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4.8.11

Who pays the vet bills?

As mentioned before we have a lovely little cat called Jasmine. We've always had comments on how pretty she is but also had comments about how shy she is.
She's always been a real mummy's girl. Never really liked my husband, never really gone to my mum to be stroked, won't go up to anyone other than me.

A year and a half ago two of our neighbours told us Jasmine had been going to their house for food. I asked kindly that they didn't feed her so they stopped. Except we then realised a third neighbour was feeding her, and wouldn't stop.
She would encourage Jasmine over, leave her front door open for Jasmine to come and go as she wished. It was a real battle.
On a few occasions I'd have to put a note through her door to say please don't feed Jasmine (she wouldn't answer her door if she saw me coming) and 2 minutes later she'd be rushing to my house, with Jasmine, claiming that she hadn't been feeding her. Which we knew for a fact was a lie.
She was trying to steal our cat.
This has still continued over the last year and a half and we are stuck for what to do now.

Except things have got worse, and one of the two neighbours who had previously informed us Jasmine was going to their house, has also been feeding her. This neighbour has commented before that Jasmine won't let her near to touch her and that she has tried.
Best way to know that she is being fed elsewhere, the size of her tummy! She's normally quite a petite cat [although quite fluffy] and when she's been eating a lot or had a big meal her tummy swells up and she almost feels pregnant! This is her current state and the indication to us that she was definitely being fed in another house.

Tonight was a battle to get her in and we lost. This will be the 4th night in a week that she hasn't been home. Her brother was hit by a car overnight/early hours of the morning after not coming in when we called him so I am constantly paranoid and desperate for her to be in.
We noticed that whilst we were trying to get her in she was looking over at this neighbours house, as she had been recently, and kept edging towards their shed roof. This is where we've seen her heading and coming from the last couple of weeks but thought nothing of it although had slight suspicions.
Tonight it was clear that she wanted to be in this house. We turned our back for one second and she was gone.
The neighbours conservatory door was open, despite it chucking it down with rain and being 11:30 at night.
Fuming, I wrote a note to put through the door of these neighbours [not good with face to face confrontation or would avoid the issue] I asked them to not feed her and said that Charles was getting upset at not seeing her anymore. I apologised though if they are not feeding her. [Letter was written nicely]

My issues are:
1: SHE'S OUR CAT!!!
2: She is fed at home and constantly has food available.
3: If we, for some reason, are unable to be at home to feed her we keep her in and either arrange for a family member to pop in and feed her or put down enough food to last her.
4: To me, you may feed a stray cat or a homeless cat, but not a cat that you know has a home.

They are in effect stealing our cat. She is our possession and we are the ones who should be looking out for her. My other issue with this is where does their [both neighbours who feed her] care end?
Ok they want to feed her, but if she is hit by a car or needs any kind of veterinary help who pays the hefty bill?
Not them, we do.
So, would it be unreasonable for us to ask them to split a bill three ways? Or for them to go halves together Or to pick one of the two neighbours to pay the bill? [There is no bill to pay, I'm being hypothetical]
How far does this cat stealing/care go? Surely if they think its ok to feed our cat then its ok for us to ask them to pay towards her medical care if required.

I just don't know what to do anymore. Asking them to not feed her just doesn't work.

We are considering keeping her in as a house cat but this seems mean and we don't want to have to keep a litter tray 24/7! And its difficult to make sure she doesn't rush out or climb out of an open window.....I'd keep her in a cage if possible but that's just cruel....right? [tongue in cheek before anyone phones the RSPCA]