Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,
Jacqui
jacqui

askme.com

Hi Guys, I didn't have time to write to you today, and tell you about things. I recently signed up on askme.com. I don't remember where I heard about it, it could have been from you. But I like it, it's kind of fun, you can list yourself as being an expert in anything you consider yourself to be one of. Then people will ask you questions and you get to answer them and are awarded points based on the speed and quality of your response. I think the points add up to cash at some point.

Who knows, I like it so far, but mostly all I've done is list my areas of groovexpertise and no one's asked me anything, boo: ( But I went to the boards tonight to begin building up my points and answered a cats versus the nasty neighbors one. So here it is for your late night viewing. Coast to Coast is on, I miss Art, but I have such a hard time believeing some of this stuff sometimes. I dig it though.

Oh and on www.askme.com, I'm thedabera.

"I (along with my husband and 13 year old son) have seven cats.Rascal (3), Patch (2) and Stinker, Cuddles, Tony, Tawny & Puffy (all 10 months). We have hand raised the babies since one mother (Patch was the other) died of distemper last August. We recently moved from a wonderful neighborhood (but small house)
to a place where we are having a bit of trouble. One neighbor in particular expects us to either keep them confined 24/7 or get rid of them.
The town bylaw does not support his position and the bylaw officer has taken our side but we would still like to make an effort to get along.

Any suggestions...we are attempting various training methods the only one that has not been successful is leashing (the babies hate it to the point of self injury so we stopped). Thanks for any
help you can give."

This is the question I asked in mid-May of two or three experts in the cat category thinking that their suggestions would be sufficient. Now don't get me wrong...there was not a thing wrong with their answers but the situation is worse than I originally thought.

My husband & I met with the bylaw officer yesterday. The "neighbour is claiming:
1) We go away for the weekend and leave our cats out the whole time
2) We leave our cats out at night
3) We let our cats out in the morning before leaving for work and leave them out all day
4) At least one of our cats has urinated on his truck windshield
5) Our neighbors both to the north & west (he is to the east) are also having problems with our cats...(to the north - she likes them and pets them, has two cats of her own: to the west - requested a watergun to spray them away - I bought it for her)
6) We are not taking care of our cats -- He is.

True statements made by our neighbor include:
1) Our cats have run through his yard
2) A month ago one of our cats lost their collar in his yard
THAT'S IT!!!

Of note: A colony of feral cats lives in an industrial yard across the road from both houses. The owner of the property feeds them and is truly concerned for their welfare to a certain extent.

He is not able to identify the cats as ours, in fact the last two he's complained about were definitely from the feral colony but as far as he's concerned all cats in the neighborhood belong to us and the problems only began in mid-April. Again untrue according to the town's records of complaints from him.

Can we file a suit against this guy for harassment? It has become blatantly obvious that if we didn't have cats he would complain about something else. All previous tenants (we are the first to
buy and live in the house in 10-15 years) have been harassed by him a certain extent as have other neighbors, but my husband and I are both to the point where we'd like to go over and deck the guy (venting:)) Seriously though, I'm afraid to go over and talk to him or his mother because they'll nail me with trespassing
or claim vandalism or something.

When I originally posted this to CATS I neglected to mention a couple of things:
1) All our cats have their shots, are fixed, and are licenced.
2) Our cats are not allowed outside except when we are home (weekends and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. or so)

Help please??

Thanks to everyone
Cat Lady 1



Hi Cat Lady 1 : )

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO



I know exactly what you are going through. I have a lot of cats. They are my beloved cat family, and I give them everything I have. It costs a fortune to take care of them. I have a full time housekeeper, and a great vet who comes by and helps us out. I used to be so much like you. In fact seven was the exact number of kitties we had for the longest time.

