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  1. #1
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    pet care and neighbours and dilemmas

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    This story from FB, with amazing (and rather scary) photos shows a small pup whose coat was allowed to grow, by a neglectful owner:

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/na...FlowFB_DCBrand

    And it got me to thinking - when do you step in and say something about somebody else's pet? For instance, we have a neighbour whose elderly cat had long, thick fur, which was very lumpy and matted. When I'd touch the cat, I would mostly feel bulbous lumps under the over-coat, not a smooth surface. The cat was very shy, though, and I rarely got close to it. The cat was otherwise well treated, and the neighbours are friendly, nice, normal people, not strange in any way. I never said anything about it, but yesterday I heard that they had had to put the cat down due to an adder bite. It sounded as if they hadn't noticed the swelling and discolouring, because of all the fur in the way...

    And now I feel bad that I didn't say something. We have a smooth-coated cat who is very fastidious, and she would have been very distressed at lumps in her coat. But I just sort of assumed that this cat didn't mind as much :-(

    It would have been a lot easier if they had been neglectful in any other way, but it's hard to call out people just for being thoughtless.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

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  2. #2
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    pet care and neighbours and dilemmas

    One has to be very careful- it's like dealing with other peoples kids. At least where I live, pets are considered property and the only way to deal with a potential neglect or other issue is to go the county animal welfare/control agency. We had a situation a few years back where one neighbor went on vacation and left the the dog with a kiddie pool full water and a large container of food. It sat at the edge of the invisible fence barking incessantly for a week before the rest of us figured out what was going on. Another neighbor went onto the property to get the dog and give it some human care. The owner had him arrested for trespassing and stealing, even though the neglect was documented.
    It was quite the drama on our little cul de sac.
    Last edited by Irulan; 07-18-2014 at 07:15 AM.
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  3. #3
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    In our city, a call to the county animal services would be clearly preferable to going on to the person's property in a case of neglect or nuisance (non-stop barking qualifies as a nuisance), because many people have that wild west attitude about property ownership.

    People differ dramatically in their views of grooming and medical intervention, though. To me, excessive medical intervention borders on cruelty to the animal, but others believe in it wholeheartedly (and with their whole wallets).
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  4. #4
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    In these types of situations I'd call animal control or SPCA, whatever you have in your area.

    If it's not excessive for a human I don't think it's excessive for a pet. If you take on the responsibility of a pet you should be willing to put the time and money into it.
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  5. #5
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    The link Iph provided certainly warrants an intervention. When the hair gets that long and matted, it affects the mobility of the dog--and it can be quite painful. I also think the age of the owner should be taken into consideration--particularly if you're talking about an elderly person who may have some dementia or other cognitive issues, as well as a chronic disease that makes it difficult for the owner to properly groom the dog. I'd say something to the family first, and if that doesn't work, I'd go to the local humane society. I wouldn't or couldn't ignore it.

  6. #6
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    We can't assume that everyone understands animal needs very well and not all pet owners are properly "educated."

    So a polite brief suggestion to neighbour would at least be useful. Then let it go for awhile. May work if you get along with neighbours.
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  7. #7
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    One has to be very careful- it's like dealing with other peoples kids. At least where I live, pets are considered property and the only way to deal with a potential neglect or other issue is to go the county animal welfare/control agency. We had a situation a few years back where one neighbor went on vacation and left the the dog with a kiddie pool full water and a large container of food. It sat at the edge of the invisible fence barking incessantly for a week before the rest of us figured out what was going on. Another neighbor went onto the property to get the dog and give it some human care. The owner had him arrested for trespassing and stealing, even though the neglect was documented.
    It was quite the drama on our little cul de sac.
    Yikes! Seems like the safer course of action in a situation like your neighbor's would be to call animal control and let them handle getting the dog properly cared for. Sounds like the neighbor who left the dog that way is just not a nice person in general.
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  8. #8
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    Just to clarify - I would absolutely have intervened had I ever seen any animal with the kind of coat in the photos. That was a case of extreme neglect. I was wondering more about the kind of "daily neglect" like my neighbours cat. Nothing extreme or cruel, just slightly worrying. And I'm not worried about any legal repercussions, more about how do you broach the subject with otherwise friendly and normal people. Cats with long hair do tend to get matted, but most people tend to it regularly.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  9. #9
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    Oh poor kitty. Being bitten by a poisonus snake. But what can you do after being bitten? Cats only weigh in from around 3 kilo to maybe 7 kilo. They are small enough that bites are going to be far worse than for people. At least the owners had enough thought to do what they thought was the right thing for the kitty. Could they have save it had they discovered the bite sooner? Maybe. Maybe they discovered the bite within hours. Bites like that are going to be very noticeable in matter of minutes and not days.

