How do we get our neighbors cat to stop 'living' on our deck?
August 22, 2018 8:51 AM   Subscribe

We live in a rural area, and currently have 4 (indoors) cats and a new 3 month old puppy who we are in the process of trying to train. Our neighbors cat from down the block has adopted our deck as her new residence. She is hanging out, sleeping, peering in our doors and windows, virtually 18 hours a day. We think she is looking for the companionship and play friends that our home has. The cat (female) is extremely friendly, affectionate and comes across starves for interaction and affection from people or other animals. However, she is causing havoc within our home. Our puppy is unable to concentrate or focus her puppy energy on anything but getting to the cat outside. Our cats are constantly at the doors and windows in' puffy tail' hiss mode ready to defend their property.

We have spoken to the cats owners who have deemed her a 100% outdoor pet. They had the cat get her shots, licensed, provide shelter and food in an outside portion of their home, but have said that the cat is not a part of their indoor living space; leaving the cat to roam the town at will....Understood....

While my daughters have given the cat attention, we do not feed her, and have instructed our girls to ignore the cat going forth in hopes to make our property less appealing. Unfortunately, we cannot convey that message to our puppy or 4 cats who remain obsessed.

Our porch is gated, we do not have a fence along our large property, although cats can pretty much maneuver as they wish.

We have been patient as we are 'animal' people ourselves, but can no longer have this cat disrupt our own family animal population's lives.

If it were a deer or bear roaming our property, we could get the city or animal control involved. This is someone's pet. We have reached out to our neighbors again in hopes of brainstorming some sort of solution.

We are not in the position to take her in ourselves, as much as my daughters would like, on top of the fact that she is not a stray. We just want her to find another place to hang out.

Are there any deterrent sprays that are not harmful to animals, and may deter her from hanging out on our deck? At the same time, it can't be harmful to our puppy.

kind of at a loss here....hope this is enough details to garner some advice...
posted by TwilightKid to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think there are a couple of "usual" methods here:

1) Block the view through the windows for a while, so the indoor animals cannot see the outdoor animal;

2) Set up a motion-activated sprinkler.
posted by amtho at 8:59 AM on August 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

My first thought is a motion sensor sprinkler for when you are not present. And a hand held water sprayer when you are.
posted by RedEmma at 9:00 AM on August 22, 2018 [10 favorites]

Spray bottle of water, and not set on 'mist'. Daubing orange or lemon essential oils in strategic places on the porch. Setting up empty soda cans that fall/make a noise when the cat tries to get by them. Coating the porch in aluminum foil. Maybe making sure the puppy is hungrier or your using tastier treats for training when the cat is around.
posted by cocoagirl at 9:11 AM on August 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Honestly...I would call animal control. A cat that spends 100% of its time outside, is clearly starved for affection, and whose owners will not keep it from being a nuisance, deserves a better home. I would see if there’s a shelter that could rehome the cat, and the next time it’s on your property, take it there or call them to pick it up.

I understand about “this is someone’s pet” but your neighbors don’t treat her like a pet, they leave her vulnerable all day long to anything that could get her, and they don’t even provide her with the minimum of companionship that pets need. That’s pretty shitty. You’ve asked them to address the situation and they’ve refused. So....animal control. If for no other reason than to have the city provide the consequences required in this situation that you may not have the authority to enforce.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2018 [42 favorites]

I would let the puppy out on the deck/porch if it is gated. Or, the automatic sprinkler.
posted by AugustWest at 9:33 AM on August 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

They are poor pet owners neglecting their pet’s emotional needs. I agree with Autumnheart about rehoming. If you don’t want to go that route yet: since the cat is collared can you erect an invisible fence around your property and have the cat wear a shock collar? Personally, I think the owners should wear the collar too so they can feel the effects of their neglect. Alternately, does your jurisdiction have any bylaws about keeping pets under control? If so, I would call bylaw to lodge a complaint.
posted by saucysault at 10:00 AM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Agree with Autumnheart - the cat is causing problems for your family, two and four-footed, but it's also neglected. Just solving your problem still leaves this poor kitty vulnerable and neglected.
posted by jzb at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Just draw the blinds or otherwise cover the windows. Indoor pets will be less distracted, outdoor cat will be less interested in your house if it can't peer inside.
posted by desuetude at 1:10 PM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

If your property around the house was fenced, you could put your dog (or borrow one) in the yard. Either the neighbor cat is totally chill and loves dogs as well, or will stear clear. Either way, the boundaries are set.
Yes to motion-sensor sprinklers, spray bottles and "Scat!" Others have mentioned scents that may discourage animals sprayed around the house.
Yes to making this a family thing, although the children seem to have a soft spot for a friendly neighbor.
No to outside feeders or cat doors. I've found a couple of rural animals in my sun room that way, with my cats perched on the sofa.