We used to live in the bottom front apartment in a triplex. It was almost like living in a house. Our cats were allowed in and out when we were home, and always brought in at night. However, sometimes some of them would not be home by dark, despite calling and searching. Once in a while someone would scoot out past our waving feet and arms and remain outside and at risk over night or while we were away at work. I thought if I allowed them out only during the day and while I was at home they would be safer, but two of my cats were hit by cars during the day right in front of me, and although I was able to rush each of them to the vet and they lived, I still blamed myself for how naiive I was to think I could somehow protect them from the kind fo harm that comes when they are allowed to go outside : (

Despite my very best intentions, it was a dangerous situation for them and we lost many cats (we were constantly rescuing them from shelters) in that apartment to leukemia, cars, and AIDS. On the morning of my wedding, I lost my beloved cat he went poking around and got into some poison. I'm telling you all of this because in my round about way, I want you to know that although life would be ideal for cats if they could play outside, and roll around in the sun and be free, the reality is that it is very, very dangerous out there.

I'm sure you've heard the statistics on the longevity of an indoor cat versus an outdoor cat. I heard them too and ignored them. To be honest, I thought we were special, that we loved our cats more than anyone else, and could let them go in and out, and keep an eye on them and control things. But we couldn't.

After we moved to our home we thought things would be better, less traffic, more room.
Well, it defintitely wasn't. We had new, meaner neighbors. After losing a wonderful cat to a coyote, and another beloved cat to neighborhood dogs, and my best friend cat of my whole life came down with AIDS, I wised up.

They all live indoors now, and this means more poop in the boxes and more hair, and more wear and tear on the furniture, and we aren't able to just leave the doors open when the weather is nice, it is still so much better. I don't have to listen to my horrible ridiculous neighbor anymore. I don't have to worry about anyone geting hit by a car or catching another upper respiratory tract infection. I definitely feel that I am doing the right thing, and I will still occasionally take a kitty outside for a supervised walk and I bring home wheat grass for them to chew on.

Okay so now that I've made you read all the way through all of that, I'm finally going to get to your question about the neighbor. People can be real jerks sometimes. Chances are very good that he won't change. If I were you, and planning on continuing to allow my cats to go in and out, (despite the incredible risk of their contracting something deadly from the feral babies across the street, to say nothing of injuries and abscesses from fighting), I would try to make a light, superficial peace with him by any means possible. If you are too afraid to go over there, then try to be the bigger one and write him a note on some pretty paper, saying that you want to be a good neighbor, and that even though you believe he is attributing things to your cats unfairly, that you would be willing to make anything right, as long as he would simply call and ask. Throw him a veggie bone of some kind, any kind. Make it sound as if you are going to limit their free ranging hours. Buy him something, seriously, a ten dollar plant might make all the differnece in the world to a grouch. It's possible that he is just a lonely person who needs some attention, and might respond well to a bit of acquiescence.

Now the other tack would be to consider that he is a mean, ornery, trouble maker who will never be appeased, no matter how hard you try, and should be stepped around very carefully. That's what I have here, (Mr. Peeping Tom and Mrs.Get In Everyone's Business), I think the best solution for dealing with this sort of person is to match them fire for fire. You need to befriend every one of your other neighbors on all sides. You need to document every single case of harassment on his part, every call, note or word over the fence. You need to photograph the feral cats across the street. And most of all and this wont sound nice, you have to get something on him. Find any legal weak spot. If he leaves his hedges too tall, document it. If his wife like to rifle through your mail, like my neighbor's does, jot down the date and time and have a friendly discussion with your mail carrier.

The point is to get them in check and make them aware of this. That has been the only way I could get a handle on the tension and stress my current neighbors to the West have been causing me. I won't bore you with the details because God knows this has gone on long enough, but I was exactly where you are now only worse, and I just couldn't stand another minute more, so I finally fired off a phone call to their answering machine, (aren't answering machines the greatest for this kind of thing). I told them in no uncertain terms, that I had the support of every single neighbor, that their complaints were totally unreasonable, that we were all talking about them and how much they upset our peace of mind, with their finicky and persnickety demands, and that I for one would not stand for it anymore. I told them that if I ever was reported to any governing body for any minor infraction, particularly animal related, I would know it was them and only them, and would retaliate in full force.

And that seems to have done it, they've finally backed off. I wish I knew what exactly could be done in your case, but in California we are only allowed to have a certain number of pets per household, and I am always having to be very wary of fussy neighbors. So to recap; bring your cats in for their own safety and your peace of mind. Short of that, make peace or make war and good luck to you. There's my beloved cat Jake banging on the door because he wants me to come to bed ; )

Big hugs,
Jacqui
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