    As for neglectful owners, some do not take very kindly to your generous offer. Some even get very hostile!! Best to call your humane society. Sometimes this is all you can do. No good deeds go unpunished

  10. #10
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    I've heard passionate arguments on both sides about whether or not domestic cats should be allowed outside at all. The fiercely indoor only folks believe that letting the cat outside shortens the cat's life by exposing it to danger and the fiercely indoor/outdoor people rave about the cat's natural behavior and environment.

    We've just adopted a kitten who was rescued and treated with bilateral eye enucleation. So, she got some intense medical treatment early on, spent most of her 3 months of life under the influence of pain meds and antibiotics. She has some motor difficulties, possibly due to confinement in a small kennel, and she has had no early socialization with other cats. The volunteers at the agency described her as 'snuggly,' but really, she was never given any opportunity to walk around or explore. When she came to us her nails were so long that they got caught on everything and she was quite reluctant to move about.

    The whole situation has prompted me to do quite a lot of thinking about how we care for our animals. You know, they did this big surgery, but they didn't give her the opportunity to develop any 'cat skills.' Did the vets get paid with donation money? Was the surgery done partly for training? Why didn't they trim her nails!?
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  11. #11
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    Poor kitten! No matter if they're kept indoors or out I feel quite passionately about letting them use their natural skills and senses. Watching an athletic cat climb and play is such a joy, if ever an animal was designed to move it's a cat. Good luck with her!

    I'm not sure socialization with other cats matters that much, or do you have other cats already? I've had cats that have been very friendly with each other, and cats that have known each other for years and still just tolerate each other. I've read that cats aren't naturally very social.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  12. #12
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
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    Quote Originally Posted by malkin View Post
    I've heard passionate arguments on both sides about whether or not domestic cats should be allowed outside at all. The fiercely indoor only folks believe that letting the cat outside shortens the cat's life by exposing it to danger and the fiercely indoor/outdoor people rave about the cat's natural behavior and environment.
    I think a lot depends on where you live...if you're in town or right near a busy road, there is a lot more risk of the cat getting hit by a car and it's probably best to keep them inside. If you live out in the country, it's reasonably safe (provided there aren't a lot of critters around that like to eat cats) to let the cat outside, it's more natural and they probably really enjoy it.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    Poor kitten! No matter if they're kept indoors or out I feel quite passionately about letting them use their natural skills and senses. Watching an athletic cat climb and play is such a joy, if ever an animal was designed to move it's a cat. Good luck with her!

    I'm not sure socialization with other cats matters that much, or do you have other cats already? I've had cats that have been very friendly with each other, and cats that have known each other for years and still just tolerate each other. I've read that cats aren't naturally very social.
    We have 3 other cats (about 2, 3, and 4 years old). They are curious about her in a 'that is not a cat' way. She is doing better and better but she sometimes reacts sort of like a cat version of an autistic kid who can't regulate (hiss, growl, roar, spit) and then shuts down ( get very small and don't move).

    We are happy to have her, anyway. She's funny. She bumps into things and I'm sure she and the big cats will get used to each other in time.
    Here's a little video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07f7wQ8mbww
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    Just to clarify - I would absolutely have intervened had I ever seen any animal with the kind of coat in the photos. That was a case of extreme neglect. I was wondering more about the kind of "daily neglect" like my neighbours cat. Nothing extreme or cruel, just slightly worrying. And I'm not worried about any legal repercussions, more about how do you broach the subject with otherwise friendly and normal people. Cats with long hair do tend to get matted, but most people tend to it regularly.

    As much as it is disturbing to see any kind of neglect ( animal, human etc) I'm thinking it's pretty pointless to try and point things out to people. It's kind of like trying to change someone's mind over the internet. You feel better making your point, but are you really going to change anyone's behavior?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolt View Post
    I think a lot depends on where you live...if you're in town or right near a busy road, there is a lot more risk of the cat getting hit by a car and it's probably best to keep them inside. If you live out in the country, it's reasonably safe (provided there aren't a lot of critters around that like to eat cats) to let the cat outside, it's more natural and they probably really enjoy it.

    I'm going to disagree here. In rural situations, you might not have a lot of traffic, but you have coyotes and other predators and parasites.
    As for "natural" behavior, is it "natural" to kill things and never eat them? Cat decimation of songbird populations is well documented. As someone in non rural setting, I am beyond annoyed at free roaming cats that continually hunt birds in my yard, and use my gardens as little boxes. Ordinances preventing roaming cats are blatantly ignored, and yet if I catch one in my yard and take it to pound, guess who is the bad guy? And to reference my previous post, if I mention to my neighbor that I don't like their cats in my yard, I basically get told to f*** off very politely.
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