male cat gets food from the vet which cost a fortune in South Africa- now he eats the JUNK that is standing in the kitchen with ants coming and she also puts poison for the ants.She is nice but MISS KNOW IT ALL.My kitty is overweight She just thinks it’s good that he goes and steals food. Luckily my female kitty doesnt go as neighbor has female cat….Makes me angry I want my kitties with me for many years to come ! What to do??? Thanks Mags

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Monika December 11, 2018 - 3:38 pm

It’s a tough situation. She probably just wants to help stray and feral cats, which is very nice of her, but she’s also creating issues for cat owners in the neighborhood… I hope you can come to an agreement with your neighbor somehow.

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Fifi July 6, 2019 - 6:59 am

Hi, i know that I might be criticized for posting this. I am a cat person and I had a neighbor’s cat that’s very friendly to me and always wanted me to give him attention. About a couple months ago, I was just trying to be nice to the cat, by feeding it food. It wasn’t on her property either. At the time, I didn’t know it is rude to feed other people’s cats. I have autism. So anyway, it was about a few times, not very often, that i started to feed the cat and the neighbor ran out of her house and lashed out at me. Saying, Don’t ever feed my cat food again or i will call the police. That left me worried about what I did wrong, I hate myself already, and I was very depressed about it for about a few days. I never did it again. I just thought it would be a nice gesture, but I now realized the reasons.

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Monika July 6, 2019 - 2:11 pm

Don’t worry about it. We all know how hard it is to resist those cute eyes when they want food! Your neighbor was extremely rude to lash out on you like that when you had the best intentions in mind. Your neighbor should have explained to you in a calm manner why s/he doesn’t want you to feed their cat and everything would be solved without the drama. So, don’t feel bad about it!

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Crystal October 19, 2019 - 10:41 pm

hi fifi,
Being a cat owner with this exact problem of the cat being feed so much by the neighbor he rarely comes homes I have seen both sides …. There used to be a nice old guy across the road that lived alone …. He would sit outside with my cat and chat to him and pet him occasionally give him a treat … All was ok 😀

But then we had another neighbor recently who is to lazy to look after her cat properly seems to drop a liter of kittens every few months … She started leaving huge piles of dry food out everyday, my neighborhood does not even have fences to keep a pet / cat in the backyard. My cat has kidney problems on a wet food diet … speaking to this person numerous times … This problem is ongoing

All being said I’d find it fine to give my cat cuddles (outside) possibly the occasional treat but feeding him massive amounts of food that makes his health bad or taking him into your house is a definite NO NO

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aja January 21, 2019 - 6:14 am

I am on the otherside of this situation. I have dogs, and never really knew much about cats. Then, new neighbors show up and lets their cats out all the time. The cat lays in my garden, annoys my dogs, kills the cardinals that nest in my tree, and now keeps trying to come in my house. She just sits outside my door and cries. Now its winter and I am more than a bit annoyed. It got down to 9° F tonight, the cat was freezing at my door. What kind of monster would I be if I didn’t try to help her?! I have left her food and a box with blankets outside. Eventually, I just walked over to the neighbors and said I think your cats are cold and they ran inside as soon as the neighbors opened the door. My point is, see this from your neighbors perspective too. 1) I don’t understand cats and how the indoor/outdoor life works…I am a firm believer in domestic animals being inside only, for a variety of reasons- but mainly the animal’s safety. If that cat is in my back yard when I let my dogs out, it may get killed and that would be terrible! 2) your cat is on my property against my wishes. I would rather not have to mess with the neighbor’s cats, but feel a lot of guilt when they come around & I definitely don’t want to find a frozen dead cat on my front porch! 3) I am an animal lover and don’t want to let anything suffer- from cold or lack of food. How do I know the cat is getting enough food? If someone lets their animal out is this type of weather, who is to say she gets enough food? My point is, this is very complicated all around. But I feel certain that if I let my dogs run around the neighborhood, animal control would get called…rightfully so. If cats are wandering around, people are going to get involved. That’s just a matter of fact. If owners don’t like that, then the solution is to keep cats indoors or do a modified dog run for your cats, so they can go outside safely.

