Animal Control wants to quarantine my (outdoor) cat
May 6, 2012 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Animal Control wants to quarantine my (outdoor) cat--how can avoid this?

My big white cat has gotten into the habit of beating up other cats he runs across, and recent victim's caretaker reported the fight. (I guess my cat, Lumi, bit the other cat, but Lumi himself showed no sign of injury.)

Lumi got one rabies vaccine, but I didn't go for the second one since I saw recent research showing that one shot lasts at least 5-7 years, if not (usually) the lifetime of the animal.

So, Animal Control found me and said I need to quarantine for 45 days. No way would Lumi survive this (he's a rescue cat that was found living outside, and seems traumatized if he needs to be kept in even for a weekend).

Just wondering if anyone has experience / advice on how to deal with this situation. And secondarily, I'm looking for advice on whether it's a good idea to try to find the owners of the victim cat and work something out with them (e.g., so they don't re-report Lumi being out, if I ignore the order).
posted by Jon44 to Pets & Animals (41 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
And secondarily, I'm looking for advice on whether it's a good idea to try to find the owners of the victim cat and work something out with them (e.g., so they don't re-report Lumi being out, if I ignore the order).

No, it's not a good idea. What reason would they have to agree to this?
posted by jayder at 5:59 AM on May 6, 2012 [12 favorites]

I've got an ex stray who hates the indoors too. We recently moved house and kept him inside for 3 weeks. He didn't love us for it, but he lived.

You should probably just comply with the order and put up with a grumpy cat for a bit.
posted by Greener Backyards at 6:13 AM on May 6, 2012 [11 favorites]

You deal with this situation by quarantining the cat. To Animal Control, this is a potentially rabid cat, so they'd have no problem destroying him if he were found.
posted by scruss at 6:14 AM on May 6, 2012 [66 favorites]

Part of being the owner of any pet, but especially a pet that is allowed to roam free, is taking responsibility for any mishaps the pet get into. This includes making sure the animals have complete vaccinations. But, you did not complete Lumi's series of rabies vaccines and, thus, Animal Control really has no other option than to order his quarantine, since they cannot assure that he's completely immunized.

If you don't quarantine Lumi, Animal Control will very likely come and take Lumi from you and do it themselves. Or worse.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 AM on May 6, 2012 [18 favorites]

It's been reported to Animal Control it is now in the system if your cat is caught out things could get serious. When our dog bit someone (he was provoked with by being poked repeatedly with a stick before he finally bit) we were told the only other option to quarantine was putting the animal down so they could check the brains for signs of rabies. This probably varies from county to county though so you might be lucky and not have to worry about that. Luckily I was able to hunt down his rabies certificates (we was a rescue so we did not have the papers the fosters vet did) and avoid both.

Your cat will survive quarantine. He will hate it at first but 45 days is time enough for him acclimatise. The owners of the other cat unfortunately have a right to report your cat an are probably fed up of the vet bills they have had to pay to have their cat treated after your cat has repeatedly bashed up their cat, I doubt they are going to want to work with you, but then again you might be lucky. Then again control officers are known to randomly visit houses with animals under quarantine to check up so what is the worst that can happen to you or your cat if you are caught and weigh that against your cat being unhappy for a few weeks.

If he is truly stressing out being in the house, you might be able to get some tranquillizers from the vet, also Feliway is good in some cases in helping calm stressed animals.
posted by wwax at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm looking for advice on whether it's a good idea to try to find the owners of the victim cat and work something out with them (e.g., so they don't re-report Lumi being out, if I ignore the order).

As someone who's neighborhood cats are frequently terrorized by a large cat that is regularly seen "beating up other cats he runs across", I can say that the only way we would "work something out" with the cat's owners would be if they a) went through with quarantining the cat, b) followed the community rules regarding vaccinations and c) showed some intention of actively trying to manage their cat's behavior. That's the only way we would agree not to re-report our particular neighborhood's aggressive cat in the future.

