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The cat came back

October 9th, 2012 · 67 comments

I know I’m asking for trouble here, but when John in Missouri passed along this exchange between his father’s neighbor (an “interested animal lover”) and his father (a reluctant one), I just couldn’t resist.

Sir- I hope you are putting fresh water out for the gray cat on these very hot days. I see him laying out on your stoop looking miserable! It would be nice if he could come inside. The elderly lady that use to live there took good care of the cats. An interested Animal Lover

If the cat does not want to look quite so miserable it could go to the shade in the back yard. It will not drink water even on hottest days. I tried. I think the hot days are over. As you said, it is not my cat. It could sleep in garage if it wants to. It will not drink water, I have a witness. Please take the cat. Feed it. Water it. Please. Let it mess up your house.

Confidential to John’s Dad: I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

related: The Great Outdoor Cat Debate of 2012

FILED UNDER: "helpful" advice · cats · most popular notes of 2012 · neighbors · old folks

67 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Ty

    For a second there i thought the cats name was 17

    Oct 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm   rating: 153  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Vicky

      I did, too! I thought that was pretty amazing that for someone who is not an animal lover he numbered the cats that come around his house. lol

      Oct 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm   rating: 36  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Kara

      Best comment I’ve read in a long time.

      Oct 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Palomon

      Number seventeen! Be seeing you!

      Oct 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Steph

      It must be a relative of 400 the cat.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 1:31 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Clumber

      Awesome comment, would read again! 5 stars!

      :) I was also initially impressed by the cat being named 17. I may steal that in the future should we be invaded by a feline. (who, like our current 3 damn cats, would be an indoors only cat except for supervised grass eating then barfing adventures in the front yard.)

      Oct 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Ali Longworth

      How do you get them to barf outside? Mine like the go out to eat grass thing but then come in to “share.”

      Oct 11, 2012 at 12:28 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #2   quat

    … and let the great debate start all over again. 1, 2, 3, GO.

    Oct 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #3   wonderman

    That grey cat’s water was delicious.

    Oct 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm   rating: 31  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   The Elf

      The cat’s grey water, less so.

      Oct 15, 2012 at 11:29 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #4   KC

    Cat must only like Pellegrino-SNOB!

    Oct 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Alethia

      It’s a cat – the snob part goes without saying. ;)

      Oct 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #5   freejinger bang

    The reply note is best read Henny Youngman style. “Take my cat, please”

    Oct 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   meri

      that is exactly as I read it! lol

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #6   Molly Musaka

    The response was hilarious. If the guy was concerned about the cat, set out some food and water on your own porch, or on this guy’s. Drop a note saying “the little tupperware container is mine, I left it there with water for the cat. If it bothers you, just turn it upside down and I’ll take it away.” Either of those is what I’d do. I have a couple strays around the neighborhood that stop by my house and drink the water I leave out. Wish I could afford to get them all spayed. :/

    Oct 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm   rating: 33  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   The Elf

      Yes, it sounds like the original note-writer knew the cat was a stray? If so, then if you’re worried about the cat you can always put food/water/shelter in your own yard and take on the responsibility.

      Fact: Most cats like the heat. My black cat will lay in the sun until he is actually hot to the touch and love every second of it. My white cat will sit so close to the fire I worry that her whiskers will catch, but she just bakes and loves it. Most likely the “miserable” cat wasn’t.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 7:52 am   rating: 44  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   lani

      Our cat would lay pressed up against our baseboard heaters. Those heaters would get hot enough to burn with a touch.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:10 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   Rattus

      My boys love heat in the winter, absolutely hate it in the summer. These evenings we have one each pressed up along either side of the oil heater. But come July? The despairing mewling, the listless trudging about the yard trying to find a cool spot, the guilt inducing mute appeal for me to do something about the weather all lead me to believe that they wish it was winter.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   Tatterdemalion

      Yep, cats’ normal body temperature is a few degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than human norm. :-)

      You can tell when a cat is maxed out on heat because it will pick a *cool* spot to flop down in, like floor tiles or shaded ground. The flop position is more or less the same as the “OMG this sunny spot is so GREAT” flop position, though!

      Oct 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #6.5   meri

      Thank you 6.2 lani, we had a cat who would worship the wood stove so much that she actually began sleeping under it when a fire was burning in it. She lived a good long life over 13 years old, and I never once saw her take a drink of water, but man, she was ruthless with mice in the back yard!

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #6.6   Ali Longworth

      If it was like many cats I know/see it is probably drinking out of a swimming pool or the saucer of a potted plant. Even my indoor cats insist on drinking from sink, bathtub or potted plant over ar “nice and clean” bowl near their food. (I don’t even bother anymore – just keep the spare bathroom sink full).

      Oct 11, 2012 at 12:31 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #7   kermit

    Maybe the cat’s not drinking the water because it’s used to drinking booze.

    Oct 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm   rating: 44  small thumbs up

  • #8   Gizmo

    Maybe the cat would prefer a prune in gin like the little old lady used to share.