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Monika January 21, 2019 - 8:46 am

Hi, thanks for your comment. I would guess that you live in the USA or Australia where it’s common to keep cats indoors only. Here in Europe, people living in the countryside mostly let their cats go out during the day. It is because there is no big city traffic here, plus we don’t have coyotes, eagles and other big animals that kill pets so it’s a lot safer than in some other parts of the world.

In your case, I don’t know why the neighbor leaves his cat outside on this temperature. We have warm winters where I live but I would never let my cat suffer outside when it’s cold. Maybe, for some reason, your neighbor doesn’t want his cat to go inside so the cat comes to your door, thinking you’ll let her in since you’ve been good to her. Maybe you can try talking to your neighbor, and ask them to keep the cat inside as it is cold outside and she is on your property against your wishes. Hopefully, they’ll understand. Although, they don’t sound like the best cat caretakers, leaving the cat outside in that temperature 🙁

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Henrycat's owner November 26, 2020 - 3:52 pm

Sometimes you have cats like ours who go out at night, even if our cat flap is locked with the cats inside. They have been known to escape from the smallest opening in the bathroom window – so are choosing to be outside. Who knows? Cats have minds of their own.

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Lucy January 31, 2019 - 10:50 am

Thank you for this article. I am in a cat pickle as we speak. Neighbours started feeding my cat about a year ago and he stopped coming home. For a couple of months I had no idea where he was. They’re two doors down and my cat has a collar with his name and my number on it, but they said nothing. I reported him missing on a local FB forum, and a lady told me he was on their steps, so I went to pick him up straight away. I also remembered that some people from that address had asked me if he was my cat, so they knew where I lived. I locked him in the flat, but he was not happy. He is an outdoor cat. I kept him in for months, but he went straight back to them. I went to pick him up a couple of times, and they were very defensive, saying “he just comes in. There’s nothing we can do.”. I eventually told them to stop feeding and stop letting him in. The next day they were at my door telling me to pick him up cause he was outside their house. And I needed to lock him in, cause she didn’t want to close the kitchen window, which he used as a cat flap, apparently. But I refuse to punish him for something they’ve done. And I told them that. Their house stinks of fags, and his fur stinks when he comes home. I really thought they’d stop letting him in, but I can smell their stink on him when he comes home, and he’s home less and less now. It’s the most frustrating and upsetting situation, as I’m not a confrontational person and I just miss my boy. And they’re playing the victim, as if I’ve done something wrong and am inconveniencing them terribly by wanting my cat back. It’s so frustrating that there’s no way of forcing them to stop feeding him. He has a sensitive stomach since he was a kitten and is on a special diet, and I’ve told them that. But they still feed him Whiskas, which they buy especially for him, and is upsetting his stomach. Sorry for the rant, I guess I just needed to vent. And I guess I can just hope they come to their senses (unlikely) and that my boy comes back to me.

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Monika January 31, 2019 - 4:02 pm

The situation sounds really awful 🙁 I would feel devastated too if it happened to me. Your neighbors are obviously quite stubborn when they keep feeding your cat despite your request.

I hope things will get better. I’m sorry that I don’t have any advice other than what I wrote in the post and what you already tried. I wish you good luck!

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Louise February 12, 2019 - 3:23 pm

I’m also having issues with my neighbour. She has been leaving food out for my cats for months and now one of my cats refuses to come home and runs away when she sees me. I’ve spoken to this woman and she even said at the start that she thought my cat was pregnant, but I explained that she has been done so its not possible, she is just getting fat from over feeding! I’ve also seen my cat go into her house so have knocked on the door to get her back and my neighbour claims that “she’s just so fast and runs in” this has happened a few more times now. I don’t know what to do as my cat is now overdue for her flea and worming treatment but as she runs away from me I can’t giveit to her.

