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Old 08-03-08, 12:19 AM   #1
WilliamK1974
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Question about outdoor cats and property lines (very long) [SERIOUS]

I'll preface this by saying that I know foo's not the place to come for legal advice, but I'm not sure we're to that point yet.

We bought our house back in Sept. 2002. At the time we bought, the house next door was also for sale. It sold a few months later. The man who bought it seemed to be a good neighbor, and we worked to keep the house and yard tidy. Back in the early summer of 2005, he decides to have a new asphalt driveway put in and expanded so he can park a small RV by his house. Neither of us had a property survey, so we did some rough measurements and he had the driveway done. I believe he and his contractor made a good faith effort to stay to his side of the line, but more recently I think that part of it may have crossed over by as much as a foot. When the lots are the size of ours, a foot's kind of a big deal.

He sold the house to some friends just over a year ago. They're maybe in their 60s. The man's retired and the woman works p/t as a secretary. Not long after they moved in, someone dumped a pregnant stray cat out in the neighborhood and she had her kittens. One got road-killed, and the other two now live with us outdoors. They've been neutered and vaccinated. Also, another cat that had been hit by a car found his way to our place. We patched him up and had him neutered and vaccinated as well. I know we've had the two siblings microchipped. They live outside cause we already have six indoor cats, and some days that seems like about five too many lol. We just don't have room for anyone else inside.

The couple seemed nice enough at first even though the woman's voice could be kind of annoying lol. One thing that really irritated me was that we got home one Sunday afternoon and they were having a drain line cut into their driveway to keep rainwater from running in and flooding their garage. Not a problem, except that they ran the drainpipe underground and across our line. They said it wouldn't be any big deal, but I don't like that kind of thing. I get the feeling that if we had not arrived home when we did, we wouldn't be the wiser about the drain. I have a property survey now and a surveyor friend is supposed to come out and help me find the markers soon. It was very tempting to dig the pipe up and plug it with concrete when they were out of town, but I'm trying not to lower myself to their level.

The part that worries me the most is about the cats. They're more or less grown and they like to wander around some. There's nothing separating most of our property so they sometimes go over there. Well, the woman complains about it and says they use her landscaping as a litterbox. We did some research and found that used coffee grounds are supposed to be an effective repellant. We shared this, and she initially acted very happy to hear it as they fix coffee every morning and have plenty of grounds. But she soon changed her tune and acted like it was an imposition that she would have to take preventative measures when it was our animals causing the problem. I don't know what to say to that. If I see anything like that happening, I'll go over and shoo the cat back into our yard. But the most worrisome thing is that I think I saw what looked like a newly built rabbit or small animal hutch in their backyard. I can't help but wonder if I'm about to be setup in some way.

That may sound paranoid, but it seems that around here, the worse thing tends to happen. The cats are chipped, so if they got picked up, the shelter's supposed to call us, at least in theory, cause they have a chip scanner and scan all animals that they pick up. About the only thing where we could be remiss is that the animals aren't registered with the city, but the punishment for that is all but non-existent (small per-animal fine) as long as their shots are current. The city is very lax on enforcement. The people at the shelter are supposed to be compassionate types who do the best with what they have. But there's enough backwardness in this town that it's easy to expect the worst.

I've had cats all my life, and most of the ones growing up spent far more time outside than in, and none of the neighbors acted like this. It's nutty. I want to tell her that we're too far away from the putt-a-par place for this to be an upscale golf course community and we've already got a long-time queen of the neighborhood. But I'm really starting to worry about this and am not sure what to do.

Any ideas?

Thank you,
-Bill
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Old 08-03-08, 12:46 AM   #2
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Tell this lady to stop playing with your cat's crap?

I don't know what the city thinks cat owners to do to keep their pets from going on to other people's property, but maybe there is some sort of minimum expectation, like a fence between properties. Maybe try that?

Also, be ready for legal action--I suggest hiring a good lawyer.

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Old 08-03-08, 01:02 AM   #3
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+1 on an attorney.

Also, consider taking lots of pictures of the would be hutch, and the area in general. Good pictures can make or break cases. Also, they are instrumental, because if the neighbor has a hutch, it may violate some city ordinances of animal control... this is another good reason to have an attorney -- they know all this, or are supposed to.

