Why being a
good neighbour means being a responsible cat owner.
Where you call home can be a place of
comfort and relaxation and your neighbours likely strive for the same feeling. Many
neighbours look out for one another and care about the impact their lifestyles have
on each other. As a responsible cat owner you ensure the welfare and well-being
of your cat. Being a responsible cat owner also includes protecting your local
fauna and neighbourhood. Put simply, it means being a good neighbour.
Your cat may or may not be welcome in all
the places they roam. The average roaming domestic cat travels an
area of 1.4 hectares around their home which means they could be visiting 14 neighbouring
properties a week. Some neighbours do not mind your cat paying a visit, however, other prefer your cat stays closer to home. You can minimize your
cat's impact on your neighbours and keep your community happy by keeping your
cat safe at home.
Reasons why your cat may not be welcome at your
1. Scent marking
Cats’ normal behaviour includes scent marking
as a way of communicating with other cats; for example with scent and pheromones produced and
deposited via the skin (via rubbing against objects and scratching), urine and
faeces. Unfortunately, these scent-marking behaviours may be smelly and can be
an unwelcome deposit in a vegetable garden or sandbox. Cat faeces also have the
potential to spread diseases such as toxoplasmosis.
2. Fighting with other
Allowing your cat to roam means that there
is a good chance they will run into other roaming cats. This can lead to
catfights breaking out which can cause loud disturbances and may damage
neighbouring property and gardens. Wounds from biting each other that become
infected can cause serious health problems for the cat and can spread disease.
3. Agitating or endangering
other people’s pets
A roaming cat is also likely to encounter
other neighbourhood pets. If a cat wanders onto a property that is home to a
dog, their safety is at risk. The presence of the cat may also cause the dog to
become agitated and lead to unwanted behaviours such as excessive barking.
Roaming cats can also be a danger to pets that are susceptible to predation by
cats such as birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small animals and this can also cause significant concern
for your neighbours. Even if the cat cannot cause any physical harm to the resident animal
(i.e. the resident animalis protected in an enclosure), the cat's presence may cause the
4. Creating traffic hazards
while darting across roads
Roaming cats often run across roads without
being aware of the danger. They also often hide and rest in high-traffic areas
or underneath cars. Not only does this pose a huge risk to the safety and
welfare of the roaming cat, but it can also cause traffic hazards and cause
distress to neighbours.
5. Hunting wildlife on
Pet cats who are allowed to roam kill millions of animals collectively each year. Owners
are often unaware of their cats hunting habits as cats only bring home an
average 15% of their prey. Cats may leave injured or deceased animals around
the neighbourhood and in neighbouring properties, and seeing deceased or
injured wildlife can be deeply distressing for some people.
You can be a good neighbour by keeping your
cat safe at home to ensure both the well-being and welfare of your cat and the
well-being of your local fauna and community.
Is a neighbour's cat paying unwelcome
visits to your property?
Here are a few things that
you can do.
1. Identify the cat
Try to identify
the cat’s owner and address this issue with them directly. You can ask your
neighbours or walk around your neighbourhood to see if you can find where the
cat lives. If you are not sure who the cat belongs to, you can try dropping off
some friendly letters in your neighbour's letterboxes.You can also try to
identify the cat by taking them to a veterinarian or SPCA to have the cat scanned
for a microchip and check the companion animal register to see if the cats owner
can be found. Alternatively, you can release the cat with a paper collar with a note to the owner asking
them to establish contact and alert them about their cat coming onto your
property, or by posting the cats information to a lost pet website or community social media
pages and noticeboards to help identify an owner.
2. Speak to the owner
Once you have identified the cat’s owner
you can address this issue with them directly. Your neighbour may not realise their cat is paying
unwelcome visits to your property and causing you concern and a friendly
conservation may be enough to resolve the problem. Many cat owners
underestimate how far their cat will roam from home. Sometimes a friendly
conversation to alert an owner about their cat’s travels can encourage cat
owners to be more responsible.
3. Cat proof your yard
Finally, if you are still finding
neighbourhood cats are paying unwelcome visits to your property you can try
cat-proofing your yard.
Read SPCA's website Keeping Your Cat Safe and Happy at Home for more paw-some tips.
For more information on why safe cat means safe wildlife, visit our website