As for avoiding the quarantine, check with your local agency regarding their appeal process. Almost all AC organizations have an appeal process, though our community's AC is particularly hardcore when it comes to rabies vaccine compliance.
posted by joe vrrr at 6:22 AM on May 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

If I were your neighbour and you said to me "My cat who bit yours -- well, we only gave him part of the required vaccinations, and now animal control wants us to keep him quarantined because he theoretically could be sick, but we think one shot was enough and he isn't sick, so we're going to let him out. Can you please not report him?" or any wording with that content, I would probably be keeping my eye out for the cat in order to report him.

The cat will cope with being indoors. He might be unhappy at first, but he really will survive it. I've found that locking them in a bathroom with podcasts or other low talking is easiest. There are usually a few places to hide, and it's usually easy to clean up any messes.
posted by jeather at 6:40 AM on May 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for good sense in answers.

For those assuming there's automatic virtue in following regulations, I'd just add that the science on vaccinations lasting the lifetime of an animal is quite solid, and you don't have to be a conspiracy type to believe the required vaccination schedule is in the best interests of Vets and Vaccine makers, and not necessarily your pet (search for vaccine-related carcinoma's, if you're not familiar...)
posted by Jon44 at 6:49 AM on May 6, 2012

Your unvaccinated cat has scratched or bitten another cat; in the U.S., because it is not a rabies-free country, the choices are basically quarantine until you know he doesn't have rabies, or destruction & brain necropsy.

Moreover, in many jurisdictions in the U.S., if your cat is reported attacking other domestic animals a second time, it may be destroyed as "dangerous."

Right now, if you want the cat to survive, it will need to be submitted to quarantine. Otherwise animal control will capture it to destroy it. In the future, YOU NEED TO VACCINATE YOUR OUTDOOR ANIMALS ON THE SCHEDULE REQUIRED BY LAW. You don't get to decide otherwise because you've read that rabies vaccinations are long-lasting; rabies is serious shit (I had a rabies scare earlier this year with a bat) and animal control is absolutely "better safe than sorry" when it comes to domestic animals around humans getting rabies shots.

(Moreover, in my jurisdiction, tickets for "failure to vaccinate" start at $100 and go up from there; tickets for an uncontrolled animal start at $50; tickets for an uncontrolled animal biting another animal start at $300; so it's possible Animal Control can start handing down tickets and fines if you don't comply with their orders, but around here they often waive them if you come into compliance by getting up to date on vaccines and controlling the pet in question.)

I looked back at your earlier questions to see if I could narrow down your jurisdiction, because then we could look at your local animal control laws and give you a better idea what's going to happen. But I noticed you have apparently un-spayed cats, un-vaccinated cats, cats who have injured one another fighting, and you do not seem to have a regular relationship with a vet, because you are NOT getting your cats fixed and vaccinated and you are asking questions on metafilter that are easily asked of (and ought to be asked of) your vet. I would gently suggest that if you are going to own pets, you need to have a regular relationship with a vet, and you need to work with that vet on being a more responsible pet owner.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:51 AM on May 6, 2012 [86 favorites]

"I'd just add that the science on vaccinations lasting the lifetime of an animal is quite solid"

Did you have your vet draw titers to find out if your specific cat was still protected from rabies? Or are you just guessing?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:52 AM on May 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

Being the Jenny McCarthy of rabies vaccines isn't going to help your cause. The rules on rabies vaccines are what they are. You either comply with the quarantine or you lose your cat.

And, FYI, you will still have to get the cat completely vaccinated, even if he comes out of quarantine healthy. Unless you want to go through quarantine every time he injures another animal.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:54 AM on May 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: OK, we're going to argue about vaccines...

First all, both my cats are "fixed"and I do have a regular relationship with a Vet. I've found that Vets don't necessarily have great information and the vaccine issue is an example. Cats fight with each other--that's part of them being healthy animals.

I thought someone would bring up Jenny McCarthy--she's theorizing about a link between vaccines and disease without any evidence. The link between cat vaccine adjuncts (sp?) and carcinoma's is well-established and I've had a cat who died from a vaccine-related carcinoma (as have many other cat owners).

