Cats are rather a difficult animal species to understand. Unlike dogs, who are very loyal to their owners, you can feed your feline friend, play with them, and provide them with whatever they need but they will still run off to the house next door to bother the neighbours, seeking more attention and food among other things.
Not everyone is a fan of cats; plus when your cat uses your neighbour’s garden as a personal litter tray or steals their food, it can be an explosive cause of conflict between you and your neighbours. In some extreme cases, it can lead to falling out and even people having to move.
So, how can you stop your cat from going to the neighbour’s house? This is a rather ambiguous question since the answer will depend on your situation and most importantly, why your kitty is roaming around. Some cats are looking for food, while others are bored, and others are just nosy and curious. I will expound on each and more of these reasons later on so you’re well prepared to keep your kitty indoors.
Your kitty will want to run to the neighbours for several different reasons. Cats are naturally territorial, and house cats are usually stressed because their territory is smaller. Its natural instinct for your kitty to want to explore the outdoors and sometimes going to the neighbours is an attempt to expand and mark what they consider their territory. However, to keep them safe, you must find ways of making her stay in the house. This text is going to cover why cats go next door and how you can prevent that, and more. Let’s get right into it:
How to Keep Cats from Going Next Door
The first step to addressing this issue is to know why your cat likes going to the neighbours.
The biggest reason is in search of food. While it’s vital not to overfeed your British Shorthair cat as she can easily become obese, you shouldn’t underfeed her either. If your cat feels hungry or isn’t enthusiastic about her food, it only makes sense that she goes looking for food elsewhere. Ensure your cat receives a nutritionally sufficient diet, and at the right time.
Another reason for roaming is delayed de-sexing. A cat that is not neutered or sprayed usually has the urge to roam about in search of potential mates. Plus, given their territorial nature, cats will move to the neighbours to try and expand their territories. De-sexing can help with both issues. If you’re planning on breeding, you should keep your cats indoors where they can’t get pregnant or get another cat pregnant.
Sometimes, going to the neighbours is a way for your cat to deal with a major disruption in their space or routine. Introduction of new a new pet or a new baby, someone moving in or out, a change in diet or feeding times, or even redecorating can unsettle your cat. Such major changes should be gradual and be sure to include your kitty in every step so she doesn’t feel left out.
British shorthairs may be independent cat breeds but they still cherish social interaction. If you don’t spend enough time with your feline friend, she will go looking for affection from the neighbours. Introduce more play-time with your cat and buy more toys to keep her happy and engaged throughout the day. It goes without saying that other household members should also treat the cat well. This includes children and other pets.
In some instances, neighbours may be the ones actively encouraging your cat to visit by putting out food, as well as playing and petting your cat. You can ask your neighbours not to encourage your kitty to visit. But this will only work if you are providing these needs to her so she doesn’t look for them elsewhere.
Cats are curious by nature (you’ve probably heard of the saying curiosity killed the cat). As cat owners, we try our best to keep our feline friends happy and healthy. But even after creating the perfect world for them indoors, the call of nature in them to explore the outdoors still beckons. They see your neighbour’s property as a mere extension of their own territory. If you have resolved all the possible reasons that could be pushing your cat to the neighbours but she still goes, here are more ways to keep her from roaming outside:
Consider using a pet-proofing barrier: This is a small device that produces a loud beeping sound whenever your cat comes close to the door, thus scaring her away. There’s also the option of a spray that will emit an irritating spray that’s harmless to your cat.
Build a safe outdoor enclosure: This will grant you cat access to outdoor space like the garden or backyard but prevent her from escaping to the neighbours.
Make indoors more appealing: Cats won’t really venture outside when they are busy and entertained indoors. Be sure to offer a variety of brain-stimulating activities and toys.
Why You Should Keep Your Cat Indoors
This is such a controversial topic as some believe that cats should be allowed to live outdoors as nature intended. Others, on the other hand, think indoor cats are safer cats. There are many threats facing cats when allowed to roam the neighbourhood unsupervised. This includes:
Accidents: While outdoors, your feline friend is more likely to be hit by a car, caught in rodent traps, or even get stuck in tight spaces where they cannot escape and risk being starved to death.
Poisoning: Your cat will likely come across a neighbour’s rat poison, lawn fertilizer, antifreeze, pesticides, or other kinds of poisonous chemicals.
Diseases and parasites: When your cat comes in contact with other neighbourhood pets, they are at risk of becoming infested with fleas, ticks, and other parasites or contracting more serious contagious diseases like FIV, FeLV, or FIP. This will lead to hefty vet bills or even lingering death.
Fights: Cats are very territorial and will fight another cat to defend their territories. Such fights often result in serious injuries or even death. Cat bites can also transmit infections like FIV, FeLV, or rabies.
People: Human beings present all kinds of risks for your wondering cat. Some people dislike cats so much that they will resort to extreme measures to keep them out. A British Shorthair cat is such valuable pedigree and someone can steal her for keeps or selling. Some go as far as selling cats to laboratories for experimentation or research.
Protecting Your Cat
I hope that the above ideas will help to keep your kitty from going to the neighbours. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that she will stay indoors. It’s also not fair to simply forbid your feline friend from accessing the outdoors; instead, offer them alternative getaway options. Walking your cat is a great way to give her time to explore and enjoy the outdoors. You should also open windows, but ensure they have a mesh, so your cat can enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors.
If you have outdoor space, you should allow your cat to access it. Be sure to make a small enclosure that will allow her to enjoy the outdoors without wandering to the neighbours.
If your cat continues to find ways to escape despite your best efforts, it’s time to take the necessary precautions to keep her safe.
The first step is to have her wear a collar and a tag with your phone number or address on it at all times. That way, if she wanders off to the neighbours, they won’t mistake her for a stray cat. Consider having her microchipped since the collar can come off, and keep your contact details with the microchip registry up to date. Identification may not keep your feline friend indoors, but it increases your chances of being reunited.
Last, but not least, ensure your British shorthair cat’s vaccinations are up to date to protect her from as many diseases and infections as possible.