The Lonely cat next door

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Shaggy
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The Lonely cat next door

Post by Shaggy » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:54 pm

My elderly neighbour is in hospital and may not return home for a ‘while’. The house is available for the cat to use but is not in the best condition. The elderly cat now lives in the garden and has a cardboard box for shelter. Friends of my neighbour make sure she has food and water but do not live as close as me so they are not as aware of the cat crying. I go round and provide some affection, but I also naively thought that the RSPCA would help the cat, as the conditions are not exactly a warm, dry, safe and loving home. However my approaches to them were met with aggression and acccusations that my interfering was putting their representative at risk due to the changes in the Data Protection Laws. The officer took one look at the cat ‘never touched her’ and declared herself satisfied before refusing point blank to talk to me. I now understand that Social services will be helping out the cat and I am wondering how long that might take... Does anyone know? Are they legally obliged to do so within a certain time limit? Lonely always seems pleased to see me but I worry that by appearing and then disappearing I may be making it harder for her. It is not possible to discuss this with my actual neighbour in hospital as we have not been neighbours for very long and sadly my personal circumstances mean that I cannot provide ‘Lonely Cat’ with shelter myself. Does anyone have advice? I have never had a cat as a family member but Lonely has touched a nerve. Any reply would be appreciated.

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Kay
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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Kay » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:57 am

this is a very sad situation, and I can understand totally how it is bugging you - poor cat has lost its owner and home and must be totally bewildered - the only good thing is that it's summer so cold is not a problem

do the people feeding Lonely have funds from him, or her, which could be used to provide a better kennel, as a cardboard box is not going to survive for long now it's raining? or perhaps someone is able to pay for a decent cattery, where the cat would get more interaction and be looked after? Can the cat get into the house if it wants to?

most of us on here have little time for the RSPCA, to be honest, as they rarely help animals in need, despite their ads - Cat Protection or a rescue may be able to advise you - have a look at the rescues in your area listed on the home page

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Shaggy » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:29 am

Hi Kay, thank you for your reply. There is a Cat Protection League office not far from me and I am going to contact them tomorrow. A little nervous doing so after the reaction from the RSPCA but hopefully they can at least discuss it with me. I have just been to see Lonely and my neighbour’s friends have checked the box over and the food is placed inside. She was nowhere to be seen and I hoped she had gone indoors but hearing a meow I found her hiding under a wet bush on wet soil...there has been much rain here. She would not come out to say hello today. I am at a loss to understand why a domestic cat who let’s face it has a mental age of a child should be deemed okay to live in this way by the RSPCA. The couple looking after her are doing their best but were not happy that I contacted the RSPCA. I feel that any suggestions from me would be unwelcome and may result in my not being allowed to visit Lonely. Hopefully I will have better news tomorrow.

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Ruth B
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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Ruth B » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:25 pm

Poor little thing, she must be confused. Does she have access to the house via a cat flap and is choosing not to go in, or is she shut out and can only get in or out while people visit. All of my cats have been spending a lot of time outside while it has been hot and sunny, and even today with the rain they are still wanting to be outside, as long as she has somewhere dry and warm to go if she wants then she should be ok.

I think you will find that Cat Protection people will have more in the way of manners than the RSPCA rep you spoke to, but they might not be able to do more than advise. Most rescues are full at the moment as it is still kitten season and unless someone signs her over for rehoming they can't really give space for her. They might be able to offer advise about a better shelter for her.

I very much doubt your going to see her is causing any problem for her, she is probably enjoying the company. I would try and make peace with the people who are coming around to look after her, explain that you were only concerned and wanted to help, you didn't realise what the RSPCA was like, perhaps you could offer to help look after her, take over feeding her once a day or something, if they are close friends or relatives of the elderly neighbour then they are probably stressed out about them as well, and no doubt the cats owner will be asking about her all the time.

I know from experience what they are going through, towards the end of last year my Mum was hospitalised for a month and then had to be moved to a nursing home, she was constantly worried about her cat and what would happen to her even though she knew my sister and I were looking after her while house sitting and i would be taking her in if Mum couldn't move back home.

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Shaggy » Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:35 pm

Hi Ruth, they are a couple she met in the pub and occasionally cut the grass for her, so when I say friends they keep an eye on her mainly. I did offer to help I.e. keep the garden tidy but was told my assistance was unnecessary. It is possible the elderly lady may not return so it concerns me that Lonely may have to live outside a long time unless Social Services do something. I have considered offering to look after the cat but I am currently treading carefully. It is possible for the cat to go indoors but I don’t think it is a very ‘comfortable’ environment and I doubt she is inclined to do so.

