Neighbors' Bad Behavior toward Cats

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Cat-hating neighbor is trapping cats

Oct 2009

Our cat has been missing for 3 weeks. Our old cat went missing last July...We assumed he was living with someone else cause periodically he'd leave for a few weeks at a time. I just found out from a neighbor that there is a man on the next block who hates animals. He traps cats in his yard and dumps them in Oakland. I'm told that he is a nasty horrible person who is impossible to talk to or reason with. I found out that this neighbor trapped our black and white cat last July and took him somewhere.

I don't know yet about the current missing cat, but other cats in t he neighborhood have gone missing on and off. We don't want to confront this man untill we know the law and know our rights. Any suggestions? Ideas? We'll start calling the shelters, but it seems like a crapshoot looking for 2 unchipped cats in the east bay. Mostly I'm interested in how to get the cat owning neighborhood together to deal with this guy. Thanks for any help.

What he's doing sucks, but the simple answer is to not let your cat outdoors. Healthier for the cat, safer for birds and other small critters, keeps them from pooping in other people's yards, and solves the neighbor problem, too. I've had strictly indoor cats for nearly 15 years, and it's not that hard. Cat Owner

We had a similar problem with a neighbor. A laywer told me cats, are legaly considered wild animnals, and wild animals can't be owned. If she is correct it means you are not the owner of the cat and have no legal rights. (Dog's aren't considered wild animals, and can be owned, so it's a different story.) The lawyer/laws may have changed, I don't know.

If the neighbor is this crazy about animals you probably won't be able to reason with him. -

Will you please let all of us know which neighborhood you are writing from? I am sure your neighbors would love to support you with this. It sounds just awful. concerned

I'm so sorry to hear about your cats. Heartbreaking to think that these pets are being set free in other parts of the east bay and that you don't know their fate. I don't know what, if anything, can be done to stop such a person, but I hope you have success.

In the meantime, the safest thing for your cats (future ones, at this point) is for them to stay inside. I know that it seems cruel, but there are many things that are dangerous to cats - including mean people, cars, fights with other animals, etc. In the absence of that, please put collars and microchips on all your animals. With the microchip, at least you stand a chance to be reunited with your animal if they end up at a shelter. I hope you find your beloved pets. Why can't everyone be nice to helpless animals?

This is reprehensible behavior on the part of your neighbor. First and foremost, I would pay a visit to the local shelters - both Berkeley Humane Society 2700 Ninth St., Berkeley (510) 845-7735, and Berkeley City Animal Shelter 2013 Second Street, Berkeley, (510) 981-6600 - and look for your kitties. Just because they aren't micro- chipped, doesn't mean they won't show up there. You can fill out a form with a photo if you have it, and they will put that in a binder and be on the lookout for the cat. I would also post signs in the neighborhood.

As for this creep of a neighbor - that certainly sounds illegal. I know that the friendly folks at these shelters would be able to tell you. I think there is a free or low fee microchip service available also. I would definitely enlist the help of these agencies. They really are dedicated to animal welfare. Please give them a call. Cat Advocate

1) Call the police and/or animal control on your neighbor. 2) Keep the cats inside. anon

Cats are a bit hard to trap-harder than coons and skunks. If this neighbor is trying to trap skunks or coons he may well get an occaisional cat and if so they are easily released unharmed from a live trap. Cats don't struggle like coons and hurt themselves while inside. I think if you aren't comfortable talking to the man directly then talk to his surrounding neighbors and see what they say about what they have seen and experienced. Cats often wander off for days and even weeks-ours do. They also regularly wander away when they know they are dying. For some reason they prefer to die away from home. Also if they are injured they sometimes stay away from home where they should instead go for help. This could be lots of things but in all fairness I would try to talk to the man directly. I would just tell him your cat has been missing and you wondered if he might have seen it. Then see what the resonse is. Some folks hate cats digging poop holes in their yards and go to extreme measures to get rid of them and this could be that. Good luck sorting it out. anon

I'm so sorry about your cats. Would you mind posting again with information about the location of this cat trapper? Obviously not information that would invade anyone's privacy or cross any legal boundaries, maybe just a street and cross-street? whatever is permissible on this forum. I'm concerned about my own cat and I want to know if I live near this creep. No idea about how to deal with him, maybe start by calling the humane society and ask for advice? annon

I like cats, and like having them visit etc (we have an indoor cat). But they are on someone else's property. They may be leaving poop (though we have more problems with raccoon poop on our property), killing birds etc. So my guess is that the neighbor is within his rights to take them to a local shelter. And if they are considered wild animals he is within his rights to let them go in the wild? We let our indoor cat go out, and she comes right back. So perhaps it's not cruel to keep a cat indoors, rather than letting them roam? It sounds like it's a good bet to chip your outdoor cats. Better to keep your cats indoor, they live longer and are safer. Hope you get your cat back