I have been an indoor / outdoor cat and dog owner (no pets at this time), and would not be pleased with someone saying "oh, poor neglected kitty." A fenced yard and access to food and water and season-appropriate shelter while the adults are at work and the kids are at school is just fine.

This is going to take some consistent "Go home!" commands. Luckily, she has a home to go to.
posted by TrishaU at 5:21 PM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

There are “predator eyes” that you can stick to windows to deter outdoor cats. I don’t know if they work. The Humane Society has some other suggestions.
posted by soelo at 6:26 PM on August 22, 2018

Do not steal your neighbor's cat. Do not take it to a shelter, you think an adult cat is going to be better off there? If you call animal control your neighbors will know and hate you.

Do not pay any attention to the cat when it shows up, including shooing it away.

Do close your blinds. Do encourage your kids to pet the cat in your neighbor's yard or somewhere else away from your house (not in response to seeing the cat in the yard, just walk by new place a few times a day). Do consider a motion activated deterrent.
posted by momus_window at 8:21 PM on August 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

Some cats act like they are desperately starved for attention when they get lots and lots of it - it’s not necessarily a sign of neglect. My smaller cat, for example, runs up and weaves frantically around anyone who arrives and miaus piteously as though she has never ever been fed or loved, is a poor terribly abused cat, even though she is the cat that everyone always pets all the time even while they are doing other things because she likes it so much. So I would strongly not recommend trying to rehome the cat - not only would it make the neighbors mad, it may well be sad for the kitty as well.

Motion activated sprinklers are probably your easiest bet.
posted by corb at 9:23 PM on August 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

From a different side of things... what happens if you simply decide that she is also YOUR personal outdoor cat, who comes inside your house to visit her buddies? And similarly, let your crew out on the deck to go visiting/slowly make friends. I recognize that your kitties and pup won't be super pleased by this in the first place, but if they ultimately decide that the outdoor cat is really part of your family too, that may settle things down all the way around. I've got an outdoor catio on my deck, where my fella kitties can go outside in a chickenwire run. If they had a bud that dropped by that they had gotten to know, they'd be pretty stoked.

My only concern is if she wouldn't happen to be litter trained, might wind up with a couple of accidents in your house.
But maybe restrict her visiting to the kitchen. If it's a female, then things should be pretty zen on her end, she won't likely be marking.

Sometimes it's easier to just go along with what the outdoor kitty wants to do. After regular visits and introductions between miss cat and your crew, things should settle considerably.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 9:45 PM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had the same situation and just let him in. My indoor-only cats got over it. Now he comes over for frequent playdates.
posted by jamaro at 11:11 PM on August 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you live in the country, outdoor cats are part of that lifestyle. DO NOT call animal control unless you want your neighbors to hate you forever.

Here's a different idea: let the cat inside. Don't keep it, but let it become part of your family some of the time. The other cats will eventually find it way less threatening and your puppy will slobber all over it and then the cat will want to leave. Repeat as necessary.

I guess the motion activated sprinkler thing would be worth a try too. You could also try planting cat nip on the other side of your house or somewhere on your property where the other animals can't see. Then maybe she'll hang out there.
posted by purple_bird at 9:14 AM on August 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

If it were a deer or bear roaming our property, we could get the city or animal control involved.

Sure, because they're potentially dangerous. Were it a persistent squirrel or bluejay distracting your animals, you would not get any recourse from the city or animal control and you would just chalk it up to nature, no? Once the cat moves on, your animals may well find themselves with a new obsession. I get that you're not thrilled with your neighbor allowing their cat to roam and that it's a distraction to your kids, though.

I have neighbors who let their cats roam and in some cases aren't fixed. Plus the actual strays. Imagine how the howling of mating cats echoes at night in the concrete-walled backyards of an urban rowhouse neighborhood, and you'll understand that I am indeed sympathetic.
posted by desuetude at 9:53 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

71 percent. That's how many cats taken to shelters are euthanized. Only 29 percent find homes.

If you call animal control, they may very well take the cat to a shelter. Do you want to be responsible for this friendly lonely cat being killed? Do you feel ok with that? Is that preferable to having the cat look in your windows?

If the current situation is intolerable and you absolutely can't invite the cat inside, maybe you could try to look for another home for the cat? Your daughter loves the kitty; maybe instead of adopting the kitty yourselves you could explain to her that the best way to help her is to get her another loving home?
posted by nirblegee at 6:57 PM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

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