My younger siblings secretly gave food to a cat that lives nearby, (belongs in the area but not to an immediate neighbour.) Once I found out, I realised this needed to stop.

However, the cat has taken a liking to our garden and spends all its time there. It's heartbreaking when it begs for food and we don't want to give it any, and when it has been in our garden for hours and hours the entire day, we realise it must be fed and give in.

I don't know how to undo this cycle. We have carried the cat away many times from our house and closer to its own so it would just go eat at its own house, but it refuses! It just hops back to our house!

(We have made some observations to suggest that the cat is trying to 'adopt' us because its owners don't give it the attention it needs, and obviously it bonded with my younger siblings because of their feeding and loving it, as you know some cats more than others really want human interaction and love. I have messaged the owner back and forth a few times, as the cat collar has contact info, to ask if it was okay that the cat had been in our backyard for like 9 hours and it was now 1 or 2 am. The response was always nonchalant. Our garden is also more easily accessible to this cat. We don't know the owners personally but had seen the cat at its real property before.)

Long story short, I want to know what I can do. It may be stupid to feel conflicted observing that the cat is much happier with my siblings. I know that is very selfish. That's why I want to resolve what we have caused, but the cat doesn't seem to leave!


1 Answer 1


Don't feed the cat. It will go home when it's hungry enough. It would be better not to give it any attention at all. It will eventually realise that there is no point in visiting you, unless it has a comfy spot where it likes to sun itself. If you keep petting it, it may think that it will get some food if it stays long enough, since it will associate allowing itself to be petted with a food reward.

You have to be cruel to be kind, and it can be heartbreaking if you really like the cat. I had a Norwegian Forest cat that used to visit me "on the scrounge". I would have loved to take it in, but I couldn't afford to. The last time I saw it and called it, it just meowed "No" (as close as damn it), and walked away. I suppose I deserved it.

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