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Sniper1 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:15 pm

Hi you say the house may not be a comfortable environment I doubt very much the cat will see it that way its what she's used to with her familiar sleeping places etc its safety and shelter if she needs it she will use it and probably is happy outdoors at this time of year and also as a cat she has all the skills and instincts to potentially survive as a wild animal so much more capable mentally and physically than a small child as you previously mentioned the situation is not ideal but life has its ups and downs but she has what she needs and is being looked out. for so I would advise keep an eye out give her what company you can and otherwise leave well alone

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Ruth B
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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Ruth B » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:33 pm

Unfortunately as she has a known owner, access to the house if she wants to, and someone is providing food and water for her, most charities can't do anything to help, cats are often thought of as solitary animals and even if they weren't loneliness isn't viewed as life threatening. It could well be if the house is shut up in the heat it is just more comfortable for her in the garden. What a cat considers suitable accommodation is often different to what a human might. I can only suggest that you carry on as you have done, give her some company and let those that are feeding her know that you are there if needed but don't be too pushy about it.

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Shaggy » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:59 pm

Thank you everyone for the advice and perhaps as a dog parent rather than as a cat companion I might be overthinking her needs from what you say. I always thought cats didn’t like being wet but perhaps when it is mild outside they don’t mind. I think it would be less concerning if she wasn’t locked in the garden, but it is probably safer for her as an elderly cat. I have seen her little paws scrabbling away at the garden gate in an attempt to get out once, but otherwise she doesn’t seem to want to wander. I had assumed from tv programmes about pets that the house would not be a suitable environment for any living being but perhaps cats are an exception as accommodation of this type is usually featured on the ‘Dog Rescuers’. I can often see her clearly from my side of the fence so I will stop having sleepless nights and see how it goes. The forecast is dry tomorrow and the following week so she should be more comfortable outdoors. My previous neighbour had an indoor cat that was scared of both thunder and fireworks .... which are frequent in the summer here , but as she appears to be a little deaf these might not bother her. I will post again if I have an update.

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Ruth B » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:52 am

I'm sorry, I think we may all have been underestimating the state of the house. In a truely filthy house a cat does have a few advantages over dogs left in the same conditions. Most of the time any spilt food or drink and any urine and faeces is normally on the floor or the soft furnishings, sofas, beds etc. these are the areas dogs are normally confined to so they are at danger of lying in it and even getting urine burns and the like. A cat lives in a far more 3D world and even an elderly cat, as long as they don't have serious physical problems, will normally find a cleaner area higher up, table, work surfaces and shelves can all be refuges to a cat stranded in that type of place. However places like that also smell and attract flies in the summer months, so while a cat's sense of smell isn't as acute as a dogs it probably is nice to be outdoors while the weather is nice.

Some cats hate being out in the rain others don't seem to care, as long as she has shelter then she should be fine while the weather is warm. As her shelter is only cardboard you might want to keep half an eye on that and if it seems to be collapsing have a spare box you could offer as a replacement, or even suggest putting a wheelie bin on its side for her assuming there is one that isn't being used at the moment. As long as who ever does it makes sure the lid can't be closed it could make a good temporary shelter for her.

As for fireworks, every cat is different, I have had one that was terrified of them, but I also have one that likes to sit on a windowsill and watch the lights. As long as she has somewhere she can hide and feel safe, even if it is just under a bush she should be alright.

Thank you for caring about her and trying your best to help. Let us know what happens.

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Shaggy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:20 pm

Hi Everyone,

I popped to see Lonely this morning and she was sunning herself on the back steps and seemed in good spirits. This afternoon I called the Cat Protection Office to ask advice on a shelter and they will get back to me within three days as no one was available to take the call. If they are helpful I will pop round and see my neighbours friend’s to check whether a new shelter would be okay. If ‘Cat Protection’ cannot help I think maybe I will get her a large pet carrier for her to use as a den if she is outside for a while. Either way I will check first with the couple who are feeding Lonely. When I went round this evening to say goodnight she ran up to see me and managed a short but distinct purr as I gave her a stroke.

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Sniper1 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:11 am

I have used the covered litter trays as outdoor shelters if you wrap e couple of wheelie bin bags around them and tape up with waterproof tape place a brick or other heavy object on top and find a sheltered place in the garden they make a snug little den

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Re: The Lonely cat next door

Post by Shaggy » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:11 pm

Hi Everyone,

Thanks again for all the info which I will remember for future reference. However in this case I am very happy to say I met a kind and knowledgeable lady today who is looking after the cat mentally and physically and is well qualified to do so. Together with my neighbours friends all her needs are being met, so I will just pop along to say hi a couple of times a day. Thank you for listening I was very worried about the cat and it was great to receive your replies.

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