Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I have a neighbor with whom I am very close. We share pots of soup
and library books. We run errands for one another and housesit for
overnights (though for longer stints we hire help). She and her
husband recently adopted a foundling Lab who has an unfortunate and
insane hatred of cats. While they were traveling, the dog broke away
from the house sitter and killed a different neighbor’s cat. Everyone
was extremely distraught, including my friends, however they have
chosen to keep the dog. Recently I lost my own cat to a speeding car.
Fortunately my remaining one is elderly and stays inside or on my
porch. I realized that I&'ve become a little paranoid about having my
neighbor drop by when she has her dog with her, even if he is leashed
and on heavy-duty collar. In the past she would easily just pop in for
a cuppa coffee and a schmooze, or to drop off or pick up something.
What should I say and how?
Dear Kitty Momma:
Your “paranoia” is legit. Any dog who gets away with killing a cat is not
going to know IT’s NOT OKAY!! You obviously don&'t want to end your
friendship over this, but you do have the right to keep your pet safe.
Some cities have restrictions (from penning them up to killing them)
on animals that have killed or injured people. I don&'t know if that&'s
true for animals that have killed or injured other animals. You can
check the local ordinances, but unless you or the former kitty’s mother
I say invite the neighbor over for coffee and tell her you&'re very sorry
to have to have this conversation. Explain that she remains welcome
but the dog does not. You might say you’re sure accident that
happened with the house sitter would never happen with her or her
husband. But quickly add that you are traumatized by the loss of your
one cat and very protective of your other. Ask her to respect your
concerns and leave her dog at home when she comes to visit or pick
up/deliver. It may be more convenient for her to do everything while
she is walking the dog, but he’s not invited. Say if it’s a problem, that
you will do all the pick up and delivery. Then ask what training and
behavior modification the dog is receiving. It’s okay to let her know
this is serious to anyone who loves cats.