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Monika February 13, 2019 - 3:00 pm

It seems neighbors taking other people’s cats is a common thing in this world, looking at how many people have this problem in this comment section alone 🙁 Maybe you could try keeping your cat inside for a few weeks, at least until she forgets about the neighbor and gets used to being home again (if you manage to catch her). Did you try offering food or treats while approaching her? I guess your cat likes to have lots of freedom, and your neighbor is not helping with the situation. If your neighbor would stop giving food, the kitty would probably come back home…

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Emma February 16, 2019 - 3:37 pm

We had this issue with a previous neighbour. Our cat is chunky anyway but they insisted on feeding him multiple times a day, even after I asked them not to. It drove me insane. The vet then gave me a bit of a talking to for overfeeding him because he was becoming obese, I tried to tell him it was the neighbours but he blatantly didn’t believe me. Anyway we’ve since moved and our cat lost at least 1kg within about 6 weeks of moving. To feed a cat that you know belongs to someone else and is so clearly well fed and looked after is just plain rude. I get some people have good intentions but to persist against the owners wishes and with no real care about the cat is just rude. Anyway he’s starting gaining weight again so we’re wondering whether someone is feedback by him again. He’ll become anyone’s best friend for a treat,he’s such a cheeky little sod haha! x

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Monika February 17, 2019 - 10:41 am

Yeah, it’s so rude!! But some people just don’t want to listen, at the expense of a cat’s health and well-being.

If he’s gaining weight, it seems probable that someone else started feeding him. Keep an eye on who it could be, and hopefully your new neighbors will be more understanding than your previous ones.

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Peony February 22, 2019 - 7:57 pm

We have a neighbor’s cat who has been coming by for 4 months. He has a collar but no tag & has been fixed. Strange this is, he is a Bengal cat. I have never heard of them being “outside” cats? Initially we did not feed, only played with him. Then, we noticed how thin he was and could feel the prominent rib bones. We started giving him 1/4 C. dry with a tsp. of wet food. We started experiencing cold nights so we had left a cardboard box with a towel on the porch and would find him every night. We are now experiencing freezing nights and allow him in the garage at night and let him out at 5 am. We recently figured out who the owner is from another neighbor. As a courtesy we asked the owner/neighbor about the cat. There are 2 bowls of food left on the front stoop, no shelter seen. He is adamant they are outside cats (there is another we see roaming the neighborhood). States he has asked all neighbors to not feed his cats (we are not even on the same street). Derisively states he is a veteran and fought for his country intimating we are “immigrants” and in a threatening tone says what we are doing is illegal and he will call the police and knows the force intimately and to get off his property in 10 seconds. What a great first impression. We are chagrined and heartbroken that these cats do not seem to be getting the love and attention they need and are seeking it out from other residences. I understand he belongs to someone else, but honestly I am torn and feel like they are being neglected. I even want to take him to a vet to make sure everything is up to date as we just adopted puppies and the Bengal even gets along with them.

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Monika February 23, 2019 - 5:20 pm

This sounds like neglect to me 🙁 If the cat is always outside, even during the freezing weather, and is very thin… the cat is obviously not being cared for very well. Thank you for providing a shelter for him during the cold nights. I wish we could have child services for cats so that we can take the cats from bad homes and put them into loving homes they deserve.

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Aaron March 5, 2019 - 7:16 am

Jesus Christ people, get a clue!! Want to know a way people will stop feeding your cat? DONT 👏🏼 LET 👏🏼 IT 👏🏼 OUTSIDE 👏🏼. Duh!!!
Outdoor cats live half as long as indoor cats, so if you cared about your cat that much, you wouldn’t let it out in the first place. Don’t tell me some cats “like it”- my 6 year old likes Big Macs but that doesn’t mean I let him eat them every day, because I care care about what’s BEST for him.

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Monika March 5, 2019 - 8:28 am

Most of the people in Europe (including me) let their cats go out during the day because we don’t have coyotes, owls, and other dangerous predators here and some of us don’t live where there’s a lot of traffic. So please, don’t judge because you don’t know everyone’s situation. My cat loves spending a few hours a day outside and goes bonkers if she’s inside for a few days. She is also a happy and healthy 12-year-old. Our previous outdoor/indoor cat also lived until her old age and died of natural causes.

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Michael Minosky September 4, 2019 - 7:36 am

You’re a plain fool.