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Old 08-03-08, 01:25 AM   #4
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I doubt the rabbit hutch has anything to do with setting you up, but you may want to see if rabbits are allowed near dwellings in your area, so you will have some "ammo" if the neighbors decide to make make a stink to officials about your cats. In my area, rabbits must be a certain distance from dwellings, and most city lots are too small to meet the legal requirement.

FWIW, I don't believe cats should be free to roam.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:02 AM   #5
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I have no idea how to keep cats out of my yard, but I wish I did. I am not a cat person. I do not understand why cats are seen as being able to roam free why dogs are not. If I just let my dog roam, the pound would be called, etc. If I take her on a walk, I am expected, by law, to remove her feces from other peoples property, inlcuding city property.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:20 AM   #6
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You've got 2 different issues brewing with the same party. I fear that this is not going to end well without a cool head and world-class diplomacy.

IANAL, so all I'll say about the property line issue is, if there is encroachment you could probably either:

1) Legally compel them to demo every part of their driveway that violates.
2) Do nothing, and risk discovering later when you sell the property that you've lost a slice of it due to adverse possession.
3) Enact an easement that gives them a 'pass' on the encroachment while legally protecting the existing boundaries.

If you choose option #1 above, you can be assured your neighbors will take every opportunity to go number two all over your head in response to Issue #2, your wandering cats pooping on their property.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:30 AM   #7
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I do not understand why cats are seen as being able to roam free why dogs are not...If I take her on a walk, I am expected, by law, to remove her feces from other peoples property
Couple practical reasons: loose cats as a rule so far haven't proven a credible physical threat to strangers, alone or in packs (which they don't do anyway). And cats, unlike dogs, seek out of the way places to do their business & often bury the results, too.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:42 AM   #8
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I'm afraid I'm with Jsharr on this one. Whether it's a dog, cat, etc ... I don't want the smell of rotting feces or urination near my house. I find cat's urine has a particularly strong smell that lasts far too long. I'm not sure what the solution is since I also understand that a cat is more of a roaming animal compared to a dog, and really should have the opportunity to be outside as much as possible. I'm not a big fan of putting a cat (or dog) out on a line. It's also much easier to keep a dog inside a fenced area than cats. So I'm not sure what the solution is, however I can also sympathize with your neighbors having to deal with the odor. Either way, good luck finding a solution.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:48 AM   #9
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Cats should be kept indoors unless they are on a farm, providing some benefit with rodent control. Anywhere else they kill more birds (for pure entertainment-not food) than rodents.

Cats do bury their crap, but:
1. it doesn't decompose rapidly
2. the crap stinks more than dog's
3. they use loose soil, like vegetable gardens and flower beds- places people want to enjoy

People shouldn't be obligated to take excessive and usually worthless measures to enjoy their own property.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:04 AM   #10
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We had good luck keeping our animals contained with Invisible Fence. This included a 225pound english mastiff, 2 cats, and 2 other dogs. http://www.invisiblefence.com/
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Old 08-03-08, 08:50 AM   #11
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Not sure about the cats, but you're setting yourself up for some major problems with respect to your property. They could make the case that since you were aware of, and assented to, the driveway installation, and later, the drainage pipe being on your property, you've given up any claim to have them removed. I'd look into that immediately to protect yourself.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:59 AM   #12
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I'm with Alfster and Jsharr on this I have to keep my dogs in a fence or tied up or on a leash

Quote:
And cats, unlike dogs, seek out of the way places to do their business & often bury the results, too.
yep places like the flower box on the porch in the corner of my garage in a truck if you leave a window down etc.places where I relax or work. cats are a major threat to most small animals and birds and in places kill more birds than ligitimate wild predators.

As far as building a hutch, It is on their property just sounds like they are planning on being responsable pet owners and keeping their pets on their property Why should they have to take the time and energy to put out a repellant for you cats
As far as the drain around here if it is needed to stop water from getting into a house you can tile across property lines but must put the yard/landscape back to original state

It sounds to me ,like the only reason the driveway and drain are an issue is that your neighbor expects you to do what is right and keep your pets from using their yard as a toilet
The right thing to do is keep you cats in your yard if the drive is actually across the line a foot or less add an easment clause to the titles if it is an honest mistake. You are in the wrong on the cat issue and good neighbor to watch you back are worth more than a foot of of driveway