I'd gently point out to Eyebrows McGee that, in the cats I'm familiar with, human intervention (FIP from unhealthy shelter, carcinoma, side effects from unnecessary use of heartworm medication) has harmed the animals more than natural threats.
posted by Jon44 at 7:04 AM on May 6, 2012

First off, the science addressing the lifetime viability of different vaccines is complicated and nowhere near conclusive. It very specifically does NOT indicate that all vaccines protect all animals for their entire live, in fact it indicates the opposite.

If you are in a place where titers can be used in place of a booster vaccine, then that is great and you should certainly use that metric instead of boosters. What you will find is that with some of your cats you will need to give boosters.

But this attitude where you don't give the vaccine because you read research, and you don't take responsibility for the fact that your cat is hurting others is ridiculous. Put yourself in the shoes of the other pet owner, and this is pretty horrific. Having so little regard for the pets of your neighbors does not reflect well on you.

Get a vet you trust, do what a responsible pet owner would do and you won't have these problems in the future. In the mean time, you really must quarantine the cat, because it is the right thing to do.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:05 AM on May 6, 2012 [20 favorites]

I mean--I totally get you. Why vaccinate extra if science says you don't need to? Well..because it's the law. That's why. I have read research that indicates pot smoking is not very hazardous, but I don't go around smoking weed up in cops' faces, because it's not a good idea.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 7:06 AM on May 6, 2012 [11 favorites]

So you won't get a second rabies jab for your cat at least in part because of the risk of sarcoma, but you are going to try and covertly keep it outside against animal control's orders, knowing that if a neighbour reports the cat it could very well be seized and/or put down? I think you should quarantine it.
posted by wigsnatcher at 7:12 AM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

You need to comply with the Quarentine order and get your cats vaccinated if they are going to go outside, which I think maybe Lumi shouldn't if he injures other cats. I mean, how would you feel if your cat was getting hurt by someone else's unvaccinated animal?
posted by Maisie at 7:14 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, they're not asking you to vaccinate from what you've said, and that seems to be your biggest worry. So quarantine and comply. Your cat doesn't get to be #1 here.
posted by waterandrock at 7:16 AM on May 6, 2012

Part of living in our society is agreeing to abide by the rules regardless of whether you think they are unnecessarily stringent. You are focusing on the apparent inequities of the vaccination laws. If you feel that strongly about it, you need to get involved in lobbying to change it. In the meantime, you're skirting the rules and externalizing the risks of doing so onto your neighbors' pets. What is important here isn't whether you think the full vaccination course is necessary, what's important is that your neighbor and animal control are completely entitled to think so and will act accordingly if you let your cat out. Arguing about vaccines on Metafilter isn't going to change that. Keep your cat indoors or risk him being destroyed. These are your options.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:18 AM on May 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

For me, the issue has nothing to do with vaccines -- if your cat were an indoor cat, I'd support you in doing whatever you want with regards to vaccines. But if you're going to go against common vet suggestions and have an outdoor or indoor-outdoor cat, it's covering the cat's ass to have all the vacs documented. If you're going to have an outdoor cat who hurts other cats, having the vacs documented is your only chance at getting the cat out of legal trouble. Having fostered for AC, if I were going to have an outdoor cat, I would probably make sure he was microchipped, ear-tipped, and that I had all the vac documents in a handy place. The micro-chipping and the ear-tipping will indicate to AC, at a glance (or swipe of scanner) that this is not some random stray.

And yeah, going along with the quarantine is your only option.
posted by MeiraV at 7:21 AM on May 6, 2012

Mod note: OP, this isn't the place to debate vaccination issues. Read the advice and use what's helpful, but this isn't a discussion space for arguing about the vax question.
posted by taz (staff) at 7:25 AM on May 6, 2012

I had a former stray who was happy to be in and out of the house during the day, but cried loudly and pitifully if I tried to keep him in at night. I hated the idea of him being out all night, as we nighttime predators in my area, but I couldnt sleep with the incessant all-night crying. After he'd been with me for about four months I decided to try one more time to keep him in -- lo and behold, he found a cuddly place on the bed with me and never again cried to go out at night.

