Thursday, January 19, 2017

Neighborhood Cats

We have several cats in our neighborhood that wander through our yard daily. They don't seem to be strays, so I'm thinking each of them belongs to someone but is allowed out of the house.

When we moved in almost two years ago, there was a single black cat with a white stripe down his front that would come to our backdoor once a week (usually on Wednesdays...go figure) looking for food. I started giving him small bits of cooked meat from time-to-time, and over a period of months, his appearances became more and more frequent.

Soon, it got to the point where he came running over anytime I started cooking, even when the doors and windows were completely closed. One day, another cat started doing the same thing. This one was completely black. They would show up at different times, and they were always begging for food.

Earlier this year, a sweet little black cat with white paws and a white nose started appearing. His meow sounds like the cry of a baby, so you can imagine how startled I was when I was upstairs and heard it for the first time. He doesn't beg as much as the others do, but when he does, I almost always give him something because he's just so cute.

A couple weeks ago, he approached the backdoor, and the original cat, clearly not approving, came rushing over. The original cat stepped right up to the door and lunged at the other one when he tried to come up next to him. This went on for a few minutes, as the cute cat slowly inched his way closer to the door. They both eventually left.

Last weekend, we were watching the Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys football game. We were having trouble getting the channel we needed, so we cracked the door open and put the antenna outside. (We don't have TV service.)

About an hour into the game, Mr. Handsome shouted, "Cat!" and we both rushed over to the door to find that the cute cat with white paws had managed to push the door open and was halfway into our house. I gently pushed him back and pushed the door closed as much as I could.

For the next two hours, he tried to open that door. He would stick his little white paw inside and try to squeeze his way in. I couldn't help but take a couple pictures. We kept putting things in front of the door, but he kept pushing them out of the way.

Of course, we would have loved to bring him in and pet him, but we're just too concerned about fleas. Mr. Handsome's family had a battle with fleas when he was a kid, and it took a very long time to get rid of them.

Despite our refusal to let him into our house, the cat with white paws often sits by our front door waiting for us to come outside. He always brightens my day. We have seen a few other cats around (one that is a beautiful tan color), but they have never approached the door. Do you have cats in your neighborhood?

54 comments:

  1. Anonymous1/19/2017

    Fleas shouldn't be a huge concern this time of year if you've had below-freezing temps or snow for any extended period. That holds down the flea numbers outside.

    The best way to stop your flea concerns is to find the cats' owners, return the cats, and not let them into your house. Or if they are homeless, take them to a vet, adopt them, and make them indoor-only. Then the only fleas that could get to the cat(s) would be what you or someone else brought in on yourselves. (It happens.)

    I had fleas in my house one time, after we'd had company stay with us along with their kids. They had a big dog at home. I think we had hitchhikers come along on their toys or luggage or sleeping bags. I refused to use flea spray or any chemicals on my (indoor) cats, so I got rid of the fleas by combing and vacuuming and throwing every "soft" thing (throw rugs, bedding) I could into the dryer every day. The vacuum bag came out of the vacuum and went into the freezer overnight. It took about a week of this routine, but I got rid of every flea and never saw them again. My vet gave me a gold medal!

    You really should try to find these cats' owners and make sure they know what the cats are up to. If they are strays, they could be unhealthy or carrying a disease you don't want other cats catching. They should be spayed or neutered. It's possible your community has laws against cats wandering free (mine does - a "leash law" for cats as well as dogs). It's also possible these cats have owners who don't care or aren't taking care of them properly.

    Situations like this make me sad. I'm a supporter of a local cat shelter and an avid cat lover. No cat should be out wandering and poking its nose into someone else's house, or begging for food. I hope you can resolve this situation for the good of the cats involved.

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    1. You sound like a cat expert. Thanks for sharing that information. :) We have a pretty big neighborhood, so it would be difficult to figure out who the cats belong to. I would truly love to adopt one of them, but we are currently renting and aren't able to. Maybe in the future though.

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous1/21/2017

      We once found out who a stray cat belonged to by putting a collar on it with a note attached, saying it was wandering over to Such-And-Such Street, and did it have an owner? The cat showed up later with a return note, explaining where he lived. Surprised me, because I knew those people and thought they were more responsible pet owners than they turned out to be. Wandering cats face all sorts of horrible dangers! It's irresponsible to let cats loose, and in some places, illegal.