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Robyn January 21, 2021 - 8:46 pm

It’s cruel to keep cats indoors only unless there is a specific health reason to. My cats were kept in when they were too small to go out but were desperate to go out eventually. I felt it was cruel to keep them in, even though it would have been easier for me. They have magnetic chips that work with the cat flap and can go in and out when they please. They are fixed and microchipped but when I tried to put collars on them they got very stressed so I had to take them off. My neighbour knows they are my cats and even asked their names. I caught her out feeding them and it seems its been going on for some time. I was getting worried as they weren’t eating normally, I changed their food, tried other feeding methods and was about to take then to the vet when I found out she’s been feeding them behind my back. I’ve asked her to stop and I hope she takes me seriously. I was quite annoyed, they are so cared for and I’m afraid as she is giving them ‘nice human food’ instead of cat food they will stay with her.

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Vien April 21, 2019 - 6:20 am

*raising my hand* I am that neighbor that fed your cat. I feel awful about it because I didn’t know that it could lead to problems. My neighbors cat use to be very wary of us for years. We began feeding a stray that was abandoned in the neighborhood. The neighbor’s cat caught wind of it and that’s when she began to trust us. We found out that the cat began hanging outdoors more when the owners added a dog to their family. We didn’t make a habit if feeding their cat initially, though we did allow her to go into the house every so often at her own curiosity. I would see the cat at our door on occasion at 6 am or midnight with cold advisories in place. The neighbor confirmed that she had to lock her pet doors at night due to raccoons coming into her house so the cat would be stuck outside if she missed her curfew. So we had bleeding hearts and fed her in the later hours and let her inside as well thinking she was hungry and cold, though she never slept overnight. This happened intermittently for 3 weeks. I realize now how wrong we were to do these things since the cat has started to meow loudly at our door every evening into the night despite warmer weather. I wonder if she is feeling lonely (from self-exile due to the dog being added to her household) since she is incredibly sweet and likes to sit/lay with us when we used to let her inside. We have since stopped doing everything, and have minimized going outside in case she hears/sees us and comes running up. But it really breaks our hearts to see her meowing and pawing at our door, or curled up around our property well after her curfew as if she was being abandoned. Any other advice to help us and the cat wean off of each other? Thank you.

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Monika April 21, 2019 - 7:42 pm

I can understand your situation because it does sound a bit like the owners might not be caring for the cat as well as she deserves. It’s unusual that they leave her out during the cold advisories and they don’t mind if she doesn’t come home for the night. It’s tough when we bond with a pet who is not ours… When I think about your situation, I think what I would do is talk to the neighbors and see what they think about the situation. They might not have a problem with you letting their cat in your house. Although, when it comes to feeding, it’s best that only the owners feed her so she would know that is where her home is at the end of the day, and so she wouldn’t be overfed. If the neighbors want their cat to spend time in their house only, you’ll have to stick with not letting her inside and not feeding her anymore. Then, she will stop coming to your home eventually. I hope you and your neighbor can come to an agreement that will be best for the cat.

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Danny April 26, 2019 - 3:41 pm

Hello. We are fostering a now three year old Bombay cat who is very vocal and very needy. We’ve had various troubles with our upstairs neighbour who keeps inviting him upstairs, and sometimes locks him in by closing the door shut behind her. As she lives in an upstairs flat, there is no way for him to get up there other than by her letting him in. This has been going on for a year, and whenever we question her as to why she keeps doing it she doesn’t have an answer. She has now stopped talking to me, and will send her son down to talk to us/get packages that are left. The previous neighbours didn’t let him upstairs and we never had any issues. We can go hours without seeing our boy and it is quite distressing. His breed and personality suggest that he cannot be left inside or alone for long periods, so we have purchased a cat flap that we can control from our phones to regulate how much time he spends outside. We are fostering because my girlfriend’s sister (his previous ‘owner’) had to move into accommodation that didn’t allow pets. We have done everything we feel that we can, and essentially I feel totally lost by this situation. As for some of the posts above, I find it absolutely berserk that human beings can just claim to ‘keep the cat inside’ and have a total disregard for their well-being. He is a cat that loves to explore, and if our upstairs neighbour just did as we asked this situation wouldn’t exist. Their landlord has stated that they are not allowed pets and previously owned a cat, and it’s nuts that they think that they can just claim him. We’ve had letters asking us to ‘look after him’ because he got a scratch on his face, when he had already been taken to the vet two days prior. From reading the previous posts, I’m not really sure if there’s anything we can do other than get our landlord to speak to their landlord again. I’m interested in the law behind her locking him in when their door is closed, as for that period of time they’ve technically ‘stolen’ him as he can’t leave with his own free will. Anyway, I’m at a bit of a loose end with it all and thought just sharing my experience might help people realise that they’re not alone and there are people out there who feel the same way. Cheers.

