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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    6

    Default New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    My house backs up to a neighbor's backyard and we have a lattice fence at the end of my small deck for some privacy. The edge of the deck and lattice are about 6" within my property. The lattice has a small area cut into it that allows my cat to come and go. We had an oral agreement for the past 7 years with the owner of the property that my cat was allowed to enter her backyard.

    The original owner of the house has moved out and I don't know if she has sold or is renting the house. The house currently appears empty. Today I find that someone has sloppy nailed boards to my lattice and has blocked the hole for my cat to access.

    What are my rights in this situation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Your former neighbor allowed your cat into her yard. Your new neighbor has revoked that permission and does not want your cat in her yard. You and your cat have no right to enter the yard without permission. However, your neighbor does not have the right to nail boards to your fence.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    El Dorado County, CA
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    395

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    I agree with what Mr. Knowitall said with the possible exception of nailing boards to the fence.

    Your neighbor has the right to prevent your cat's access to his or her property. Since you describe it as being on your deck, I'm picturing that you are in a duplex, a townhouse, or in a subdivision where many of the homes and improvements, including your deck, are built at a zero setback (essentially on the property boundary). If your lattice fence is on or very close to the boundary line, it would likely be considered a boundary fence, very much like the wall within a duplex or townhouse that separates one residential unit from another under the same roof is a party wall. The hole in the fence was made specifically for that purpose, so it follows that the neighbor must specifically prevent access through that hole to keep your cat from entering.

    If that's the case, then the neighbor could attach some manner of material to the fence to block that hole, but it must be done in a manner that leaves it in a safe condition. Alternatively, and perhaps before blocking the hole in the manner done, your neighbor should have spoken to you and asked you to close up the hole. Presumably you made the hole for your cat, and so it was actually your responsibility to prevent the trespass.

    Either way, you've been put on notice that the permission for your cat to access your neighbor's yard has been rescinded or revoked. Ensuring that your cat does not enter that yard is a shared responsibility. Your neighbor has the responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent people and animals from entering their yard, and you have the responsibility of taking reasonable steps to ensure that your neighbor's right to privacy and a cat poop free yard is respected in so much as you and your family and pets are concerned.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,237

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Quote Quoting delta_nine
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    Today I find that someone has sloppy nailed boards to my lattice and has blocked the hole for my cat to access.

    What are my rights in this situation?
    You have the right to replace the sloppy nailed boards with neatly nailed boards that please you.

    And keep your cat on your own property.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    6

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Thank you for your explanation. Yes, I live in a dense urban area and most of the houses are built with zero setback.

    Today I heard a bunch of banging outside and found my new neighbor had removed the boards and was installing a piece of metal grating onto my deck. I asked him to stop and why he thought that it was ok to do with without talking to me first. He really didn't have anything to say except that he didn't like looking at the hole. I asked him to stop, and remove the rest of the nails and left it at that. I'm not even sure he knows that I have a cat. In the backyard with him was a small dog and a ~3 year old so it's possible that he wanted to close up the hole to prevent them form coming onto my property.

    There are several other cats on the block that also have access to the backyards so I'm not sure how he plans on keeping them out



    Quote Quoting eapls2708
    View Post
    I agree with what Mr. Knowitall said with the possible exception of nailing boards to the fence.

    Your neighbor has the right to prevent your cat's access to his or her property. Since you describe it as being on your deck, I'm picturing that you are in a duplex, a townhouse, or in a subdivision where many of the homes and improvements, including your deck, are built at a zero setback (essentially on the property boundary). If your lattice fence is on or very close to the boundary line, it would likely be considered a boundary fence, very much like the wall within a duplex or townhouse that separates one residential unit from another under the same roof is a party wall. The hole in the fence was made specifically for that purpose, so it follows that the neighbor must specifically prevent access through that hole to keep your cat from entering.

    If that's the case, then the neighbor could attach some manner of material to the fence to block that hole, but it must be done in a manner that leaves it in a safe condition. Alternatively, and perhaps before blocking the hole in the manner done, your neighbor should have spoken to you and asked you to close up the hole. Presumably you made the hole for your cat, and so it was actually your responsibility to prevent the trespass.

    Either way, you've been put on notice that the permission for your cat to access your neighbor's yard has been rescinded or revoked. Ensuring that your cat does not enter that yard is a shared responsibility. Your neighbor has the responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent people and animals from entering their yard, and you have the responsibility of taking reasonable steps to ensure that your neighbor's right to privacy and a cat poop free yard is respected in so much as you and your family and pets are concerned.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Quote Quoting eapls2708
    View Post
    If that's the case, then the neighbor could attach some manner of material to the fence to block that hole, but it must be done in a manner that leaves it in a safe condition.
    What authority can you present that would give anybody in any state the right to nail boards to somebody else's fence?

    What makes you believe that a person who erects a fence on their side of the property line has to make it cat-proof?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,237

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post

    What makes you believe that a person who erects a fence on their side of the property line has to make it cat-proof?
    They don't. Wouldn't do any good anyway. A cat can easily get over the top of a 6' fence or wall.

    What cat owners need to do is make their cat travel-proof so the cat doesn't get eliminated by a home owner who is tired of cleaning up cat poop and paw prints.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,690

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    What authority can you present that would give anybody in any state the right to nail boards to somebody else's fence?

    What makes you believe that a person who erects a fence on their side of the property line has to make it cat-proof?
    Who believes that anyone, anywhere can stop a cat from going wherever the heck that cat wants to go? Seriously, unless a cat never goes outside, its not possible to fence a cat in or out.

    He has a dog...its highly unlikely that he will attempt to keep cats from entering his property, because they will naturally shy away from it because of the dog.

    I suspect that the OP is correct. That he wanted the hole closed to keep his dog and child in, not to keep her cat out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    RTR/WDE
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    1,705

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Who believes that anyone, anywhere can stop a cat from going wherever the heck that cat wants to go? Seriously, unless a cat never goes outside, its not possible to fence a cat in or out.

    He has a dog...its highly unlikely that he will attempt to keep cats from entering his property, because they will naturally shy away from it because of the dog.

    I suspect that the OP is correct. That he wanted the hole closed to keep his dog and child in, not to keep her cat out.
    It's possible to keep a cat where you want it. A screened in porch comes to mind, if someone wants Kitty to get air/outside scents (or a fully-fenced [including top] chain-link dog run).
    Don't make me quote Monty Python at you.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    15,690

    Default Re: New Neighbor is Blocking My Cat From Her Yard

    Quote Quoting BooRennie
    View Post
    It's possible to keep a cat where you want it. A screened in porch comes to mind, if someone wants Kitty to get air/outside scents (or a fully-fenced [including top] chain-link dog run).
    My mom tried the screened in porch. The cats made their own cat door in the screen. I knew someone who tried the big cage bit, and the cat managed to unlatch it every time.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    They don't. Wouldn't do any good anyway. A cat can easily get over the top of a 6' fence or wall.

    What cat owners need to do is make their cat travel-proof so the cat doesn't get eliminated by a home owner who is tired of cleaning up cat poop and paw prints.
    Cats are different than dogs. They find a place where they can dig a hole and bury their poop. Therefore nothing to clean up...and honestly, on the rare occasions that they do not, I challenge anyone to actually find and identify any cat poop, even if they are looking. It wouldn't be any bigger than squirrel poop.

    Paw prints? That one is a valid gripe. However again, some of what people think are kitty paw prints are other critter paw prints.

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