    Oct 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm   rating: 39  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   meri

      that is so predictable

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #9   phoenix

    So, a neighbor is trying to guilt trip a neighbor that he isn’t taking good enough care of the stray cats in the neighborhood?

    I’d pay a bum to sit in front of the moron’s house and write him scathing notes about not sponge bathing the bum . “He just needs to come inside!”

    Oct 10, 2012 at 3:35 am   rating: 96  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Roto13

      Yeah, really. What kind of thought process does that guy have? “The old lady who used to live in that house took care of stray cats, therefore the stray cats come with the house”?

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:47 am   rating: 39  small thumbs up

  • #10   Tess

    Unrelated, but it irritates me when people write their Ts like 7s.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 7:28 am   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Tatterdemalion

      I7 doesn’7 bo7her me a7 all.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm   rating: 28  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   FeRD bang

      IVII does sVIIrike me as a liVIIVIIle annoying, don’VII you VIIhink?

      Oct 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   Nope

      Same here. The funny part is they wrote at least 1 or 2 of the T’s correctly. Hmm…

      Oct 15, 2012 at 11:05 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #11   Brian

    Where are the diatribes about keeping cats indoors / not keeping cats indoors?! Where’s the vitriol? The cocksure attitudes? The passive aggressive sniping?

    It’s disappointing. Someone needs to submit something on tipping.


    Oct 10, 2012 at 7:37 am   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   The Elf

      I think we’ve been there/done that a little too much already.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 7:53 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   Crystal

      I’ll try.

      “Why can’t the jerk just let the poor cat in? It’s obvious it was the CAT’S house before it was the man’s house. In a situation like this it’s his RESPONSIBILITY to go buy a litter box, litter, cat food, cat toys and catnip. Otherwise he’s a bad person.”

      That was my best try, unless I take the “how DARE that old lady die and leave that cat to fend for itself? It was her RESPONSIBILITY to live until the cat died or a relative volunteered to move into her house and make the cat comfortable for the rest of its days!”

      Oct 10, 2012 at 7:55 am   rating: 38  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   Jami

      While I know you’re being tongue in cheek, I’d say it’s more the dude’s responsibility to buy one of those feral cat traps and take the cat to a shelter. If not for the cat’s sake, then for the birds’. And also because it would probably piss that neighbor off more and that would be fun to see. “How dare you humanely trap that stray and take it to people who’ll make sure it’s cared for and healthy?!”

      Oct 10, 2012 at 10:36 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #11.4   Thunder McKing

      It’s not that dude’s responsibility to buy anything for a stray. If “interested animal lover” really wants to help the cat, he should step up his efforts and find him a home, call a shelter or feed it rather than guilt trip his neighbor who has zero obligation to care for the cat.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:58 am   rating: 34  small thumbs up

    • #11.5   Poltergeist

      Shut up Brian!!!

      Oct 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #11.6   Ali Longworth

      Cow tipping?

      Oct 11, 2012 at 12:33 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #11.7   Brian

      Fair enough Poltergeist.


      Oct 11, 2012 at 8:41 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #12   H for Toy

    I would also like to subscribe!

    Oct 10, 2012 at 7:52 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #13   MBee

    I want to point out that Dad flipped the letter over and wrote on the back.

    Somehow, knowing that makes me love his response that much more…

    Oct 10, 2012 at 8:13 am   rating: 52  small thumbs up

  • #14   Lil'

    The interested animal lover could take the hike over to leave a note but not a bowl of water? Hmm.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 9:18 am   rating: 33  small thumbs up

  • #15   chrisinphx

    And just how can the note writer tell the difference between a “miserable cat” sunning on the porch and a “totally content cat” sunning on the porch? Cats only have one look…disgusted at the humans.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 11:26 am   rating: 71  small thumbs up

  • #16   Robin

    Maybe the cat is not drinking water because cats don’t tend to drink sitting water, they get most of their hydration from food, ie the small furry things they kill. If the cat wanted to be cool it would more to shade, it likes basking in the sun, just leave the cat be, it’s fine.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 11:47 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   redheadwglasses

      Yes, this. Most cats don’t have a very effective thirst mechanism to tell them to drink water. I have sort of trained my cats by putting water bowls all over the damn house. They drink plenty of water, except the water bowl by their food bowls goes untouched, day after day.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 11:53 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   mutzali

      I concur, Redhead. I can’t keep a glass of water on my nightstand, because one of these furry idiots will start drinking from it and get his head stuck, and then it’s merry hell trying to catch the cat and remove the glass at 3AM.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm   rating: 52  small thumbs up

    • #16.3   Poltergeist

      Catching our cat in the rare act of drinking is like watching Wild Kingdom. Everybody stops what they’re doing and tiptoes over to observe from a safe distance behind a corner. Our breathing is hushed. We must be careful not to make a single noise lest we spook the beast and he never drinks again. Then he turns around with this look that says “Why the fuck are y’all staring at me?” We respond by chasing him down like the animal that he is and smothering him with love until he mauls us.

      Nature is so beautiful.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm   rating: 50  small thumbs up

    • #16.4   redheadwglasses

      “smothering him with love until he mauls us”

      Heh. I pester my cats by hugging them really hard and saying, “I”m going to squeeze the love right into you!”