Just so you know were it me after I politely ask you to keep you cats at home .and they still kept coming in my yard first action is plumbers putty or paintball out of a blowgun or wristrocket then if that doesn't convince them, I trap them and call animal control . I took one in and he show up 2 days later warden said he was chipped and he was required to give him back........ he won't be back again
Be a good neighbor and keep you cats in your yard
Roy

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Old 08-03-08, 09:25 AM   #13
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Addressing a couple of points:

Fencing- our backyards are fenced. Back when my grandparents owned the house, they had a fence along the property line that didn't enclose the front yard, but worked as a sort of marker. My sister-in-law took that down. Had it been there, the encroachment issue wouldn't have happened. Of course, it's a moot point, but there's a reason I call her Hurricane when she's not around. It was her place, but that doesn't mean the things she did were the smartest.

Cats- quantity and roaming free- we never asked to be in the situation of having six indoor cats. We started off with two, then were asked by a friend if we could take a pregnant cat if she paid the vet bills till the kittens came. We found homes for some, still have the mother and two of her now-adult babies. I also picked up an injured kitten beside a highway and rehabbed him. My mother says that the neighborhood in the past had been a dumping ground for strays, so this could become a regular happening. We've just dealt with it recently. As far as rodent control goes, my once rat-infested garage is now rat free.

The way I see it, there are people like us who care, and there are self-involved people who don't. People like us end up having to take care of twice as much because the self-involved can't be bothered to neuter/spay/care for what animals they may own. In our neighborhood, the issue could be cats. In others, it's dogs. I'm glad I don't live in an area where stray dogs are a fact of life.

The rabbit hutch- for all I know, this could be something built for their granddaughter to take home. The man's pretty handy, so the fact that he built it's no big surprise. I also don't see them as the types to want to take care of rabbits since they can require a great deal of care. These neighbors don't have any other pets. I know it's not the most likely scenario that we're being set up, but I've seen kind of a sneaky pattern with these people and I don't trust them.

We're not trying to be difficult with our animals. But our situation is what it is. As much as I may complain about certain aspects of living here, most people tend to keep their complaints, if they even have any, to themselves. They don't complain about your animals so you won't complain about the car in their yard or their habit of going a little long between mowings. I guess I never thought someone with the attitude that their s#%& doesn't stink would pick this area to call home. We haven't addressed the property line issue in part because we want to make sure it's actually an issue. But also because we want to keep the heat off us with regards to the cats. But it just feels a little bit like we're being pushed, and after a point, we're going to have to push back.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:56 AM   #14
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Maybe you should try a different approach...

It sounds like they aren't your cats, it sounds like you ave performed a public service called Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR), and are managing a colony of stray cats, which is a known and effective way to control wild cat populations.

It is actually more effective than trapping and removing the animals, since that typically just leads to other cats moving in and taking over.

Maybe you can find some good advice at: http://www.alleycat.org

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Old 08-03-08, 10:30 AM   #15
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+1 on you being liable for keeping your cats off of others' properties if they desire.
At our old apartment, we had neighbours either side who kept cats that kept traversing our garden to get to each other. The peed on our trampoline, and damaged a box I had on our patio. I said nothing to the neighbours, as I didn't want to raise a stink, but it certainly peeved us immeasurably.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
Addressing a couple of points:

Fencing- our backyards are fenced. Back when my grandparents owned the house, they had a fence along the property line that didn't enclose the front yard, but worked as a sort of marker. My sister-in-law took that down. Had it been there, the encroachment issue wouldn't have happened. Of course, it's a moot point, but there's a reason I call her Hurricane when she's not around. It was her place, but that doesn't mean the things she did were the smartest.

Cats- quantity and roaming free- we never asked to be in the situation of having six indoor cats. We started off with two, then were asked by a friend if we could take a pregnant cat if she paid the vet bills till the kittens came. We found homes for some, still have the mother and two of her now-adult babies. I also picked up an injured kitten beside a highway and rehabbed him. My mother says that the neighborhood in the past had been a dumping ground for strays, so this could become a regular happening. We've just dealt with it recently. As far as rodent control goes, my once rat-infested garage is now rat free.

The way I see it, there are people like us who care, and there are self-involved people who don't. People like us end up having to take care of twice as much because the self-involved can't be bothered to neuter/spay/care for what animals they may own. In our neighborhood, the issue could be cats. In others, it's dogs. I'm glad I don't live in an area where stray dogs are a fact of life.