I missed the original post, but one thing you could try, if the neighbor is next door, is put a device called CATSTOP on your property line facing the area where he is trapping. It uses a battery, is motion-activated, and emits a high pitched noise that hurts only cat ears, so they will avoid the area. Or if you can reason with him, perhaps he would use it, certainly easier for him than trapping. (I also vote to keep your cats inside. Domestic cats are decimating the songbird population. Our 2 happy cats have been inside for 10 years.) We are using one of these in our backyard where a feral cat that we feed is killing birds. It works. They have them at Pastime Hardware in El Cerrito and here is a link: larkst [at]

Just noticed this cat posting. When I was a teenager we had this problem in the neighborhood. My sister figured out who was trapping the cats and came up with a solution that was quite effective, but not sure if it would still work (legally etc.).

She made posters with the Headline ''IS YOUR PET MISSING??'' if you have a missing cat and wonder what happened to him/her please contact so and so for information. She plastered the neighborhood with the posters.

After the posters went up the neighbor mysteriously stopped trapping. m

Thanks to the many people who posted support and suggestions on how to deal with the cat-trapping neighbor.

I'm not comfortable giving his name or exact address, but I will say he lives on Ralston in the East Richmond ''Richmond View/Mira Vista'' neighborhood. Another neighbor on the street told me that several neighbors banded together 2 years ago and tried to take him to court.

I'm not sure of the details...but even with the sheriff involved it was unsuccessful without lawyers and a lot of money. The man is abusive, dangerous (he retaliates) and unreasonable...not someone we would feel comfortable asking if he's seen our cats. I don't know if he admits taking the cats or not.

We feel for now that we are in a holding stage as far as he goes. We have been checking the Oakland and Bkly shelters with no luck. We are hoping our kitties have new homes somewhere.

Someone wrote that cats were considered wild animals, as opposed to dogs. We were told (Oakland shelter) that any animal that is housed and fed in a house is personal property and therefore taking that animal is stealing. I agree our next cat/s will be house much as I hate that idea.

Thanks again to everyone who wrote...This is an awesome group. thankful and anon

Neighbor keeps appropriating our cat

Feb 2008

We bought our house 2.5 yrs ago on a quiet dead end street, & have 3 in/outdoor cats. Two neighbors (exes/close friends? unsure) across the street fell in love with my favorite cat. The woman, mostly, brings her into her apartment a lot, feeds her, has a litter box for her, insists cat is ''sensitive'' and needs escorting back across the street to our home in case a dog mauls her. I've dissented, calmly asked her not to feed her, get her own cat, back off ours as I would like her in our home: no change. Recently the other neighbor rings our bell & delivers her nightly in his arms - requiring a brief interaction (mid-dinner or kid bath) every single night. Too much - now the situation's gone on far too long. At Thxgiving as we were just about to go out of town, he asked if she could take the cat while we were gone instead of leaving her to the cat-feeder with the others - I regret to say in our leaving chaos I said yes just to get him off the step.

5 days ago I heard yowling when I got home, realized cat was in the neighbor's apartment - peeked through mail slot: there she was, wanting to come out - but no one home. On the phone I said I did not like her having a litter box in her home, reminded her she is my cat - the woman escalated into a shouting rage at me, told me repeatedly I was ''taking a very negative view & needed to look at the positive'' and that she ''deserved more appreciation for all the nice things she's done'' - & hung up on me.

Today I sent a short, clear letter to each of the neighbors, saying we have decided we want the cat only to be in our home, and to please not let her in any longer, nor escort her over -that we will watch out for her as we do for our other cats. No response, except he just rang the bell and ran away as I opened the door to find the cat on our front step. I think they're unlikely to honor this request; I'm reluctant to take a drastic solution of making a sweet 9-yr-old cat be indoors only when she loves outdoor time. I'm fed up and just want my cat back full time! Any suggestions? (we've been thru 2 magnet cat doors, each time broken by raccoons so no cat door option). Kate

1. Babysit your cat in your yard 2-3 times per day so it doesn't leave your yard 2. Put your cat on a cat tether in your yard 3. Go to the gardening department of Lowe's and get a do-it- yourself electric fence kit to keep your cat on your property Cats are notorious for collecting ''owners''. My neighbor has a cat like that, it likes someone else better! Good luck.

