How to deal with a neighbour's careless pet ownership. Call SPCA or mind my own business?

Our neighbours got a kitten around the same time we did. Ours was 8 weeks old when she arrived and theirs (male) appeared to be about 5 or 6 weeks old, already having been through another home, and very small. They feed him a very poor quality adult cat food (we share a recycling bin). He is now 4.5 months old and about the size of an 8 week old. They have allowed him to roam outside unsupervised since the day they brought him home. We're in the city on a high traffic intersection with an alley full of tomcats, raccoons and coyotes. He's never seen a vet. No vaccinations, no checkups, no deworming and they told me they don't intend to neuter because of the expense. It is obnoxious to offer unsolicited advice or to pass judgement on someone who chooses to raise their child/pet differently than you. But at what point does questionable pet parenting become neglectful or abusive? I don't see him living long without intervention. How or when does one intervene?

Best Answers

  • Joy WaltersJoy Walters Member Posts: 9,276
    Accepted Answer
    I believe that the treatment of this cat has reached and exceeded the point of becoming neglectful and possibly abusive as well. We certainly all have our own ways of caring for children or animals, but this is not "caring for" the animal, it's neglect. As a former animal rescue worker, when I see an animal being mistreated, I still intervene although I am no longer affiliated with a group. It's possible that the people are ignorant of how to care for the cat and he was an "impulse" adoption. If your channels of communication with these people is open and friendly, initiate a discussion, starting with how much you love your own new "baby" and ask how theirs is getting along. Be polite and non-confrontational. If the subject arises, ask if they've rethought adopting the cat and offer to take it "off their hands". Refund their adoption costs. Then get the poor thing to a vet asap. If you can't get anywhere with a friendly discussion, then notify the SPCA. Good luck. Keep us posted.
  • Karin TomasovichKarin Tomasovich PhoenixvilleMember Posts: 101
    Accepted Answer
    I would intervene that young absolutely! Mention to them about low cost clinics in your area and call SPCA and ask how to handle. Me personally I would just take him vet and neuter and keep him - people who adopt should take on the FULL responsibility of caring for an animal. I rescue and foster and I have already trapped kittens owned by other people and spayed/neutered without their consent cause they have been careless and don't care
  • Kelly BeckerKelly Becker Member Posts: 56
    Accepted Answer
    Oh this kind of stuff just burns my butt!! I would tell you to just grab the cat and run but I know that is not the right thing to do! As a volunteer for my local humane society, I just see and hear too many stories of disposable pets. Please try and talk to them and offer to take the cat "off their hands". Or lure it into your home and get it re-homed. Humane societies and the SPCA tend to be too busy to help unless cruelty is actually taking place to the extreme but certainly worth an enquiry. Poor food quality doesn't justify cruelty to them nor does letting the cat outside-unfortunately. God bless you for caring! I hope this turns out ok for the little guy!
  • Ross TyrrellRoss Tyrrell Member Posts: 2
    Accepted Answer
    This is by far the saddest story ever and exactly why I worship my cat and her needs. I would place a call to the spca or place an anonymous report of bad care and tell them exactly what you have told us and see if an agent can go visit the animal. Good Bless.


  • Sandra CatloverSandra Catlover Member Posts: 10
    This is some at some point considered as abuse. If you want to keep your relationship steady with your neighbours, I suggest you take it easy and give them advice on how to take care of him. If it extends to any worse point, you should ask them to give him to a shelter.
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