      Oct 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #16.5   Clumber

      DAMN YOU mutzali at #16.2 !
      The image you shoved into my head made me snort-laugh which lead to a coworker talking to me.
      talking to me!!!!

      (am now considering placing a water glass on SO’s bedstand just to witness the show!)

      Oct 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #16.6   ramentastic

      Huh … My cat is weird then, she loves to drink water! If she doesn’t think it’s fresh enough she will actually chase me around the house until I change it.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #16.7   Kathleen

      My strictly indoor cat drinks out of the same water bowl as the dogs. I don’t care what the neighbor’s roaming cat drinks. When is slows down due to extreme thirst, my dogs will catch it and kill it. Problem solved.

      How was that, Brian?

      Oct 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #16.8   it's naptime

      My cats are more like yours. I’ve got one that sits on the edge of the tub so he can hop in and lick up the water as soon as I get out. Of course, he might be after soap residue; he loves to sniff toothpaste and mentholatum. And vicks. And gasoline. And mint tea bags.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #16.9   mutzali

      Well, Clumber, it’s a dilemma. If I use a narrow glass which they can’t fit their face in, they usually knock it over trying to get in. And if I use a mug or something else with a wide enough opening for them NOT to get stuck in, then they drink most of my water, and, although I love them, I don’t really want to drink the water they’ve had their butt-licking face in.

      Oct 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #16.10   Jamie

      OT, but have you considered a sports bottle? I tend to flail a bit in my sleep, so open glasses are pretty much right out, and this is how I get around it in a way that still allows me sleepytime waterings. :)

      Oct 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #16.11   Seanette

      My cat likes to get a drink from the tub. While I’m in it. Her predecessor did the same thing.

      I keep a water bowl down for her, and she gets some canned food each day. I’m going to assume that if she needed more water, she’d visit that bowl more. Since she seems healthy and content, seems a safe bet. ;)

      Oct 11, 2012 at 2:44 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #16.12   Brian

      Kathleen, that was wonderful. Thank you.

      Oct 11, 2012 at 8:43 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #16.13   The Elf

      I have one cat who drinks water so often I suspect he is steam-powered, and one that turns up her pretty little nose at it no matter what the source. Go figure.

      Oct 11, 2012 at 8:56 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #16.14   wright1

      I started using containers with lids for my nightly hydration for the same reason: would wake up to find the lazy, furry freeloader using his clean- everything tongue to drink from my conveniently wide-mouthed tumbler. His waterdish, you see, was a whole ten feet farther away…

      Oct 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #17   N0b0dy

    Life surely is a real CATastrophe for this poor little beast ;)

    Oct 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #18   Gwan

    I just love that he has a witness on standby

    Oct 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm   rating: 30  small thumbs up

  • #19   warns

    I’m team original letter recipient/2nd letter writer. It’s weird for a neighbor to criticize somebody’s pet care when they’re clearly aware the cat doesn’t belong to them. Also yes, if she cared so much, she’s welcome to take the cat in herself.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm   rating: 18  small thumbs up

  • #20   Charlie

    I had an aunt that felt sorry for a stray cat that was hanging around her house, so she started feeding it. Before you knew it, she was feeding a dozen or so that took up residence under her front porch.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   Tatterdemalion

      And she’s lucky it’s only cats. For a while there was a skunk colony that paraded by to nom the food my parents left out for their outdoor cats…

      Oct 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #20.2   Jamie

      At one point we had a stray cat who wouldn’t leave our back door alone. He was quite young and we suspect dropped at a nearby forest. We took pity on him and caught him and got him dewormed, deliced, and desexed. And promptly named him Nuisance, and he lived with us until we moved to Australia.

      Our first cat never, ever forgave us for getting a second cat. Nuisance was RIGHT OUT. But she never did more than bat him around, closed-pawed, so he knew who’s house it was. ;)

      Oct 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #21   Brook

    The cat wrote the first note. He’s making a play to get access to your couch.

    To pee on it, no doubt.

    Oct 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm   rating: 35  small thumbs up

  • #22   Bluecanary

    Start putting food and water out for one, soon you’re putting food and water out for ten, and then they start to breed, and before you know it, your neighbors are leaving passive aggressive notes on your porch about cat shit on their lawn and murdered wildlife on the welcome mat. Leaving anything out for feral cats is a BAD idea…

    Oct 11, 2012 at 9:41 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #23   Bethany B.

    Thanks for sticking that song in my head. Let me repay the favor:

    Karma-karma-karma-karma-karma chameleon…

    Oct 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #24   johnbean36 bang

    Hi I am the son of the man in this note. I just wanted to clarify. The old woman the neighbor was talking about was my grandma. When my grandmother died my dad reluctantly took over taking care of the cat but would not let the cat in the house. The witness he discussed is my aunt. Also yes he wrote the response on the back of the note from the neighbor with the hopes that she would read it but more than likely she didn’t. Honestly my dad died a year ago and the cat is still alive so the cat has outlived two owners.

    Nov 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up


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