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    3. What a clever way to figure out who the owner is!

      Ellie

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  2. Anonymous1/19/2017

    That is such a cute and interesting story! Needless to say I'm glad that didn't happen to me, since I'm allergic to cats. I was wondering Ellie who old you are? If you don't want me to know that is totally fine. I understand...I was just trying to guess your age. Thanks, again for the posts! :D

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    1. Anonymous1/19/2017

      I believe she is 23.

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the story. Mr. Handsome and I are both slightly allergic to dogs, but cats don't seem to bother us. I'm in my early-ish 20s. I finished my bachelor's degree two years ago. :)

      Ellie

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    3. Anonymous1/21/2017

      Thank you so much for letting me know! That's what I thought. You are definitely young and beautiful! <3

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  3. Ellie,
    There is a cat that is black and white that roams our neighborhood. We don't know who it belongs to. I'm always concerned a wild animal might it. We live in a rural area with coyotes,javelinas,etc.
    I agree with Anon about adopting the cats, finding the owners, or find a cat shelter in your area. We just adopted two tabby kittens from our cat shelter and they are such a joy! Keep us updated about the cats.

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    1. Hi Regina,

      I'm curious what a javelina is?

      That's wonderful that you adopted two cats from a shelter. That's such a great thing to do!

      Ellie

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    2. Javelinas are the large animals that resemble wild boar. I had never heard of them until we moved to AZ last year. They are vicious (and ugly!)from what I heard and thankfully I haven't run into one or a herd yet on on of my walks.

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  4. Anonymous1/19/2017

    There's a black cat that roams our neighborhood every morning at the same time. There's also one that was grey and white and would come up to our neighbor's back door and look in the house when the TV was on at night. It happened a couple times when I was babysitting and was really shocked by it the first time-I thought it was a person looking in, haha!

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    1. What a smart cat to have a daily routine. Lol. And that would be quite creepy to look out the window and see a face staring at you. Poor little thing probably just wanted to watch some TV. :)

      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous1/19/2017

    Animals are so special. But things like fleas are icky. I would not want fleas in my house either. Who would? Maybe if you had house guests that you wanted to move along it would help.

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    1. Anonymous1/20/2017

      Sorry but this comment is a bit too catty, it is better to be nice isn't it?

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    2. Sounds like you are an animal lover that just doesn't like fleas. Nothing wrong with that. I'm right there with ya! If we were to adopt an animal, I would definitely have it treated for fleas before bringing it into the house. And then if we did get fleas, I would call the first commenter and ask for advice.

      Ellie

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    3. Anonymous1/22/2017

      Saying fleas could get rid of house guests is not very nice.

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    4. Anonymous1/23/2017

      You don't need to have a cat "treated" for fleas, especially if you get it from a reputable place. They shouldn't have fleas in the first place. You can check with a flea comb, or ruffle the fur over a white towel or paper to check for flea droppings. Don't put chemicals on a cat who doesn't need it! Vacuuming everything (floors and upholstery) gets rid of 90% of fleas in the house immediately. (You do have to dispose of the bag where you empty the vacuum.) The other 10% of the fleas, you have to do repeated vacuuming (as the fleas move or the eggs hatch) or tumble stuff in the dryer. As long as the cat is not going outside or is around other animals who might transmit fleas, you will win any flea battle indoors, no sprays, bombs, flea treatments, or chemicals needed. Did you know that fleas spend most of their time off the animals, and only hop on for a meal? So what you see on an animal is only a reflection of what you have going on in your environment. You need to tackle that thoroughly, not just the animal.

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  6. Anonymous1/19/2017

    Their use to be a black cat that would sit on my window still outside my house and my cat and that cat would meow and hiss at each other everyday. But the cat has been around in years. I think the cat was taking to the animal selter. Also the black cat didn't have a tail.

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    1. Poor little tailless cat. That must have looked strange. We had a tailless squirrel that roamed around the yard of the house I lived in in college. He was very cute but definitely a bit odd looking.

