Cats are rarely shy about inviting themselves into other people’s homes. It could become an issue if your neighbor feeds your cat, though. It can mean that your cat wants to spend less time with you. It can also lead to weight gain, and health complications, if your cat has a special diet.
Have a civil conversation, asking them to stop offering your cat food. If you’re unsure which neighbor is giving them food, attach a medical collar to your cat. This can ask people not to feed them. Feeding someone else’s cat isn’t illegal in any U.S. state.
Neighbors feeding cats is a common cause of disputes among local households. Some people enjoy being visited by cats, and want to encourage them to continue coming. This can lead to awkward interactions, and lead to health risks for the cat in question.
My Neighbor Keeps Feeding My Cat
Having a neighbor that feeds your cat is an awkward experience for many cat owners. There is every chance that your neighbor thinks they are doing something nice.
It can be problematic for you, however, for the following reasons:
- Cats are not shy about being gluttonous. If they can get two dinners from two locations, some cats will gleefully do so. This can lead to obesity and other health problems.
- Some cats require a special diet. If your neighbor is feeding them the ‘wrong’ food, it may upset your cat’s stomach. Your neighbor may also use low-quality cat food, so they may be missing out on essential nutrients.
- Your cat may start staying out later, waiting for food from this neighbor. This can cause you anxiety if you like to have your pet home before dark.
- Your neighbor may suddenly stop feeding your cat. Perhaps they’ll get a pet of their own or move home. Maybe they’ll have a new house member that is allergic to felines. If they decide they don’t want your cat in their home, it could confuse your pet.
The only solution is to speak to your neighbor. Be calm, but clear. Explain that your cat is on a particular routine, and that additional feedings throw that out. Your neighbor may be upset that they’re causing problems, and just thought they were being nice.
If your neighbor refuses to respect your wishes, options are slightly limited. Essentially, you can either lock your cat indoors or play them at their own game. Hand them your pet’s preferred food, and ask them to use that. It’s likely they will comply if they want the cat to keep returning.
In an ideal world, they will balk at the cost once your supply runs out and stop feeding the cat. If not, ensure that your cat is not eating twice. You may need to reassess the locked doors option, making your pet an indoor cat.
Finally, consider attaching a medical collar to your cat asking people not to feed them. This is especially advisable if you don’t know who is taking your cat in. It’s also important if your cat has a medical condition, or dietary requirements. Try to think of humans as essentially helpful, even if they are misguided. Somebody may think that you are doing your cat a favor by feeding them.
Is it Illegal to Feed Your Neighbor’s Cat?
This depends on what state you live in, as every location will have its own regulations. Feeding a cat that does not belong to you is never illegal, though. If somebody feeds your cat and lets them go, there is no legal recourse.
Allowing a cat into your home is a more complicated area of law. Cats are considered to be the property of their owners. This makes the said owner responsible for a cat’s welfare – and keeping them home. The owner of a cat is also responsible for any damage they may do to a neighbor’s property. This is why felines must be microchipped.
This rule of ownership means that there could be gray areas surrounding neighborhood cats. Inviting cats into your home and feeding them will not land you in legal trouble. At worst, you’ll have some frosty relationships with your neighbors. If you bring them into your home and refuse to let them out, however, it’s different. If the cat’s owner reports you, it’s possible to be charged with theft. It’s rare, as an intention to steal is difficult to prove, but it can happen.
If a local pet tends to find their way into your home, notify their owner. You may not be able to prevent it from happening. Cats pay no attention to boundaries or trespassing laws. You can avoid bad blood with your neighbors by not feeding their pets, though.
How to Stop My Cat Going to Another House
As you are the legal owner of your cat, you are legally responsible for them. A neighbor could sue you if your cat enters their home and causes an allergic reaction.
The burden of proof will be on your neighbor in such an instance. They must demonstrate that they made you aware of their medical condition. They must also prove you have not taken steps to prevent your cat from entering their home. Why take the risk, though?
If you have an indoor cat, don’t worry about your cat entering another home. You can keep your doors and windows locked, and keep your pet on home turf.
If your cat likes to roam, however, you may need to take appropriate steps. Not everybody is a cat lover, as difficult as that may be to understand.
Take these steps to stop your cat from entering other houses:
- Make your own home the best place for your cat. Ensure it’s warm, and filled with food and entertainment. If your cat goes elsewhere, it may be because somebody is offering them something that you’re not.
- Rearrange your home a little to improve the feline feng shui. Cats love quiet places to hide, and high places to climb.
- Consider changing your cat’s diet. They may be finding food they prefer elsewhere.
- Spay or neuter your cat. They may be looking to mark neighbors’ homes as their territory. This urge will become far less pronounced if they are fixed.
- Ask neighbors not to feed your cat treats. This may be why your cat is entering their home.
- Ensure nothing in your home is causing your pet anxiety. Do you have another pet that bullies your cat? Has a new person or animal arrived in the home? Your cat will need stability and routine more than ever during these times.
It’s possible that your neighbor is making a fuss of your cat. You can hardly ask them to stop petting them, especially if they are cat lovers. If you’re at work all day, your cat may seek the company of another friendly human.
You could try taking the tack of a polite conversation about not letting your pet in their home. Ultimately, though, this is something that needs to handled diplomatically and civilly. Unless your neighbor is willfully and maliciously locking your cat in their home, they are not breaking the law.
My Neighbor’s Cat Keeps Stealing My Cat’s Food
Another cat stealing food from an existing pet is a common problem. There could be many reasons why, including the following:
- The other cat is not being fed at home.
- The other cat does not have a stable feeding routine at home. They eat whenever they can, as they’re not sure when their next meal will arrive.
- The other cat prefers your cat’s food.
- The other cat is bullying, and asserting dominance, over your pet.
- The other does not enjoy their home environment. They are trying to make themselves at home somewhere else.
- The other cat is greedy.
- You fed this other cat while their owner was at work or out of town. This means they now assume that you will do so whenever they are hungry.
Whatever the reason, this is not a behavior that you will want to encourage. Despite this, you don’t want to upset your neighbor with your treatment of their pet. It’s a fine balancing act. You could try the following techniques:
- Make a loud noise to distract the other cat when they approach your cat’s food bowl. They will soon get jittery and stop trying to get in.
- Invest in an infrared cat flap that reacts to a unique collar. This is expensive, but it is a failsafe security measure.
- Change your cats feeding routine to a time that the other cat tends not to be around.
- Move your cat’s food bowl behind a closed door, elsewhere in the house. You can let your cat in to eat before letting them out again. This may not work if your cat enjoys grazing.
- Change your cat’s food to something the other feline finds less appealing.
- Lock all your doors and windows, and shutter down the cat flap. This may not work if your cat likes to wander and roam. Sometimes, however, desperate times call for desperate measures.
One essential thing is to ensure that your neighbor does not have the same problem. If their cat is eating your cat’s food because your cat is eating theirs, things could be awkward.
Neighbors feeding our cats, no matter how well-meaning, can be troublesome. It can play havoc with our pet’s delicate diets, and confuse them as to where home really is.
Conversation, and polite explanations, can go a long way. If your neighbor shrugs and claims you’re overreacting, you may need to keep your cat indoors. It seems cruel initially, but your pet will eventually settle down into its new routine.