So you may be surprised to find that your (beautiful) cat could be fine in quarantine. In any case, I don't see where you have much of a choice.
posted by Dolley at 7:27 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe some version of kitty Prozac could help Lumi survive quarantine. I agree with everyone else that you're not going to be able to avoid it.
posted by Mavri at 7:29 AM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your cats are adorable.

I would absolutely turn you in as frequently as possible if your cat was fighting with my cat. Because with my cat, if would literally be your cat beating up my cat because your cat is an ass, and my cat loves everyone. It is for this reason that my cat is a 100% indoor cat, because he loves everyone and is interested in being loving friends with everyone, from the neighborhood pooches to the asshole cats that wander around.

There isn't really anything you could say to me as a fellow owner other than you're sorry and that you will follow the order. Even then, after the 45 days elapse if I see your cat beating up other cats, I will still report you to animal control.

As adorable as Lumi is, if you have a problem cat you may eventually be in the position of having to put him down if you don't take action to correct this. I'd suggest complying with the order and using it as a trial period to see if he can stand being indoor-only. Both of my cats were 100% outdoor cats for the first 5 years of their lives, and though they frequently try to make a break for the door, they've adjusted well to being indoors. It just takes time and patience.

Good luck.
posted by arnicae at 7:30 AM on May 6, 2012 [19 favorites]

Please, follow the quarantine order.

And afterwards? Either get your cats in full compliance with rabies vaccacination laws, or keep them 100% indoors --- there's no middle ground. If you wish to leave them outside and interacting other animals (in your own words, "beating up other cats"), then in decency to those other cats and their owners you must follow vaccacination laws; if you refuse to follow those laws, then keep your cats completely away from others by never letting them out of your house.
posted by easily confused at 8:08 AM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Take the rabies vaccination issue off the table. I would argue that even if your cat has had every vaccination known to man, he should still be kept inside. Why? Because he poses a danger to other cats. We revoke the licenses of reckless drivers and send little kids to their rooms when they hit their sisters because we recognize that sometimes people need to be kept out of situations in which they are likely to hurt others. Unless and until your cat stops behaving aggressively, other animals need to be protected from him. It is irresponsible of you to let him out unless and until you can be sure that he will not harm others.

If you can't keep your cat from harming others without causing him psychological pain, I would argue that you should have him put to sleep, because an animal that needs to have the opportunity to harm others in order to be happy is not a healthy animal that can live safely in our world. But the bottom line is that you have a responsibility to prevent your cat from hurting other animals, and right now, the only way you can be sure to do that is to deny him access to other animals.
posted by decathecting at 8:10 AM on May 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

I get where you're coming from and that it's a tough situation. But as much as you wish to provide a happy, healthy, close to nature life for gorgeous Lumi, your neighbors don't want their pets to be injured, which seems to occur repeatedly. And I am sure any pet owner would worry about transmittable diseases, wouldn’t you?
I think you will have to bite the bullet here and work with the authorities. You put Lumi at risk otherwise. Does the quarantine have to be at the vet's? Or can you keep the cat at home?
Cats do adjust to many things, they are pretty tough.

For a long term solution: Would an outdoor cat cage be something you could consider? (I have a cat that shows uber territorial behavior and attacks every other (unfamiliar) cat that comes on the property, so now we have a fenced in area (little over 300 sf I think) and the cat stays within that area. She's happy that she can be outside and we get less cat fights = yay.)
posted by travelwithcats at 8:17 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you get your cat's blood tested for rabies antibody titer? That's the test you get done when moving overseas to show that the vaccine worked properly, and would remove the whole is he or isn't he vaccinated thing. Of course when we moved to Ireland from (rabies-free) New Zealand we still had to wait six months after the vaccination before we could move just in case our cats somehow magically had rabies when they were vaccinated. This is because the titer doesn't say anything about disease status, just that the vaccine worked, so it might not make any difference to your case.