The rabbit hutch- for all I know, this could be something built for their granddaughter to take home. The man's pretty handy, so the fact that he built it's no big surprise. I also don't see them as the types to want to take care of rabbits since they can require a great deal of care. These neighbors don't have any other pets. I know it's not the most likely scenario that we're being set up, but I've seen kind of a sneaky pattern with these people and I don't trust them.

We're not trying to be difficult with our animals. But our situation is what it is. As much as I may complain about certain aspects of living here, most people tend to keep their complaints, if they even have any, to themselves. They don't complain about your animals so you won't complain about the car in their yard or their habit of going a little long between mowings. I guess I never thought someone with the attitude that their s#%& doesn't stink would pick this area to call home. We haven't addressed the property line issue in part because we want to make sure it's actually an issue. But also because we want to keep the heat off us with regards to the cats. But it just feels a little bit like we're being pushed, and after a point, we're going to have to push back.
Once you accept the cats they are your responsibility and part of that responsibility is to keep them on your property, keep them well fed and healthy and safe and letting them roam the neighborhood is not safe for them, coyotes, large owls, and cars are hard on cats expecting your neighbor to put out a repellent for your cat's I think is a bit much, How about you going and buying a good repellent and putting it out for them, if you don't want to pen up you cats. Would you be upset if I walked my four dogs down to your yard to use the bathroom? I just get the feeling from the op that the driveway and drains are only a problem because they said something about your cats If I am incorrect on that point ,please forgive me. I admire anyone that takes an uwanted animal to keep it from being put down I also think people who drop unwanted pets should be caned .it is cruel to the animal and unfair to rural residents that have to deal with it . I bought 2 beagles from a guy they were under weight and not well cared for, the female was being used as a puppy mill and had toubles giving birth to boot I took them to the vet the next morning . I also don;t get upset with a cat ( or Dog)that is well fed healthy looking with a collar showing up in my yard once in a while I shoo them home. when the are in my yard every day skinny and it is plain that they are not well taken care of that it become a problem . I try to be the kind of neighbor that I want.. I would ask myself if the roles were reversed If I had no pets would I be upset because someone else's animals are stinking up my flower beds. then be the kind of neighbor that you want to have!

we have 4 dogs A lab mix born next door the mother disappeared when the pups were 3 weeks old my wife bottle fed her and help find places for the others the two beagles I bought because that was a faster way to get them taken care of ,than calling the authorities and a half cocker half shis tsu
Roy

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Old 08-03-08, 12:06 PM   #17
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Addressing the previous post:

Yes, we have taken ownership/responsibility. We had them "fixed" and vaccinated. Now, of the two sibling cats, only one of them wanders. The other has a heart murmur and doesn't go far. He *might* end up sleeping under one of the neighbor's cars, but when they come out, he'll run back over to our side. The other one is healthy and likes to get around. We have a drainage ditch behind the house that seems to be a magnet for cat exploration, and he's made many a trip through there. We've put collars on them, but they manage to lose them. Now, the neighbors will shoo the cats over to our side, and if I'm outside and see them over there, I'll go get them. They *seem* to be getting conditioned that they're not welcome there, but that can be a slow process. We've offered to help with repellant, etc, but were met with a less than enthusiastic response. As far as feeding goes, we keep dry food out for them and give them two cans per day. Half the time, they don't eat it all. We used to put more out, but alot was going to waste so we cut back. The cats look healthy, even the one with the heart murmur. They're polydactyl, but you wouldn't see that unless you got close.

The other outdoor cat (possible auto injury) sometimes goes off in the other direction, but I think someone's putting food out that way. He's a larger cat than the other two. His tail has been amputated due to his injury, but even after having a broken pelvis his gait is normal, he can climb, jump, etc.

Like I said before, they would be inside cats if we had the room. But unless our present indoor cats decide to start dying, they'll have to remain outside. I've never known of an effective way to pen cats. They escaped from a storage room in our garage and I'm still baffled as to how they got out of the room and the closed garage. We're trying to find collars that are hard to remove, but it's not the easiest.

The property line: when the previous owner of that house had his driveway done, I think he tried to stay on his side. There's a part of it where its edge isn't straight, and that's the part that I think is over the line. That's also where the present owners cut the line for the drain. If the edge of the driveway is over the line, then the pipe is way over. It was when the drain was done that it became an issue. Not because of the cats. I don't think the cats were here yet. It was that they tried to sneak it in without us knowing. You should have seen the look on the woman's face when we pulled into our driveway. It spoke volumes.

