Am I hurting this cat?

There is a friendly neighborhood cat with a collar and tag who is always begging for food. I called the owner 5 or 6 years ago who lives a few streets over because I thought the cat was lost. He said the cat is just a mooch and will go wherever someone will feed him.

I only used to see him occasionally, but now it’s like he’s stalking me. The cat does not look over or underfed, but he is always begging for milk (or whatever he can get) when I get home. I was concerned about messing up his diet (he looks a bit elderly) so I would only feed him every so often to discourage him, but this only seemed to make his determination more fierce, and whenever I get home he’s there. The time doesn’t matter any time of the night or day *he’s always there *within 10 seconds of pulling into the driveway. He lives several street over so it’s obvious he’s constantly lying in wait for his milk fix.

Should I be feeding someone else’s cat? Can milk interfere with an older cats diet?

Leaving aside the issue of whether or not feeding someone else’s cat is the thing to do – milk isn’t a good thing for cats, regardless of popular depictions. It’ll give most cats the runs because they’re lactose intolerant. That’s why stores market special “milk” for cats, engineered not to give them gastric issues.

If you must feed a cat, feed them–wait for it–cat food. Cow’s milk is bad for adult cats.

I am not a vet, but I’ve always heard that milk is bad for cats, too. Also, you don’t know if the cat is now, or may be in the future, on a special diet of some sort.

If I were you, I’d call the owner and say “your cat likes to visit me and I find it hard to resist giving it treats; would it be okay by you if I give a few [insert brand/flavor here] to your cat when it comes over? I promise not to feed it anything else without your knowledge.”

No, you probably shouldn’t feed someone else’s cat - my cats are on the right food for their ages and weights, and get measured amounts twice a day. Of course, the proper response when a neighbour calls you and tells you your cat is always at their house isn’t to just say, yeah, he’s a mooch. I don’t let my cats have the run of the neighbourhood, either. Start turning the hose on him instead of feeding him - that might do the trick. The cat, not the neighbour, that is. :smiley:

I would be pretty unhappy if someone fed my pets anything without my permission. Before my husband and I split up, he was only allowed to feed my rabbits, and only hay. The pellet rationing and salad distribution was all on me, because I didn’t trust him with it really. (Somewhat little known fact: rabbits can beg, just like dogs. They are also generally a little cuter. He would have given them extra carrots, I know it!) My dalmatian is on a monitored diet as well–because of his medical condition, plus the fact that his daily pill is supposed to be taken with food. If his appetite is ruined by dinner time, I have to give it to him anyway, which upsets his stomach. My retired neighbors next door love him dearly, and have permission to feed him a few treats a week, but that’s about it. So yes, you can harm a neighbor cat/dog/critter by feeding it something it doesn’t need. That said, my pets don’t roam the neighborhood either. If the dal got out and lost he’d be dead in about three days. I have to know where he is at all times. Hopefully if it was as serious as my situation, the cat would be kept track of, so I don’t think you are doing any serious damage. Except, as noted above, cow’s milk isn’t good for cats.

Can you tell my wife that. she constantly gives our oldest cat milk because “she likes it!”. I’ve told her a million times its not good for her, but she gives it to her anyway. that cat has the shits almost constantly.

Its just like when she would feed the middle cat table scraps. I’d tell her to cut it out and she wouldn’t. She’d wait until I was out of the room to do it. Grrrr…now that cat weighs almost 16lbs! Even the vet told her the cat is obese. My wife maintains she only looks fat because of her short body. Its like talking to a Palin supporter. Why admit an inconvenient truth thats obvious to EVERYONE.

At least the fat cat is losing weight since I made it a point to control her diet. If my wife tries to give her more scraps I’ve told her I’ll break her fingers.

Maybe you could compromise with your wife, Jolly. A tiny bit of milk doesn’t hurt them - my cats get to lick out the cereal bowl every morning - that gets them maybe half a teaspoon of milk, and they love it.

Your understanding of animal psychology is a bit wrong-headed. :wink:

Congratulations, you have your very own beggar cat! Cow’s milk can cause some stomach upset and diarrhea in cats, so you could go to a pet store and pick up a carton of Catmilk - it’s made by Whiskas, and is formulated to agree with cat tummies.

I don’t see a problem with giving him some of that, I’m sure it makes his day. He probably eats worse things during his daily outings (dead things, etc.)