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous1/19/2017

    The picture of the cat is cute. It just wanted to come inside since his family does care for him anymore.

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    1. That's what I was thinking, too. Thankfully he seems to be well fed (nice and plump...lol). And I throw him scraps when I have them.

      Ellie

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  8. Anonymous1/19/2017

    I new someone that had fleas in their house and they had to bomb their house to get the fleas out and they haven't had fleas since.

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    1. Oh my. Glad they haven't had them since!

      Ellie

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  9. Anonymous1/19/2017

    I have a thirteen year old cat. She is quite spry. In her lifetime she has caught a lot of mice. At night when I am in bed she likes to get on me, she well lay along the arm that is up if I am on my side. And when I watch TV she loves to get on my lap. Her purr starts as soon as she is given a pat and it is like a loud little motor. She has been with me since she was born to a cat we had once, she was an only kitty. You might make a good pet keeper if you work at home. But it is a big responsibility. This kitty has been around as all the kids grew up and moved out. Also cat businesses are not really to be handled by pregnant women, due to the threat of toxoplasmosis which is common to cats. They can mess up the flower beds too.

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    1. Sounds like a very sweet animal. Another person told me recently about the danger that cat litter boxes can be to pregnant women. We hope to have children in the next couple years, so that would be an issue.

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous1/21/2017

      Read up on Toxoplasmosis, or better yet, talk to a veterinarian. Your chances of contracting that disease are higher from eating undercooked meat or gardening outside where stray cats wander than it is from your indoor pet's litter box. If you start with a healthy cat before pregnancy and keep the cat inside, don't eat undercooked meat that hasn't been previously frozen, and don't garden without gloves on and proper hand washing, then you'll be find. This is not a "litter box" danger per se. More to it than that. Ask or research. Don't listen to old wives' tales. A vet or doctor can set you straight.

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    3. Anonymous1/21/2017

      I've heard that about the cat litter boxes as well. However, when we were in Korea, and I was pregnant I didn't have any choice but to scoop the box. My husband was out in the field a lot for training. So, I tried to make it safer by putting on gloves and a mask whenever I did anything with the litter box.

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    4. Anonymous1/22/2017

      My vet told me that in 30 years of being an animal doctor, he's only encountered 1 human case of toxoplasmosis, which was contracted from undercooked pork, not from exposure to that family's pets.

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    5. Anonymous1/22/2017

      Their was a episode about toxoplasmosis on Animal Planet's show "Monsters Inside Me".

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    6. Anonymous1/23/2017

      It's not impossible to contract, it's just not as likely to be contracted by scooping a litter box as the tales try to make you believe. It depends on the cat's exposure, and if he/she is actively shedding the cysts. My indoor cats (bred indoors & kept indoors since birth) have never killed any wild animals, eaten anything but commercial cat food, or been in contact with areas where infected cats may roam. So there's zero chance I'm going to pick up Toxo from their litter. The people who adopt feral cats with unknown health histories, then let them roam outdoors, would be at higher risk. Still, you can get your cat tested so you know what you're dealing with (or not).

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    7. Anonymous1/23/2017

      That's why my dad's always had litter box duty, haha. My mom (whole family, really) loves cats, so there was never any question about having one... or several... dad was put on litter box duty many many many years ago due to the possible (but unlikely) chance of toxoplasmosis. Our cats have also always strictly been indoor cats, which as another commenter above noted, majorly cuts down on the possibility.

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  10. Anonymous1/19/2017

    I have 5 cats all spayed and neutered, and they act just like 5 yr. olds! Jealous of each other. They go inside and out as they wish. One of my cats likes to go through the house and open doors to cabinets and one of my china cabinets. We have a couple of doors in the house where the door knobs were removed so they could go in and out of those rooms. They put their paws under the door and pull it open. I have one cat that tries desperately to turn the door knob to the front door to go outside. Put a couple of drops of raw apple cider vinegar into their drinking water for flea control. Cats are very smart.

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    1. Anonymous1/20/2017

      I am intrigued by the apple cider vinegar idea. Would it work for dogs too?

