When to intervene with the cat lady?
September 5, 2010 2:58 PM Subscribe
My new neighborhood has a certified cat lady, and I am concerned for the 10+ cats I've seen roaming around with various signs of poor health and lack of vet care.
posted by slow graffiti to pets & animals (24 answers total)
I am new to Austin, and I love everything about my new neighborhood, except the cat lady a few houses down.
I've counted a minimum of 10 cats at this house, possibly as many as 20 (no I haven't trespassed, they're in the front lawn, visible as I walk by). I saw one with really bad pus around his tear ducts, and another with a slight limp. Most that I can tell have one clipped ear, which would suggest they were feral and were trapped and neutered. They're all way too skinny, but I do see food and water bowls. As a cat person, this makes me really sad. I've said exactly 'hi' and no more to the owner when I saw her out front. She looks about 65- not so old that she can't care for them, but she could be low-income, mentally ill, whatever. I don't want to judge her or get in her business, but the way she's treating the cats is unacceptable. If the cats were previously feral and she is fostering a neutered colony, I guess that's better than the cats roaming unfixed with no food. For now I don't think I can or should do anything but keep a close eye on the cats for any signs of an emergency.
When is it appropriate to intervene and call 311 to report animal neglect? I don't know if an eye infection is enough to call the cops on her, but what is? Should I keep calling every time I see a problem, even if they don't investigate her, so there is a record over time?
If it happens that I see a cat with an obvious emergency injury, should I take it upon myself to get the cat to a vet, even though that is technically not legal? As I understand, animal control in Austin will not act if the cat has a known owner, but if the owner is neglecting to treat an eye infection, I shudder to think what worse things could happen. I am torn between my concern for these cats and my desire not to provoke this woman and stay out of her business.