We have owned cats for 31 years. All of our cats have been outdoor cats. Of course they kill the occasional chipmunk, mouse or bird. It’s the circle of life, survival of the fittest etc. And we have never once had a complaint. Neighbors have always loved our cats. They are friendly and approachable. Until now. A guy moved in behind us. His parents have lived there for a long time but he moved in to help care for his ailing father. He is apparently some kind of bird lover. He has every possible kind of bird feeder in his yard as well as a bird bath. It is a little like Disney World for birds but also for our cats, especially our type A male. He’s killed a few birds over there. Of course he brings them into our yard and gifts us with them. One day the animal control officer came to our door. This guy had actually lodged a complaint about our cat! You live 50 feet away; how about knocking on our door and discussing the problem? Once we found out who lodged the complaint we went over and talked to him. As expected he had no social skills, which is probably why he filed a complaint instead of coming over to talk to us. We came to an uneasy alliance; we let our cat out in the morning and evening when the birds are not out and now we have to tie him up if we let him out during the day.
The most disturbing part of this whole event, besides tying our cat up, is the difference between my reaction to this guy’s complaint and that of my husband. Jeff is patient and tolerant about this guy’s issues with our cat (he can’t help that he’s anti-social, he doesn’t know how to talk to people, loves his birds etc.) I am impatient and intolerant of this guy’s issues with our cat (he is a bad neighbor, needs to get a life, etc.). This is sort of a microcosm of our relationship and to have it confirmed by the actions of a pesky neighbor is either comforting because we still understand each other after 33 years, or it’s discouraging because I am still the intolerant and impatient one after 33 years.