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 neighbour’s place:

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 neighbourhood cats

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 animal is protected in an enclosure), the cat's presence may cause the animal distress.

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 neighbouring properties

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