The test was expensive and took several weeks to come back, although that was at least partially because the samples had to be sent to Australia, and you definitely need to be quarantining your cat in the meantime. We did do both vaccines to make sure the titer came back high enough, but weren't too worried about sarcoma since worst case scenario, they remove the leg the vaccination was done on and the the cat continues to live a full, happy life (worst case without the appropriate titer was giving the cats away and moving without them). So make sure it's going to have some kind of positive effect before spending the time and money.

Also for quarantining can you look into some kind of outdoor enclosure for the kitty to live in at least some of the time? It wouldn't be the same as being free but might be better than being totally inside all the time. Could get expensive depending on how expansive you want to go, but it beats having your cat put down because animal control caught him again.
posted by shelleycat at 8:20 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I understand your reluctance to over-vaccinate your kitty. In reality, rabies vaccines are probably effective for a good deal longer than they are labeled for. However, until long term studies allow them to labeled as such state law is going to require them to administered as directed by the manufacturer's directions. So if you do not follow these guidelines they can legally require you to quarantine your cat if he bites someone. They can do this EVERY TIME he bites someone. They can also fine you for non-compliance and the chances that they will do so is probably going to increase with each incident. So you have a few options.

First is, as other people have mentioned, looking into whether your municipality will accept titers in place of vaccinations. This would seem like a good option for you. You get some bllod drawn, send it to a lab, and receive paperwork stating that his immune response is still good from his previous vaccines. If it falls below a certain threshold you booster him. This will also guarantee that he does actually still have immunity. As I said before, longterm studies are lacking, so it's still not certain whether the vaccine is good for 5 years, 7, or 10. With humans it can vary from individual to individual. As someone who gets titers drawn I can tell you that my almost 15 year old vaccine is still protecting me, but a coworker needed a booster after 5 years.

Another option for you to consider, especially if vaccine related sarcomas are your primary concern, would be vaccinating with a non-adjuvanted vaccine like PureVax. VRSs have been shown to be more closely related to the adjuvant component of the vaccine rather than the vaccine itself. However, I believe these vaccines are only good for one year, which I feel like you may balk at. But consider reading up on it. It may be a good solution for you. (It is also worth noting that this is an incredibly rare side effect in all cases. They also occur in a much higher incidence with FeLV vaccines than with rabies or FVRCP.)

If your cat was strictly indoor only or even going outside but not mixing it up with other cats, I'd be more likely to have your back. But your cat is going outside and fighting with other cats. If you are not on the right side of the law here I think you're setting yourself up for bigger and more severe problems than simply over-vaccinating your cat. People have been over-vaccinating for a long time and only a very tiny minority of animals ever have any ill effect from it. If your cat gets labeled a dangerous animal from repeated bites you will be compelled to keep him indoor only or even have him euthanized. The 45 day quarantine is a slap on the wrist. If he does it again and still is not vaccinated, animal control may well start to get serious with you. It's time to do a cost/benefit analysis here.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:27 AM on May 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

Speaking to the should you contact the owners of the injured cat, I'm pretty sure there is nothing that you can say to them that isn't going to make them report the cat that injured their cat. Unless they don't like their own cat, that is. You might off to pay any vet's bills, but I doubt that is going to make much difference. Well, again, unless they don't like their own cat. Just as Lumi is your baby, so too I imagine their own cat is theirs, and they will want to protect it, so unless you've got a cat muzzle and booties magically on Lumi and can show them that there's no way he can do any damage, I think you'd be better off not stirring up emotions here.

As for animal control, you're just going to have to knuckle under. Your cat may not like it, but he's not going to die, no matter how miserable he may be. You will, however, not be in for a very fun 45 days. Get earplugs, is my advice. My sister had to turn her cat into an entirely indoor cat because it was being terrorised by a neightbour's cat and it was the only thing that allowed her to sleep through his plaintive wails at 4 in the morning.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:32 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks again for good advice and helpful information on safer vaccines.

Clearly I need to get the vaccine and will do that. I can see more clearly now from the neighbor's perspective (they might not believe what I believe about how long vaccines last), and I'll try to quarantine Lumi. But I'm not really that worried about the future, as I don't think he goes looking for trouble--I think he just happen to run across this cat in an area where there are a lot of rabbits, so more of a "protecting his turf" type reaction. (And I don't think he really hurt the cat, it was just described as a small bite that's typical when 2 cats fight.)