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Monika April 26, 2019 - 4:24 pm

Hi, I’m not sure where you’re located and every country or state has its own laws but not long ago, I read a comment on Facebook saying that some countries (I think the USA also if you happen to live there) consider pets as property so if your pet has been taken away from you or is confined somewhere against your will, you can call the police. This approach might be a bit radical but if nothing else is working, it’s also a possibility. That could be your last resort if absolutely nothing else works. Although, I think the pet should be microchipped to be considered yours. I hope you manage to solve this situation soon!

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Iwen June 8, 2019 - 1:17 am

I found out my nextdoor neighbor has been feeding my cats. They’re both outdoor/ indoor because I live in s small studio apt and the weather here is always mild. I’ve asked my neighbor multiple times to please not feed them, because they’re getting chunky and I’m worried about their health, and also they eat a certain brand of cat food. He’s still feeding them and right in front of me, no less. Today I just picked up one of the cats and straight out said that he’s on a special diet. Neighbor just said, “Its ok”. What?!! No it is NOT ok. He just does not get it! I don’t know what else to do.

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Monika June 8, 2019 - 5:19 pm

So rude to disregard your request like that :/ Maybe you can try to explain to them that feeding your cat can lead to serious health issues for your kitty. If your neighbor is a relatively normal human being, they should then understand that what they are doing is not OK… Hopefully.

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emily October 6, 2019 - 7:34 am

here is an idea.. dont let your cat outside. itll kill every animal for fun. would u let a dog just roam all around all day .. knowing it’ll kill any bird?

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Carika van Zyl October 31, 2019 - 6:58 pm

My heart is breaking, I have 2 beautiful tuxedo cats who are brothers and were rescued. We have a magical life and go walking with the dogs. I moved to a different house and my neighbor who hates cats, start to fall in love with them and feeding them. I had to go away and the pet sitter did not even have a chance to look after them as they just took the cats the moment I left and I had no reception or idea what was going on. When I finally got the message I was like no, the cats must eat and stay at home. Things were OK when I came back, then I had to go away again and they offered to look after them long story short, they come to visit me now. I have had many talks with them about the cats, they agree and then they just lure them back. My one cat does not even eat here anymore. Worst is that they took the feral cats as well which I was caring for, and who I got sterilized, when there is already a feral cat problem. I am so angry and upset.

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Monika November 3, 2019 - 2:42 pm

I can understand, I would be upset too! The worst thing is that sometimes you just can’t do anything about it, if the neighbors don’t want to cooperate 🙁 I hope things will get better.

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Nina April 2, 2020 - 12:49 am

hi I live in Australia. i am moving house on Saturday 4th of April. i have been giving food to a stray cat for about 2yrs now and we have become friendly. i can pick him up and hold him he nudghs me with his head i pat him stroke him
.will he take to someone else giving him food like my neighbour as she puts all here leftovers out for the other strays that come.
i will give her the food i give to my 2 other cats 6yrs and 15yrs. i will also give the neighbour the box he sleeps in.
will he go to the neighbour if she calls his name which he answers to me. can you advise me as soon as possible

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Monika April 2, 2020 - 11:57 am

Hi, it would be best if you can get one of your neighbours in charge of feeding the cat from now on. Or if you could take the stray cat with you when you move. If your neighbour continues to feed the cat, then there’s a big change the cat will start hanging out around their place and stay there.

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Paula Nowlan April 23, 2020 - 9:53 am

I have a neighbour that rents privately and because they are not allowed pets they started putting food out for the neighbourhood cats, now my oldest cat has moved in over there, we have proof of them opening there front door and letting him in. He is microchipped and neutered. Is there anything we can do?

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Monika April 24, 2020 - 11:26 am

You can try talking to them. Hopefully, they will understand your situation.

