How do I deal with neighbors who don’t like outdoor cats?

To help cats become more accepted, use kindness and patience with your neighbors. Find out what is bothering your neighbors about the cats and work with them on those specific issues. For example, deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers, garden rocks and citrus smells will help keep cats away from the people who do not want them digging in their gardens or roaming their property.

It is also important to nicely explain to them that TNR is the most humane and effective way of managing unowned cat overpopulation issues. TNR offers a solution that helps both the cats and the human residents, providing first and foremost permanent population control since the cats will no longer be able to reproduce. Let them know that it also drastically changes the cats' behavior—there will be less odor (since they will no longer spray), less roaming, less visibility, and no more yowling or fighting.

Aimee Christian, ASPCA Vice President of Spay/Neuter Operations

If you need help speaking to your community about TNR, contact local animal welfare organizations and do some research on effective talking points for promoting TNR. Here are some pointers to consider when dealing with difficult neighbors:

  • Establish a friendly relationship with people living near a feral cat colony.
  • Present information in a reasonable, professional manner and address individual complaints by listening patiently. Always maintain a constructive, problem-solving attitude.
  • Explain diplomatically that the cats have lived at the site for a long time and that they have been or will be sterilized, which will cut back on annoying behaviors.
  • Explain that if the present colony is removed, the problems will recur with new cats.

Posted in: Free-Roaming Cats, Marion Polk Community Cat Program FAQs