Perhaps lobbying to get the laws changed is not a bad idea. When I researched this online, there have evidently been petition drives of people trying to reduce quarantine times, and some lawmakers have actually considered ways to add some due process to the system.
posted by Jon44 at 8:43 AM on May 6, 2012

it was just described as a small bite that's typical when 2 cats fight

That still can turn nasty, though; it seems like cats get cysts at the drop of a hat.

When I was a girl I had a fluffy toy cat who was also named Kissa. Awww.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:37 AM on May 6, 2012

Do keep Lumi inside for the quarantine, hard as it will be. I had a kitty who was indoor/outddor, around two years old, who broke her leg badly somehow and had to be confined to a cage for 6 weeks. I did not think either she or the rest of the family could stand it, but it was not as bad as expected and she is a healthy happy kitty many years later. Cats get over stuff like that eventually, it is better than losing your lovely cat.
posted by mermayd at 9:45 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Quick story about why you must obey the quarantine.

I had a dog - completely up to date on shots, and also fixed - who was ordered into quarantine for biting a kid. The kid was poking him in the eye with a stick, but no matter the fact that the kid deserved a much more severe bite than he got, my dog bit the kid and was not a human, so had less rights.

I kept him on the ridiculous quarantine, muzzled him on walks, all of that. At the end of the ordered quarantine, I was going on vacation. I waited until 6pm, thinking they might come and inspect. At that point I left on my vacation, sending the dog to a friend's house for the weekend. Animal control showed up at my house at 7, I wasn't there, and they issued a "failure to quarantine" ticket to me, and a destroy order on the dog.

Luckily I worked for a law firm at the time, and one of the partners represented me pro bono. He made it go away, although I still had to take time off of work and go to court. If I'd have had to pay him, I'm sure it would have been $1,000+ to do so. If I hadn't had the lawyer, it would have cost me $300 for the ticket, and I'd have lost my dog buddy.

So, you must not only comply, but comply to the letter of the law, or be out money and probably your cat.
posted by Invoke at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

It's good that you're going to comply with the quarantine ordes and complete the vaccination of your cat.

A radio playing and some cat pheromone diffuser that plugs into a wall (can't recall the name of it) might help Lumi in the process.

Also, if he's an intact cat (not neutered), those hormones will cause him to wander and fight. If he's intact, you might consider getting him neutered, to cut down on the aggression and risk of injury.
posted by SillyShepherd at 10:28 AM on May 6, 2012

I recently quarantined for six months a cat who had been an outdoor cat all his life. (I had a newborn and handed over vet responsibility to DH - guess who didn't get vaccinated?) Anyway, it was more a pain in the ass for us as owners to remember to shut doors to keep him in, than it was for the cat. The cat will adjust, and I envy you the short time frame.

Also, as an owner myself of one feisty outdoor cat and one mellow outdoor cat, I don't think I'd be open to you subverting AC and the community laws. And I'd hope you offered to pay any vet bills my cat incurs because it's the right thing to do, especially since your cat seems to have known behavior as a fighty cat that's ok with you.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

To me the weirdest part of this question is that you seem perfectly cool with your cat regularly attacking other cats in the neighborhood. Even if you quarantine your cat for a short period you have to address this problem or someone else will. And you probably don't want animal control to do it since their solution will tend to be rather permanent.

If your cat is a menace to other animals you either have to figure out how to prevent that behavior (neutering if he isn't, etc) or you have to keep him inside permanently.
posted by Justinian at 1:03 PM on May 6, 2012 [20 favorites]

Okay, look. I'm going to be brutally honest. Nobody else has said this and it needs to be said.

My cat just had a $600 vet bill a couple of months back from being attacked by another cat whose owner let him run around, pretty much like yours. The cat came into my yard and attacked my cat. The wound got infected, which is pretty much standard for cat puncture wounds and it became an abscessed. If I found out that that cat's owners had exposed my cat to potential rabies for no good reason, I would be furious and I absolutely would call animal control. Be happy they're not forcing you to put your cat down.