Anyhow, I guess some of the irritation comes from how the people on the street have always been so live and let live about everything. The neighborhood might not have been the classiest place with the highest property values, but crime is all but non-existent and I can think of many worse places to live. So now these people come in and decide to become the neighborhood PITAs. As far as being a good neighbor goes, that's why I keep my yard tidy. I don't do landscaping. I'd rather be out riding or whatnot. If landscaping's your kink, that's cool and I can respect that. I'm trying to help out if only by paying attention and making the effort to keep the cats on my side of the line. But I can't be a cat herder at all times. I feel like I have other concerns that are much more important than whether or not I'm having feline visitors.

We're thinking of turning an area that we've used for compost in the past into a cat relieving area. We'd build it up with landscape timbers, put in some loose dirt, mulch, etc.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:51 PM   #18
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I am really not trying to bust your chops. If the drive way was done by the previous owner and the property has been sold all ready you are more than likely out of luck because you did not do anything when it was done
We have pita neighbors too, but when it comes right down to it the law will be on his side on the cat issue conventional fences are climbing toy for cats and since I am not a cat person I don't know how an invisable fence would work for a cat they do work for most dogs, I do not see why they wouldn't work. I large kennel with a top on it might work Even If he is a pita your neighbor is still with in his rights to ask you to keep your cats home. and I know animals can be escape artist my beagle C.J. likes to get out and go run rabbits I had to do some serious work to keep him in the kennel. around here you have to let people access public ditches for drainage line from a house they must return your property to original state asap (plumber by trade)
No I am not a lawyer but have been involved in property line dispute on drain lines and disputes on property problems , would guess that as far as the drive way and drains go, if it goes on till the law has to be ask to get involve
the answer you will get are
1. since you did do anything when the problem arose your out of luck
Or
2. if the last owner did not disclose them problems I.E tell them the driveway and drains are not on this property they could make him pay for it
on the cat issue you will lose they are you cats on his property uninvited
I am just trying to be a realist
Roy

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Old 08-03-08, 01:04 PM   #19
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Growing up, there were all kinds of neighborhood cats that would roam around. It's just the way things were. I never even heard of an "indoor cat" until much later, and the whole idea still seems a bit strange to me.

If a cat messed up your garden or something, it was sort of like an act of nature. Like a frost ruining your tomatoes.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:54 PM   #20
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Growing up, there were all kinds of neighborhood cats that would roam around. It's just the way things were. I never even heard of an "indoor cat" until much later, and the whole idea still seems a bit strange to me.

If a cat messed up your garden or something, it was sort of like an act of nature. Like a frost ruining your tomatoes.
This was the way it was in the neighborhood where I grew up. Just about every family had cats that wandered around. We let ours in at night and they'd stay in the basement. But not everyone did that. That neighborhood had higher value homes and I would have expected someone to have a little more time on their hands and a complaining nature. But no one ever did. I had a small garden in my teens and the cats had to have known it was there, but I never saw them go anywhere near it. Just a different time I guess.
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Old 08-03-08, 02:35 PM   #21
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This was the way it was in the neighborhood where I grew up. Just about every family had cats that wandered around. We let ours in at night and they'd stay in the basement. But not everyone did that. That neighborhood had higher value homes and I would have expected someone to have a little more time on their hands and a complaining nature. But no one ever did. I had a small garden in my teens and the cats had to have known it was there, but I never saw them go anywhere near it. Just a different time I guess.
Ain't that the truth!
Kudo's for saving an injured abandoned animal good job
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Old 08-03-08, 03:21 PM   #22
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This was the way it was in the neighborhood where I grew up. Just about every family had cats that wandered around. We let ours in at night and they'd stay in the basement. But not everyone did that. That neighborhood had higher value homes and I would have expected someone to have a little more time on their hands and a complaining nature. But no one ever did. I had a small garden in my teens and the cats had to have known it was there, but I never saw them go anywhere near it. Just a different time I guess.
There were even some dogs in my neighborhood that roamed around, and got along famously with the neighborhood kids. They were almost like one of the gang! We'd get all excited when one would come around so we could play with it, and sometimes we'd go looking for one in particular who was very friendly. (Looking back now, this is like some serious "Little Rascals" type stuff!)
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