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Reggie August 28, 2020 - 2:57 am

Good day, I recently ran in this problem because some new neighbors are trying to steal my special needs cat. He is sick so is on medicine and we have almost lost him twice. Anyway I recently noticed he was not coming home so learned these new neighbors were allowing him their house and locking him inside too. I want over and showed them my medical bills and told them to not allow him inside their home or feed him because He has special needs that I know they won’t pay for and when he gets sick he musts be taken in immediately or he will die. I finally got fed up and called the police and asked for help. We will see how this works out.

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Monika September 17, 2020 - 6:12 pm

I hope the police will help. Good luck!

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Miles York September 17, 2020 - 2:21 pm

I’m 70 and live on a farm in Maine. Ten years ago a stray arrived, moved in and life was grand. Took her to the vets to get shots and Chipped, discovered she was a two-year-old Norwegian Forest Cat, weighed in at 17 pounds and the most intelligent cat I’ve ever met, but of course we all say the same about Ours. She began spending the days at the neighbors after seven years of being with me. Concerned, I asked the man my age who said he was sick with terminal cancer and “she takes all my pain away.” I said I could share in that case.
Two years later he passed and the cat began to disappear for days at a time. I installed a camera and discovered his widowed wife was leaving treats at her front door and keeping this out-door cat locked inside. I confronted her saying I missed my cat and she could visit the cat, but please, out on the lawn. Nothing changed. I asked her politely to get her own cat, and no change, then demanded she cease and nothing. I called the police and was told a Maine law states ” if you want to keep your cat, Lock it up.” There is no law against stealing your neighbor’s cat, but if your cat is Chipped, as mine is, and the cat scratches this lady’s grandchild’s eye out, you are still responsible for damages as well as wellness Vet visits including shots.
This cat is outside in the yard…400 acres, but always stays close by and chases fox out of the yard, stands her ground with dogs and other cats don’t come near. Every four days +/- I buy a baked 1/2 turkey breast and supplement with wet food and she’ll eat two big morning meals, a big lunch, and two big evening meals before she heads out for the night. But she maintains her weight evenly. At $15 a week she is still a bargain with her lovely personality and very frequent chatter. Leaves the songbirds alone after I expressed sadness on the first two she killed here. I praise her on mice and she eats them whole on the spot. I recently told the woman she could have the cat, but to place her name on the Chip and take over Vet bills. Her reply; “I’m not spending any money on that cat.” A Narcissist…of course.

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Monika September 17, 2020 - 6:11 pm

Yeah, it’s sad that some people can “steal” someone else’s cat but when they need to pay the vet bills or anything else, it’s all of the sudden a big inconvenience for them. I hope you manage to get your cat back for good.

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Michael Hawkins October 26, 2020 - 12:27 pm

Hi, I moved into a town property 2 years ago with my cat, a quiet culture de sac, and the lady opposite has 3 cats.
One of her cats kept on hanging around my garden and front door about a year ago and I sensed that it was hungry but knew that I shouldn’t really feed it.It looked really scrawny so one night last winter she was meowing at me on my doorstep I picked her up and could feel her ribs, she was as light as a feather, neglected.
I fed her a pouch of felix catfood and she bolted it down in about 10 seconds, I had never seen a cat eat so fast so I gave her another one.
Since then all 3 of her cats love to hang out in my garden and I feed them a bit, all quality cat food but never let them in the house.The owner works long hours I think and I see it as a nice bonus for the cats when their owner is away.
All of her cats and especially the really underweight one are now fine looking and happy, a total difference.
The neighbour put a note through my letterbox this morning asking me to stop feeding her cats as they have all been poorly and been to the vets and need special food, I think she is lying.
I know that the cats will be meowing at me now everytime that I go outside but I will stop feeding them and see how it goes.
What do I do if the lovely little one that i first fed or all three of them goes back to being skinny and undernourished. Am I supposed to watch them slowly waste away whilst ignoring them every day? How heartbreaking is that.

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Monika October 27, 2020 - 6:26 pm

It’s a tough decision for sure, especially if the cats are undernourished so the question is if their owner is even adequately caring for them. I hope you’ll manage to solve this problem with your neighbour.

