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I don’t like cats

If I spend more than a few minutes near a cat, or in a room where a cat has been, I start to sniffle and sneeze, my head fills with goo, I feel jolly rotten and I lose the ability (such that I have) to generate intelligent thoughts. This isn’t usually a problem, as few of the friends we see regularly have cats, and the use of antihistamines can delay the onset of symptoms for an hour or so (but as a side effect make me very drowsy and equally incapable of generating intelligent thought).

My parents are being annoyed by a local cat. It is ginger in colour and looks well kempt, but doesn’t have a name or address on its blue collar. It walks into their house through open doors or windows, at day or night. It ignores humans, behaves as if it owns the place, and doesn’t appear scared of anything. In the past it has woken me in the middle of the night by sitting on my foot. I don’t like cats sitting on my feet, when I am asleep or otherwise. Earlier today it was making itself at home in parent’s bedroom, playing with some of mother’s clothes.

Father just carries it out of the house, but mother dislikes the idea of an animal in her house to such an extent that she is keeping doors and windows closed specifically to keep the cat out. It is causing a similar nuisance to some of the neighbours. So what should be done about it? I don’t want to see my parents annoyed and changing their behaviour because of somebody else’s pet.

I have identified several possible solutions:

  1. Take it to the local police station or animal shelter and hand it in, saying that it is causing a nuisance and its owners are unknown. Presumably if it’s chipped the owners could be identified, and it would be a wake-up call for them that their cat is a problem.
  2. Throw it in the swimming pool each time it enters the house. Downside is that it might poo or die in the pool, either of which would be jolly unpleasant for future swimmers.
  3. Is it legal to shoot or otherwise humanely kill a cat?
  4. Does anyone have any decent cat recipes? While I don’t eat meat, my parents do, and it might lead to interesting dinner-party conversation.
  5. I wonder if I am allergic to stuffed cat? I could just see its head mounted like a hunting trophy on a plaque on the wall in the hall, among the family photos.
  6. Would a cat-head sporran go with my kilt?

Open to suggestions. It is a real problem.


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A water pistol is a good deterrent that scares a cat without hurting it. They could also try one of those cat scaring ultrasonic thingamies you see in colour supplements.

It's also worth checking with an animal shelter or the local vet to see if it's chipped - legally people aren't responsible for what their cat does as they are classified as wild animals but it does give them a person to repatriate the cat to.

But water pistol is good immediate solution. Also hissing.

No eating the cat!

Unfortunately a water pistol wouldn’t be a good solution inside the house. Maybe having a bucket of water ready to pour over the cat when we evict it from the house would teach it a lesson.

But we’re leaning towards solution 1: the next time we catch it in the house it earns a trip to an animal shelter.

Having just spent a weekend popping in an out of a garden centre, I spotted something intriguingly entitled "cat repellant". You might want to take a look at that as it would theoretically help repel any other unwanted feline visitors rather than just that particular one.

Failing that, animal shelter or RSPCA.

Cat repellant, whether chemical or ultrasonic, wouldn’t work well; the house it quite large and the cat has multiple entry points, including from the front drive and from a flat room at the back into bedroom windows. I think most of the cat repellants are designed to protect gardens rather than houses.

Ah. There you go.
Well I suppose, trap it in a room and call the RSPCA is the best solution.

It is illegal to shoot or harm a cat. How would you feel if someone killed your pet? What if that cat belongs to a little girl? Or is the sole companion of an elderly person?
Plus the sort of people who would deliberately harm a domestic animal are not the sort of people fit to live in polite company and I would report you and or your family to the police without any hesitatation.
There are sonic cat repellants which work fine or water pistols work well too.


ps. Cat, I beleive doesn't taste very good. Long pig, on the other hand...

One could develop an argument that the sort of people who own a domestic pet yet let it roam and kill freely on other people’s property are not the sort of people fit to live in polite company.

Are there any other pets beside cats that are allowed to roam free? Dog owners have to control their loveable pups; why shouldn’t cat owners have a similar responsibility?

There is a petition on the Downing Street web site that I was happy to sign up to:

Man, have you any idea how many of your friends would be upset if you were to harm that cat? Myself included, though I'm really not a cat-person.

It's possible there something in your parents' house that attracts the cat, so it's a matter of identifying it and doing something about it. Meanwhile have someone take the cat to the nearest shelter and explain the situation. However remember that this may not stop the next cat from coming along and visit.

Remember, the cat doesn't mean to harm, it's just a cat...

OK, I’ll accept that harming the cat might be a bit messy, both in terms of blood spilt and social repercussions. Sigh. I guess I’ll have to stick to non-violent solutions.

There isn’t anything about our house in particular that attracts the cat; it is similarly invasive in neighbours’ houses.

And yes, the cat doesn’t mean to harm. But the cat is the responsibility of its owner. If the cat is a nuisance, the owner shouldn’t let it roam free.

Stuff it in a large jiffy bag and post it to Paddy. He knows people.

Do postal regulations allow for the posting of cats?

Almost exactly what I did a year or two ago in the same situation - a large ginger cat kept coming in, growing bolder over time to the point I started finding him asleep in my armchair each morning. A quick phone call to Cats Protection got me the use of a trap, then they were quite happy to re-home him once caught.

Only insects can be posted, and only a subset of those. Of course, since mere laws don't apply to academia, we could have saved a fortune on transporting certain people to our project meetings in Glasgow, without all the complaints about them having to fly...

I think your Mum has more or less the right solution. If that's not acceptable (or the various more active but less violent solutions suggested don't work), it might be worth considering the US approach to banning insects - screen doors. Not sure where you'd get them in the UK, though.

I’m not sure that I buy that argument. If the animal irritation is environmental, if it is genuine wildlife, then I can understand and support adapting one’s house to manage the irritation.

But if the animal is introduced through direct human behaviour — a cat’s owner turfing it out and letting it run wild — then that human behaviour should be held responsible for the irritation that the animal causes.

The flybynightpress household is currently bereft of cats…

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