Whether or not you think cats fighting is normal, you have a responsibility not to let an animal roam free that you KNOW is injuring other animals. It's even more irresponsible, possibly criminally so, that you let a known aggressive cat run around outside your property given the fact that you haven't bothered to follow up with vaccines for deadly diseases. What happens when your cat goes after a toddler?

You have NO IDEA whether or not your cat is safe from rabies, you're just assuming he is because the internet said so. Why on earth would Animal Control accept that as an answer? Vaccination schedules are designed to MAKE SURE that animals are protected. "Probably" isn't good enough. Go get him his rabies shots already and comply with the quarantine. And seriously, don't let your cat run around attacking other animals. I can't even believe that needs to be said.
posted by zug at 1:57 PM on May 6, 2012 [26 favorites]

I have sympathy for you because keeping a cat use to going outdoors completely inside sucks for the first couple of weeks but you need to keep him inside for the quarantine. If he gets reported to animal control, he'll be killed and your neighbor is going to be keeping an eye out since he punked on their cat.

If your cat is getting into fights on regular basis, I'd be worried about feline leukemia. I've lost a cat to that and known others in the past who have. Injuries through biting/scratching are one of the main ways of a cat catching it. I'm not a hard core vaccine person but my cat is vaccinated for this. If I lived in an area with a lot of outdoor cats with a high chance of fighting occurring, my cat would be an indoor cat, happy about it or not.

I had an ex with a fighty cat who lived in an area with lots of strays. He wouldn't keep him indoors even after he got an abscess on his tail from fighting. The cat didn't make it to 3 years old. He wanted to blame the cat getting sick on the low cost clinic where he got him fixed (probably too much guilt to admit the odds were much more in favor of FLV). I didn't want to kick him when he was down so I didn't say I told you so but he let that cat down. Don't let yours down. Find a way to keep him from fighting whether it's keeping him inside, getting him fixed if he's not or having an outside cat enclosure. I'm sure you love your cat so keep him safe It will help keep other cats safe too.
posted by stray thoughts at 2:43 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am going to put myself out on a limb here and say that if I were the owner of the cat yours injured, I would be cool with you talking to me about it, even if you said what you say here about the vaccination and quarantine. After all, if my cat got rabies from yours, it's already too late, whether or not you quarantine, so that doesn't affect me (except that I would be sad for you if animal control found and destroyed your cat while you were meant to be quarantining it).

Also, what people might be ignoring here is that the neighbour is ALSO making a choice to let her/his cat outside. Otherwise yours could not attack it. So they can hardly be all preachy about how you shouldn't let your cat roam.

I say this as someone whose cat is attacked by the neighbour cat on a weekly basis. I don't blame the neighbour. You can't "control" your cat once you choose to let it outside, and I understand why they choose to do so, because I make the same choice.

(And in case anyone is worried for MY cat, she only has been injured from these attacks once - mostly she runs away up a tree or back into the house through her cat door that is keyed to her so the neighbour's cat can't follow. And she still chooses to go outside, so she can't be too terrified of the other cat.)
posted by lollusc at 4:58 PM on May 6, 2012

For the good of the other cats and animals in your neighborhood, you should look on this quarantine as a blessing. Now you have 45 days to acclimate your aggressive cat that as attacked other animals into being an indoors kitty. Being an indoor cat will not only be safer for him, but the other animals in the neighborhood will be safer as well.

And if you're reluctant to keep him inside- I don't know the laws in your area, but around here if a documented agressive animal attacks another animal again, you're court-ordered to either confine the animal or put it down.

Your cat will adjust. Cats are actually quite flexible in their living arrangements if you give them enough time.
posted by shesaysgo at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2012

Obey the quarantine, vaccinate your damn cat, feel lucky that animal control didn't have it destroyed.

Seriously, what makes you think that you and your cat are above the rules set for everyone else?
posted by brand-gnu at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

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