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Miles November 13, 2020 - 1:33 am

I’ve had a Norwegian Forest Cat for 12 years. The neighbors like her A Lot and decided to leave treats for her at the door. She began to disappear for longer duration and eventually I installed security cams and saw the people leave the treats, then open the door for the cat. I spoke kindly, asked politely then got demanding and was visited by two policemen to learn it was not illegal in Maine for a neighbor to take over a cat that visited regularly. Also, if my “chipped” cat is in her house and claws a child’s eye or does other harm I am responsible for those damages so I need to Lock-up my cat and maintain her vet care and shots. I called the lady and said just take the cat, change the chip and she is all yours. The lady said “I’m not spending any money on that cat!” Now the cat returns from a day or two visit and goes to the sink spigot for water (she won’t drink from a bowl) way too often because of all the salty treats they feed. It’s not fun anymore. Additionally, they trim her coat and cut her bibb back way too short detracting from her natural look. It’s awful to live like this.

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Monika December 2, 2020 - 5:49 pm

Sorry to hear that 🙁 Unfortunately, in some cases nothing helps to keep the neighbours away from the cat, other than keeping the cat indoors or fencing the yard where possible.

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Monica January 12, 2021 - 11:15 pm

This has been an ongoing issue with our neighbor, she has stopped feeding one of our cats who has digestive issues, but is still feeding our 3 year old cat Niki. I have asked her numerous times to please stop feeding her. She is well fed and cared for. Niki is currently overweight which we can’t explain being we feed her the recommended amount of food…..Hmmmm…..possibly the cat feeding neighbor could be responsible??? Last week Niki came down with an illness, lethargic, not eating, had a fever, vomitting & diarrhea. Fortunately Niki recovered…but have a $1800 Vet bill! Today my husband steps outside and happen to witness our neighbor open her door, and out walks Niki, stopping to wash her paws licking her chops. So here we go again…….”The Talk” with the cat feeding neighbor…for the 100th time. Ugh!!! Thank you for your article the tips are very helpful on how to deal with the neighbor.

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Monika April 10, 2021 - 2:54 pm

Sounds like your neighbors are quite difficult to deal with 😔 I hope you’ll manage to sort it out with them.

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Savannah January 15, 2021 - 11:36 am

I am in the opposite side of this situation. I have a cat, well cared for, fully vaccinated, neutered, pet passport, microchipped, and spoilt rotten with the expensive food I give her. Yes she is a complete princess and would never adopt new owners.
The neighbours moved in and adopted 4 kittens which they keep as outside cats. These cats are fed, but apart from that they are pretty uncared for. They are using the cats to breed kittens to sell because where I live even non-designer kittens go for a lot of money. These cats liked to hang out in my garden and house, I didn’t mind because it’s good for my cat to have friends. Also they sometimes eat the food she leaves. I also don’t mind, money doesn’t concern me. If they don’t want the cat to eat my cat’s food that is their problem. Unfortunately all of their cats have lots of fleas so I have been treating my house regularly. I tried to speak to them about treating their cats for fleas but to no avail, they were aggressive and defensive.
One of their cats was hit by a car in front of my house and I called the animal ambulance for it. Without that it would have died. They accused me of hitting their cat (I can’t drive and do not own a car so it was a ludicrous accusation). They tried to get me to pay their vet bills. Next their other male cat peed pure blood in my cat’s litter box so I left them a note explaining that. Their cat had surgery but still died. They accused me of poisoning their cat. Last week their female cat gave birth to a litter of kittens in my bedroom. I left them a note to say that had happened and that I would give them the kittens once the mother was less defensive of them. I grew up on farms and was told not to disturb mothers and babies for the first few days. The neighbours became very aggressive again and insisted on picking up their cats immediately. Of course I let them enter my property to reclaim their cat, but they only knew where she was because I told them, they were not looking for her, and they were only concerned about it for the money.
I am tired of dealing with them, their cats are lovely, but they are not. I will not be stealing their cats, but henceforth if they let their cats enter my property that is their problem. I do not claim any ownership of their cat but they do not have permission to enter my property to retrieve their cat. They can ask the police to come and retrieve them if they like, and the police are more than welcome to. But frankly from now on their control of their cats is not my problem. I have informed them of this and they insisted that it is my responsibility to keep their cats out of my house. I see it from the other side that it is their responsibility to control the location of their cats. If they do not want them in my house that is their problem. Am I justified in taking this approach?