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    2. Lol! Sounds like they are quite smart. The apple cider vinegar thing is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

      Ellie

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    3. Anonymous1/21/2017

      I wouldn't put vinegar in a cat's water dish. They may refuse to drink it (would you?), and then you're in danger of causing kidney damage or failure, along with all sorts of other problems that can come with dehydration or under hydration. You could end up with bigger problems than fleas, which can be controlled by keeping the cats inside and keeping their environment clean.

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  11. Anonymous1/19/2017

    AWW! So cute! I absolutely love cats. Yes we have cats in our neighborhood.

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  12. Shela G1/19/2017

    I had three cats for many years. They stayed indoors and I had them all fixed. We had a nighborhood cat that would come to the window to tease them. It always made me laugh to watch them.
    I am an Animal Lover. My husband and I now have 2 dogs that are our like our children.

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    1. I agree that it's quite entertaining to watch animals (especially cats) interact. Growing up, we never had cats or dogs, but we always had at least one pet. Birds were our favorite, and we had hamsters, too.

      Ellie

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  13. We have a fluffy white cat with a little bit if black on it that visits our yard every now and then. It hasn't begged for food though, it runs away as soon as we go outside. We discovered it belongs to people across the road. My favourite animal visiting our yard was where we used to live in Darwin. It was only a unit with a small yard and our neighbour used to let their rabbit out in their yard. It regularly got under the fence to eat the grass in our yard! It was such a treat to come home to this gorgeous fluffy rabbit hopping around the yard nibbling on grass 😊

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    1. That's very sweet! Our friends had a rabbit when I was growing up ("Honey" the bunny) but it wasn't too friendly. We watched it a few times when they went on vacation, and we enjoyed letting it hop around our basement. Were your neighbors concerned about predators?

      Ellie

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  14. Anonymous1/20/2017

    My neighbor has a huge cat who looks like a grumpy old man. His favorite hobby is to sit in front our patio door, and stare at us until we start feeling uncomfortable and close the curtains. Hahaha!

    Josée

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    1. That's hilarious! I can totally picture a cat that looks like a grumpy old man. My friend has one. Gray, long haired, and chubby.

      Ellie

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  15. Anonymous1/20/2017

    We a cute little cat that always comes at our door and tries to open it.(He is a out door cat, but we bring him in at night)

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    1. What color is your cat?

      Ellie

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  16. Anonymous1/20/2017

    Many years ago I was a nanny to this family who had a couple of female cats, who were not fixed. There also in the neighborhood was a male cat who was the neighborhood "stud" who actually came into our house so he can get "romantic" with whichever female cat was "available". Needless to say one of their cats did get out and had a "date" with him. She had the cutest kittens though.
    The second cat also got out had a "date".

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    1. Oh my! Did you keep the kittens?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous1/21/2017

      My reaction is more like oh my, why weren't those cats spayed and neutered?! This is why shelters are overflowing.

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    3. Regina1/21/2017

      No the family was able to find homes for all of them. I don't know why they were never spayed or neutered. This was in 1991 in CA. I think the laws have changed and I think now pets have to be spayed or neutered.

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  17. I love cats. I have a male tabby who's 17. His sister recently died, she was 17 too. They were rescue kittens. :)

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  18. What a cute cat! I currently have a little tortoiseshell kitten who will be turning one in February. My parents have a cute black cat that shows up on their doorstep almost every evening, that I've seen hanging around the neighborhood when I go on walks. I think he knows that they have a soft spot for cats :)

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  19. Anonymous1/23/2017

    My sister had 6 cats at one time but know she has 2. 4 of her cats have died and last year she got 2 more kittens they are so cute. Know she has 4 cats again.


    I only have 1 cat this is my second cat.

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  20. Anonymous1/25/2017

    We have 3 cats, although I think in the UK we have a slightly different way of looking after cats. Ours are all chipped, vaccinated and neutered/spayed, have their claws and they are free to go in and out of a cat flap as they like. Here we are used to other cats popping into our gardens, and we don't feed them. So that would be my advice, but as I say I think things differ between our ways of cat care.
    But that little cat in your picture is sooo cute I'd find it hard to resist lol
    Bee :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Bee. It's always interesting to hear how people in other countries do things. I know, that cute little thing was so hard to resist!

      Ellie

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