I'm being stalked - his name is Silvy and he's a cat. Help?
February 8, 2011 8:58 PM   Subscribe

The cat came back the very next day... and everyday after that, too.

I'm being stalked, and it's not by a crazy ex who can't take a hint - it's the neighborhood cat. When I wake up in the morning and open the door to go to school everyday, the cat (which I have come to call 'Silvy') is there - without fail. He (I think?) soon discovered a window that looks into our room that he enjoys to peer into and meow at persistently. He even knows the sound of my car, and literally runs from one side of the street to the other to race me to my door...

Here's the back story:

I love animals - I especially love cats. My boyfriend recently moved into a neighborhood that we like to take walks around - on one of these walks we met Silvy. Being the animal lover I am, I of course pet it and give it lots of love, and continued to do so every time I saw it when we were out for walks. We started seeing him more and more often and he eventually started following us home. After a while, I let him inside the house a couple times (less than an hour usually - and I've never fed him) and the rest is history.

We know he has a loving home in the neighborhood (we've actually seen him inside his house) and has been following us for about 6 months and always appears well fed and happy - so he's not feral.

I am leaving for New Zealand and Australia for over a year in a few months, so we are trying to wean him off of us. I realize all of this is my fault (letting him in the house was not the best idea) and I'm trying to "let him down easy" before we take off abruptly in a year. Will the "ignore, ignore, ignore" technique work here? We've stopped letting him in the house, and will pick him up away from the door when he runs to it, instead of letting him run in, and then grab him and put him outside.

How can I let "Silvy" off easy? Also, anyone have any idea why a cat is persistently following us around or this type of obsessive cat behavior?
posted by Bron-Y-Aur to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you introduced yourselves to his people? At least they should know where to come look for him if he's missing, especially after you leave.
posted by amtho at 9:03 PM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Reason #1: Cats are weird.

Maybe he just likes you. Maybe your house smells neat. Maybe you exude a feline 'Sup, I'm covered in awesome' scent that only cats can smell.

Don't feed him, don't encourage him too much, keep growing more and more distant as time goes by. Ultimately, he may be sad when you leave but cats have a pretty good track record in my experience of rolling with something that happens. He'll probably get over it.
posted by Heretical at 9:03 PM on February 8, 2011

You're going to have to break his heart either way. Why not enjoy him while you've got him, and let him enjoy you, too?
posted by Scram at 9:03 PM on February 8, 2011 [10 favorites]

I've left behind a few cat stalkers in my day. Are you the only one in the neighborhood this cat visits? The ones I've known liked to stop by different houses on the street to say hi. My last neighborhood cat friend seemed to know when I got back from work (he'd be sitting outside my front door waiting to be petted), but after talking to other neighbors, it became clear that I wasn't the only object of his affections. Another cat at a different, bigger house I lived in used to wait outside the front door until someone let her in, and then she would make a tour of all the rooms, play for a little bit, and then scoot out and on to someone else's house. Don't worry too much-- your guy probably has other friends to check in on anyway.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:15 PM on February 8, 2011

Some cats want to inhabit their entire neighborhood. I adopted a sweet old boy in his twilight years. He'd been a neighborhood cat forever but his full-time owner passed on and he needed a safe and loving home base. It was important to him until the very end to keep up with all of his people and hangouts, but he also knew where home was.

I second the recommendation to talk to his people and make sure they know where he's hanging out. He's probably a very social cat whose people are away for most of the day. There's no harm being friendly with him as long as he's well fed and has a place to sleep at night.
posted by SakuraK at 10:39 PM on February 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the replies everyone, I haven't talked to Silvy's people yet. I might do so if I see them outside one of these days.

SakuraK - He's definitely extremely social, and I do think his family puts him out for most if not all of the day. He'll be outside at the door at 6 am, or at midnight - so he is probably coming to us when his family is away from home or they are kicking him out. However, they obviously feed him because he's a pretty decent sized (..huge) cat I must say. He's definitely the king around this neighborhood - it's his playground... I think he even gives the raccoons a run for their money.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 12:21 AM on February 9, 2011

It may not be it, but are you perhaps using some bedtime herbal tea with Valerian in it, or have Valerian in some other form in the house?
That would be a guarantee for the beast to come back; cats are crazy for that smell.
posted by Namlit at 2:36 AM on February 9, 2011

Also, cats adopt humans, they just do. My step-grandma was a stomper and hisser and hand-clapper and bird lover too. A Feral cat adopted her; very persuasive beast. Cat stayed at the side of her bed during her last months of cancer, went out after she had died. it was actually very moving.
posted by Namlit at 2:40 AM on February 9, 2011

2nding stomping and hissing. I too am allergic and was tormented by cats as a child.
posted by Aizkolari at 4:11 AM on February 9, 2011

You could buy a pest control product - there are ones on the market made from lion poo - that do no harm to the cat but make it want to be around less. That might work.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:32 AM on February 9, 2011

Do you need to let him off easy? After all he has owners and I bet he has other willing sponsors in the neighbourhood.
He will probably be sad when you leave, but as someone else mentioned he'll roll with it. He's not the King of the neighbourhood for nothing!
Just keep on not letting him in the house.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:31 AM on February 9, 2011

Actually, I don't know that you'll break the cat's heart... they may just be a "people cat." My now-elderly cat basically had run of the block when he was younger, with in-house visiting privileges with neighbors -- every day, he'd work the area, check who was home, and do a pet and purr or short inside nap with whomever was home and up to it. I probably wouldn't have ever spoken to some of those neighbors if they hadn't wanted to verify that he was my cat and just "friendly like that."

I worried at first about him getting attached to other houses and people, but he never seemed upset no matter what happened -- his friends could be home and busy, they could be gone, they could get their own pet and revoke his house visits, they could even move away... he'd just move on until he found people to be around, even if that ultimately meant coming home early. Not even losing his outside privileges to age/senility seemed to bother him... as long as there's people around, he's fine. It doesn't seem to matter if it's a dozen different ones, or the same one all day.

I'd say that you want to check with his owners just so they "know", but chances are that once you move away the cat will be fine.
posted by Pufferish at 8:52 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'll just keep doing what I'm doing - I don't mind if he comes around, I just won't let him inside. I enjoy his company, and he's an adorably affectionate cat.

I think I'll be the one to be sad and heartbroken to see him go!
Thanks mefites!
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 5:50 PM on February 9, 2011

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