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Monika April 10, 2021 - 2:51 pm

Those people sound awful. They should not have any cats in the first place if they are breeding them for money and not caring for them properly.

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Amy February 8, 2021 - 2:06 am

It is happening the same to me. My neighbour’s cat comes by near my front door of the house and meows very loudly quite often and so I feed her. On rainy days I saw her socked and wet sleeping near by my front door. I just have to let her inside my house. The cat then happy staying at my place. I drove her out in the hope that she is going back to the owner but she didn’t. The cat comes to me as her own free will.Then the owner accused me of stealing their cat. If they take care of their own cat properly, this things would never happen.

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Freda Bloggs April 10, 2021 - 1:48 pm

My neighbour across the road has several cats. 2 of them like to come over the road as there’s a large cat community behind me and they access it through my garden.
One of the cats has been coming over for years for fuss, and a safe place to snooze during the day en-route to her feline friends. She’s never kept against her will, overnight, or if I’m not in the house with her. If it’s a problem for her to return home e.g windy, rainy or fireworks etc. I’ll take her back home across the road – after all she’s not my cat!

During the day and evening she seems to disappear, at regular intervals – I presumed some of that was her returning home for meals.
Last week, after repeatedly telling her owners, over the years, to knock on my door if they were ever concerned about her, as she passes through my garden, and comes in for a sleep daily, they knocked.
I was shocked to hear despite her, largely, keeping to her routine here, she hadn’t been home in 7 days!
As she was in the house, just going out of the open-for-most-of-the-day-door she was immediately returned, and I didn’t see her until 2 days ago when she shot into the house, was very edgy and screaming for food – in fact she never stopped screaming for food.

Again I asked them to knock if they’re at all concerned for her, but they will insist on just calling her, which doesn’t make her return, and as I can’t hear them calling very well, particularly if the external doors are shut, means I can’t encourage her go return home.
I’ve offered to work with them e.g. to bring her back when she’s due to be fed, or have them knock if they wanted to locate her but I can’t seem to get them to respond – they just think locking the cats away, for a period of time, or calling her, when she’s finally allowed out is enough.
I’m really worried that, as another cat, in her household, is apparently bullying her that she’s not going to ever settle and they’ll get rid of either cat.
Has anyone got any ideas as I’m trying to do my best, don’t want to steal her, just want her to be a happy catty – which she doesn’t seem to be, at the moment…

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Monika April 10, 2021 - 2:43 pm

Yeah, it’s a tough situation as cats do what they want, and if another cat is bullying the cat in their home, she will probably go back home less and less. In case you are feeding the cat, she will have less motivation to go home again, so in that case, you can stop giving her food so she’ll probably return home to eat.

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Freda Bloggs April 11, 2021 - 10:32 pm

Hi – thanks for responding – much appreciated. 🙂
She was so ravenous when she “escaped” so managed to wangle a trickle fed meat stick as I’d never seen her so desperately hungry – she felt a bit lighter too. 🙁
I keep a few meat sticks in the house in case she needs to be enticed out, when I go out, or if she brings me a live “present” that I need to switcheroo one in to save the animal.
But I’d noticed she’d needed a bit more enticing out. And when they knocked on the door and told me she hadn’t been home realised why. 🙁
But something’s occurred to me as it happened to one of our cats.
We had two brothers at 14.5 months and, mentally, they were in an awful state – they’d never been allowed out, had been treated cruelly, and were just scared stiff.
Initially they were eating, but only at night and only dry food.
Eventually, by deduction, we found out they’d only been fed one type of tinned food and could not stand having humans standing near them when eating – so we left them to it!
Eventually they settled and outdoors was an absolute revelation – they loved it. 🙂
But one was always a scavenger and ate some of the most peculiar things. He also brought in a large number of animals too – which helped when we were trying to take an inventory of flora and fauna in his hunting ground – they wanted to develop the land, but didn’t, with his help.

But it’s made me wonder – is it possible she’s got a type of feeding anxiety too – so won’t return home for food and would rather “take her chances” getting food elsewhere?
Her reaction when she’s called, by her owners, is not to go. she comes to me though, and if one of the cats is bullying her too then… 🙁

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