My asshat neighbour's cat killed our tree

My asshat neighbour’s cat has killed a tree in our backyard by scratching the bark off of it all the way around the trunk. I’m not at all happy about it. I’m hoping that our landlord, Jim’s best friend, makes our asshat neighbour unhappy about it, too, by presenting her with the $100+ bill for replacing this tree. (There is no doubt whose cat did this.)

Oh, and for those of you cat owners reading this who still let your cats roam free in the city, I hope this opens your eyes a little to the fact that your cats roaming free is not the victimless crime that people seem to think it is. Other people who like cats less than we do would be trapping this free-ranging cat and sending her to the animal shelter; we don’t blame the cat, we blame our responsibility-free neighbour. And yes, Calgary is a city where cats running free is against the law.

Thank you for putting the blame where it belongs. Sorry about your tree. I hope it gets resolved to your satisfaction and kitty is confined in the future.

-lorinada the responsible cat owner and lover

It could’ve been a beaver :wink: When the landlord replaces it maybe he could put this type of tree guard-thingie around it:

Are you sure a cat did that? Most unusual, if so. It really does sound more like beaver damage.

I know your yard is probably not in the middle of a pond, but beavers are known to roam quite a distance from water.

If a cat did do it, then it must have happened over a period of several days or weeks. And featherlou seems quite certain it was the neighbor’s cat. Which implies that she watched it claw the tree over a period of time and did nothing to stop it or to protect the bark. So maybe featherlou wanted an excuse to be irritated at the neighbor or some excuse to rant about cats running free?

As for “victimless crime” – let’s just say that property damage from roaming cats is pretty rare and is usually restricted to little presents in the flower garden. It would be difficult to generalize from featherlou’s case to huge packs of feral cats roaming the Canadian countryside deforesting entire neighborhoods.

I have to say that I would pay money to see something like this.

A perfect substitute for beef until we get this Mad Cow thing under control. Free-range cats…

I was about to come in here and tell you that in Calgary, it’s illegal to let your cats roam. You’re quicker than I am.

If they offer no compensation, threaten to caall by-law and get the cat picked up.


I busted my chops for the last two days, finally getting my gardens whipped into shape. Weeded, spaded out spent perennials, planted new perennials, annuals and my beloved tomatoes and herbs, spread cocoa shell mulch; backbreaking work but very rewarding. For one whole day, that is, until my neighbor’s cats tore the hell out of my herb bed, using it as a litter box. Now not only is cat shit and urine all over the place but several plants were destroyed. “Big deal,” you say? It is to me. I’d sent away for exactly the seeds I wanted and carefully nurtured the plants in indoor flats over months, anticipating when I could move them outside.

Do I know it was the neighbor’s cats? Yes, I saw them from my upstairs window. The trouble is, I like those cats, and my neighbors. They just don’t seem to GET it that however much cats may love to roam, permitting it invites property damage to others and peril to the cats. They’ve already had two cats hit and killed by cars. Heck, we have a large bald eagle population here. Magnificant birds, but they’re predators. Just a few months ago I saw an eagle swooping over the treetops heading back to its nest up on the bluffs, a dead cat dangling from its claws.

It’s just so wrong in so many ways.


first the cats, what’s next ? woodpeckers mutilating our lovely foliage ? rampant butterflies depriving us of our cheap pollen supply ? parakeets confusing the local bird population with their chirping ?

Canadians are funny.

now that was a gross generalization.

If I saw a cat damaging a tree in my yard I’d scare the shit out of him. It’s not that hard to terrorize one. Run at it at full speed and he’s gone for good, course in Calgary there’s probably a law against threatening cats lol

That’s the most awesome thing ever.

I don’t mind it when my cat kills trees. I mean, he’s a cat, they kill things, it’s their job. What I hate is when he brings the trees home with him, spreads bark all over the yard, and brings their bodies into the house to show me what a good job he’s doing. Sometimes they’re not even completely dead yet.

what ever you do,

NEVER EVER train them to use chain saws !!!

First of all, thank you all for a good belly laugh about something I wasn’t finding very funny.

Second, finagle, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Canadian winters, but we could have a nest of grizzly bears hibernating under the deck in the back yard and we wouldn’t know about it until spring, because we just don’t go back there in winter. The cat probably started in the fall, and continued all winter long - if I had seen the damage, I would have put chicken wire around the tree long before it got to this point. I don’t need more excuses to get annoyed at this particular neighbour; she gives me plenty from other sources.

Third, I don’t think it was a beaver - we’re about four kilometres from the nearest river, and I’ve seen beaver work before - this was a cat. Specifically, this was the only cat that I see in our yard every single day. She’s usually napping on our front step when I come home from work.

Fourth, scaring this cat would be a waste of time. This is the cat’s territory (in her little walnut brain), and she has no intention of giving it up. We’ve tried scaring her, and she just ignores us.

Fifth, skillet38, this situation bugs me. It doesn’t have to bug you, but you don’t need to crap in my thread about it. And yes, Canadians are funny. We like to laugh a lot.

I just want to get something clear, here.

Is it the neighbour who’s the asshat, or the cat?
This is very important.

Easiest way to keep the cat from EVER coming into your yard again?

Get a dog.

Just some further detail for y’all on the situation:

The tree in question, a Japanese Elm, was still pretty young – it’s maybe six-and-a-half feet tall and no bigger around than my wrist. One cat doing its daily claw sharpening on it could rip it to shreds in no time. Also, the torn bark is unquestionably clawed, not bitten – I’ve lived with cats my whole life and know what their handiwork looks like. Also, there are many, many beavers in town along the Bow River (much to the chagrin of city officials) so I have seen what beaver damage looks like.

The cat in question has claimed a territory for itself that seems to extend about two houses out from its actual home. It’s pretty fearless on its turf and very friendly to all its loyal serfs… er, the humans in the area (I’ve even seen it prance into other people’s houses when the door stayed open too long). I’ve chased it off our property quite a few times, but it has no interest in staying off. The previous residents here had three very large dogs to protect the property so she kept her distance back then, but she doesn’t run far from the semi-regular soakings from the garden hose or snowballs lobbed at her (no, I don’t try to injure her, so don’t even go there).

I belive the only way we could keep her off our property would be to have her trapped over and over until the City had her destroyed, but we don’t want to do that to a cat that is only doing what cats do. Again, as featherlou noted, we blame the neighbours who feel that the city by-laws don’t apply to their kitty and having the cat put down would hardly punish them for their negligence. Maybe we should have the neighbours trapped… Hmmmm.

Kidnap the cat and keep it indoors.

  1. Your tree is safe
  2. The cat is safe
  3. Neighbour learns consequences of letting kitty roam - against the law - and kitty still lives to tell the tale.
  4. You get a nice new kitty.

It’s a thought, anyhow.

For good? Not a chance. Domestic house cats are predators too, though variably adapted to humans. Maybe it’s a case of crossed signals. The cats lurked around while I was sweating and planting away. Mighty hunter or companion or a mix of the above? Who knows. I chased them off several times and my dog’s presence didn’t hurt either. But when we went indoors their instincts took over. By the time I saw what they were doing and got downstairs and outside, the damage was done. They were just being Cat. Quite aside from the damage one of them did, one of them also died from a wholly preventable cause.


We have two already (strictly indoor cats). A third would be just too much, especially one who spends most, if not all, of its time outside and would probably not take to moving inside permanently. But an honourable thought, though.