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Old 02-22-2009, 03:47 PM   #1
Marria
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How do I talk to my neighbor about her cats?
Hi everyone,

I'd appreciate some perspective and advice on how to approach this situation.

My neighbor has two cats, one female, one male. I have seen them around since they were kittens and they are outside very frequently. I know for a fact the male isn't neutered because I checked, and I've also caught him spraying on my deck. (This really ticked me off but I don't blame the cat for doing what is natural behavior for them.)

They look well fed so it's not like the neighbor is totally neglecting them. And the male was hanging out with a radar dish collar on yesterday and a stitched up cut on his side. So obviously she is willing to get them vet care when needed. Still not fixed though.

Although I will say I have provided shelter for the male during bad weather.

Now I know indoor cats vs. outdoor cats is kind of a controversial topic. I personally believe that it's better to keep cats inside and all my cats have been indoor cats, and have gotten along fine. But, I don't want to raise that argument with her. I'd rather just convince her to get her cats fixed. (There's no way to tell with the female, but since the male isn't neutered, I can only believe that the female isn't spayed.)

Do any of you have any advice on how I might approach her? I live in an apartment complex, so I would prefer to stay on good terms with my neighbors. She's pretty young, so I would like to assume the best and chalk it up to lack of education about being a pet guardian (I don't like the term "owner") than just not caring.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:24 PM   #2
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The cut on the cats side and the radar dish collar might just be the lead in. I wonder if the cat was fighting with another non-neutered male/female or how he got the cut.

I agree- I always kept my cats inside for their safety. She is taking them to the vet (wonder if the vet has brought up the idea of neutering- if not they should have).

I think I would try the safety angle-if your neighbor truly cares for the cats and wants them to be safe from harm she should have them neutered so that they stay closer to home etc...
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:57 PM   #3
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I would agree. Maybe ask if he had been in a fight and mention that getting toms neutered is a good way of reducing that sort of thing happening.
Perhaps ask if it was a fight over the female cat if she was in heat? just to sort of hint that both cats should be neautered?
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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Honest answer? None of your business. Sorry, that's just how I feel about it, they aren't your cats.

But, if you feel so strongly about it that you feel you must speak to her about her pets, I'd say the straightforward honest approach (with a bit of diplomacy) is always best.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Knitting_Guy View Post
Honest answer? None of your business. Sorry, that's just how I feel about it, they aren't your cats.

But, if you feel so strongly about it that you feel you must speak to her about her pets, I'd say the straightforward honest approach (with a bit of diplomacy) is always best.
Well, the fact that the male was spraying all over my deck furniture does make it my business, in my opinion. But I truly do appreciate your point of view, Mason.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:36 PM   #6
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And I'd also say the fight is your way in. Getting him fixed will reduce his aggression. I'd say the female is a problem too. Cause if she isn't then your neighbor could have more cats later.

If there's a vet school anywhere near by sometimes they'll spay or neuter for cheap to let interns and students practice. Or even sometimes they have weekends where you can bring your cat in. Just a thought, in case cost is her issue. You'd have to ask a specific school about their policies though. =)
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:40 PM   #7
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The only thing I would mention is that my male cat is neutered and he still sprays, although it probably doesn't smell as bad as if he wasn't neutered. He started doing it inside when he was threatened by other cats next door who used to gang up on him, but since they have moved he only does it on the bushes in our garden.
A friend of mine (bizarrely) only got her male cat fixed but not her female, until the second litter of kittens and then she realised that she should get the female done too.
Giving people advice on how to look after their pets is a touchy subject, maybe mentioning the spraying issue would be a good opener rather than starting off with the neutering issue right away.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:40 PM   #8
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There are no vet schools here, but I am pretty sure that our local Humane Society does an income based spay neuter program, and there is a local vet that has low cost spay/neuter events. I think what troubles me most about this isn't the welfare of these two cats (not that this doesn't really concern me), but also thinking of all the kittens that will be born and will die if these cats aren't fixed.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:25 PM   #9
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I've read that male cats that are neutered before 6 mos sometimes stop spraying, but not always..and cats that are neutered after that tend to continue. Learned behavior maybe? Dunno.

I would ask conversationally why she didn't have her cat neutered and mention that cats that are neutered and spayed tend to live longer, healthier lives. If she choose not to because of costs you can maybe name some places that do it low cost, if it's for some other reason then there isn't much you can do about it unfortunately as it is her decision in the end.

You can maybe find a way to keep the cat away from your deck then from now on.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:11 PM   #10
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Bless your heart for caring so much for animals that aren't even in your care.

If it were me, I'd say something like "I was wondering if your male cat (insert name) was neutered as I caught him spraying on my back patio?" And then that could start up the conversation and you can get a feel of how she'll react and go from there. Just a thought I had, hope it helps. Good luck.
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