Sunday, January 04, 2009

**WARNING**

...RANT AHEAD! No knitting content...

First and foremost most everyone who reads knows I'm an animal lover, I donate to the ASPCA and every Christmas I donate dog & cat food to our community animal shelter, so don't jump me for my next comments.

I have a neighbor who's creating a MAJOR problem in my neighborhood...now it's escalating out of control. She's been feeding a family of feral cats (5 of them to be exact) since the summer. I, in fact, tried to catch one of the kittens so I could domesticate it to no avail...that little sucker was fast! She told me a couple months ago that there are now a family of skunks & raccoons eating at the cat food she puts out...one raccoon was seen in the middle of the day and we all know that's not a good sign, several rabid animals were found in the city during the summer.
Where do these cats use the litter box? In my flowerbeds and backyard where Rudy finds the "yummy" snacks and of course does what a dog does...eats them! My concern here is the fact they have not been vaccinated nor wormed -- will Rudy get worms from this activity?
Everything around our house smells like cat spray, it's worst on wet days like today.
I'm missing 4 fish from my ornamental pond...no floating carcasses were found so I'm sure you'll come to the same conclusion as we have.
I recently discovered they are getting up inside our canoe (which is place upside down 3 feet off the ground) and tearing up the webbing on the seats and knee pads inside, I've scared them out of it more than once.
Now, for the past couple mornings during the predawn hours when Rudy's outside doing business I hear that familiar "yeowing" of a female cat looking for love! So...she's accomplished getting them healthy enough to breed but still possibly carry disease! Luckily Ace is an indoor cat. But I have other neighbors with outdoor cats who I hope they have them vaccinated for feline leukemia, distemper and other dangerous diseases these ferals may be carrying...simply because she thinks she's doing the right thing.
Oh, I've talked to her about this problem only to hit a brick wall in getting any action done. I've spoken with our local animal control who, I have to say we have a fantastic caring group of individuals who want the best for citizens and pets. The law here states that if you feed a feral cat YOU become custodian and responsible for them and their damages, but that would require civil suit on our part which I'm not prepared to do at this time. However, if you are feeding more than 3 cats you are breaking the law...she's feeding 5 cats, now possible more if this female gets pregnant. Animal control also told us that we can legally trap these cats and they will see to it they are fixed, domesticated and adopted out. What if they're too smart to catch? If they continue to breed she becomes the next "cat hoarder" in our town...there was one discovered a few years back that was really, really bad. Animal control found 52 cats in one house, both dead and alive...the floors were so urine soaked that eventually the house was torn down and HazMat had to be called in to treat the land the house sat on. I was going to talk with her again to try to reason with her only to find out that she isn't the only neighbor putting out food for the cats, which creates another issue.
We've fenced off my flowerbeds, I've put out mothballs (in vented cans so Rudy doesn't eat them), sprayed ammonia on other areas to hopefully deter them from the yard. Hubby's even had to put chicken wire up to keep them from under his workshop. What more can I do? How can I keep peace in the neighborhood and keep my stuff from damage? Does anyone else know a deterrent I can try?

Sorry to go on with this but I need to get this out! Any other suggestions as to what I can do??

Thanks...

12 comments:

Pam! said...

stupid stupid neighbor is still at it?? argh. First thing I would do is call Rudy's doctor and see if you need to take any precautions due to the "snacks". Then I would also ask the Vet if they have any suggestions about yard deterrents, etc.
i can't belive your neighbor isn't willing to stop and help get these cats caught, ready to roll, and adopted out if possible. Does Neighbor have her own pets?

Channon said...

I wish I had some suggestions. Our laws must be different here, because animal control set the traps and did what had to be done with our former (deceased) neighbor. Haven't I told you the story about Fred's $800++++ (years ago; who knows what it would cost now) vet bill after he tried to eat a newborn feral kitten, born in OUR woodpile?

How's Dolly, by the way?

Bea said...

No suggestions, but I'm sorry to hear this. It seems very irresponsible on her part.

Sue said...

Gee, that's too bad, as cats really do need to get vaccinated; for their health and others arouond them. I never have understood why people do what they do...

Becky said...

Well, I don't have any suggestions for you other than to call animal control on her again, and keep calling until something is done. I do know what would happen around here, though. Those cats would "mysteriously disappear".

What with the coyotes and cat hating dogs we have in this neighborhood, they wouldn't have lasted long anyway.

Monica said...

Definitely talk to your vet as Pam suggested. I also know that cats hate citrus scents, so that could be another deterrent... but it's not a permanent solution.

lilypily said...

You need a cat trap. We have one, darned shame I can't post it to you. It's humane - they don't get hurt, just caught, and then you can surrender them. We have similar problems here, but Bloke chases them out of the yard - he HATES cats with a passion. He nearly caught one once. Don't know what he'd do with it once he caught it, but the cat was 'outa' here awful fast. I grow native fauna to attract the native birds. And I get so angry that irresponsible cat owners allow their cats to roam so they come to my garden and lay in wait for the birds. I've found feathers many mornings. Cats are supposed to be kept inside here by law, but it is too hard to police. Sounds like you are doing what you can. You have my commisseration.

momsue84 said...

Do you have an animal control officer/department? How about a stupid neighbor ordinance? Have you tried explaining to your neighbor the impact she is having on the neighborhood? I would try to talk to her once. If she ignores you, call the city and lodge a complaint. If enough of your neighbors do the same, perhaps the city will do something. You can also try the Humane Society. But, it's been my experience they are powerless unless they see actual abuse/neglect. Hope you can work this out.

Jeanne said...

I'm wondering if your neighbor is a bit mentally unbalanced? If so, no amount of discussion with her will change her opinion that she is "helping" the cats. People who are animal hoarders are convinced that the animals are better off with how they're treated, no matter what evidence to the contrary is in front of them.

We had a similar experience with my mom (unfortunately) and the police (who were called by someone who was concerned about the state of my mom's house) told us that at some point it becomes a public health hazard--at which point the health dept. will step in and do something. You might want to call them and see what they say.

Also, I put cayenne pepper (the powder) in my flower beds to keep away the critters who use them as litter boxes. It works--although you have to put it down fairly often. I haven't done this, but I bet you could make a mixture of water and cayenne pepper and just spray it onto your beds.


Good luck!

Anita said...

You need a cat trap.... like Lilypily said, they are humane & only trap the cats, not hurt them. Then they can be transported to the animal control/humane society. They reall do need to be fixed & have their shots, for their own health. And the neighbor really doesn't want to be feeding the racoons & other wild animals who could be carrying diseases... UGH I feel for you. We've had the same problem here. In fact 2 summers ago we had a rabid fox in our neighborhood, the animal control caught him in the next door neighbors yard.... call your animal control & humane society or animal shelters & see if they have any of the traps you could use.

Bobbi said...

Time to call in the Pied Piper! Then as the rats leave town, the cats will follow! ;-)

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

Oh gosh. I wish I had suggestions. This sounds like a nightmare.