Your neighbor sounds like a whacko, and I'd be pissed too, primarily b/c your neighbor sounds so out of touch with reality. However, I do have to say that if you allow your cat(s) to wander around the neighborhood, they're pretty much fair game. That is, for dogs to chase, for cars to hit them, for nasty cat fights, for infections, as well as for neighbors who like them and take them in. So your neighbor has appropriated your cat and you don't like it. The solution is obvious: make your cats indoor cats. I know, I know... your cat likes outdoor time, but that unsupervised outdoor time is causing this war with your neighbor. Honestly, if you feel ownership of the cat, you must take the responsibility to keep it indoors. Or allow for the fact that the cat might have a dual-life elsewhere, like it or not. My fiance has an in/outdoor cat who lives part time across the street. If I had my 'druthers, I'd keep the cat indoors -- but only because of safety, not because I'm jealous of my neighbor's relationship with the cat. Anon

Read ''Six Dinner Sid'' -- it is a picture book that has a funny take on this situation. indoor cat owner

Maybe apologize, make ''friends,'' then take the lead and get her a kitten? She seems like she'd be a good pet owner; maybe if she had her own cat she wouldn't need yours. My ex-husband's wife is like this. Made co-parenting a real treat, I can tell you. You won't *win* this one. This sort of person never seem to realize she has inappropriate (which is to say NO) boundaries, which is why I suggest the subterfuge. - More than one way to...

Wow, that would make me angry. I think I would start by keeping my cat indoors for a while - at least a month but longer if you can stand it. the cat will be annoyed but will survive. Then, I would contact Island Cat Resources and Adoption - its a cat rescue group that does wonderful work in Alameda/Oakland/Berkeley - they may be able to help you with your rights (don't know what they would be exactly) and perhaps you can give these neighbors bio's (from the groups website) of cat's that seem to have simliar dispositions/colors even? of yours -- in other words, get your own. You may also want to give your local Animal control people a call and see what they can do. Perhaps if your cat ''disappears'' for a while, they will find a cat that works for them. good luck

Are you sure your cat isn't choosing them (no kids, quieter, free food, etc)? (My mom had a situation where a cat chose her I can go into at great length if you want.) But, I think it really comes down to two choices. 1) Give up, keep things as they are, hope these neighbors don't move and move your cat with them, or just flat out take your cat. OR 2) Make your kitty be indoors. As tough as that is. But, if you truly want to keep your cat, you are probably going to have to do this (the cat will continue to go over there, it's been fed there). Clearly your neighbors do not have boundaries(kitty locked in with no one home) and I'd be worried about them just taking your kitty (what's going to stop them?). We had to transition our cats indoors (9, 8, 5, and 3 at the time). It was hard, but it worked. The 9 year old had the hardest adjustment, but she lived to be 21! If you haven't done so already, you might want to consider getting the implanted identification, as well as a collar with id. Just in case they try to take the cat and you need proof (collars are too easy to remove). Goodluck! cat lover, with only indoor kitties now

While I agree that it's not appropriate for your neighbor to bring your cat into her apartment (and especially leave her in there when she's not home), I have to take issue with your attitude about ownership and boundaries. I admit, this is a ''pet'' peeve of mine (no pun intended): cat owners let their (outdoor) animals wander about wherever they please, paying no regard to people's property and wishes. They get to poop, trample, spread fleas, ''deliver'' dead rodents, pick fights, caterwaul and bother others as much as they like. But as soon as something happens that the owner doesn't like, there's suddenly a boundary issue.

Come on people, expectations don't just run one way. It's not like your neighbor is crossing over to your yard, grabbing your cat and bringing it over to her house. Your cat is choosing to visit. Sure, it's an animal but if you don't like her feeding your cat and bringing it into her place, don't let the cat go there. It's as simple as that. If you're okay with your cat doing as she pleases, then you should accept what happens when does. As another poster wrote, it's fair game. Just be glad the neighbor is showing your cat kindness rather than trying to harm her, as is just as likely to happen. -tired of unwelcome visitors

This is a really interesting topic. Many different perspectives. Cats want freedom and if its reasonably safe ie.access to indoors, cars, dogs etc. they really should be able to go out if at all possible, perhaps with supervision. However no one should be feeding them or capturing them but you and you certainly have the right to tell the neighbor to back off. Why punish your cat by confining it? Some say indoor cats live longer, not substantial evidence for this as circumstances vary widely from folks who live in apartments to houses with yards and reasonably safe streets,but what is their quality of life? Your children will be safer if never let out also.We had a kitten follow our children home and wouldn't leave. We posted signs in the neighborhood and inquired in a 4 block radius. We gave her shots and a check up and took care of her for a few months then we brought her to be spade and found that she had been chipped which established that she had an ''owner'' so we returned her. She was not happy and has since left them and they have yet another cat. Cats choose to stay if they love you. They are the most independent of companions and not property but responsibility.We ask our neighbors not to feed our cats and they come and go during daylight hours with little stress or issue. anon cat lover