OK, where did we leave off? Ah yes, a little over a week ago I discovered cat poop on top of the chicken wire cover on our garden. Frustrated, I called Animal Control back and told them I was ready to lay traps. They offered it before but we thought maybe a visit from the Animal Control Officer would convince the neighbors to downsize their kitty population. After that failed, I was ready for Animal Control to flex some muscle.
Micah knew the traps wouldn’t appear right away and they wouldn’t keep the kitties out of the veggie garden, so he put this together for me. Look! Radishes are coming in. So are beans and corn!
It’s huge and not at all inviting. He said he came home one day and found one of the kitties sitting in front of it with the look of defeat on its face.
Anyway, that was a week ago. I was back to stalking our front lawn with the garden hose and hissing at kitties through any one of our 26 windows. Yesterday afternoon, I heard a knock at our door at it was the Animal Catcher. He said that the Animal Control Officer spoke with the Mom next door and it was clear she wasn’t going to cooperate. AC (that’s how I’m going to refer to the Animal Catcher) was told that the Mom was not happy at all. That she wasn’t going to help catch the cats or hand them over. She said they were semi-feral cats that they feed. Make note of that last statement. When we saw the cats being taken away a few week back, they going to being fixed. The Animal Control Officer was able to convince the family of fixing the kitties which is a HUGE accomplishment. When Animal Control realized that reasoning with the family wasn’t possible, they agreed it was time to lay some traps.
As AC and I were filling out paperwork, he asked me about the property damage and what kinds of things we tried to deter the kitties. He agreed that we put a lot of effort into keeping them off our property and assured me that this was the only option (bless him!). Basically, he would lay the trap and when we noticed a cats was trapped, we would call and someone would come to pick up the cat. If we couldn’t call before 7:30 pm, we’d have to either let the cat go or put the trap in the garage.
We walked around the side of the house to lay the trap when he mentioned he could smell the cat poop. Awesome. He said there’s no immediate way of getting rid of it except for tilling it with fresh soil and hoping that helps. We laid the trap on the said of the house above the veggie garden. AC showed me how to bait and set the trap. We covered it up and as we were finishing up, I asked him how many animals are you legally allowed to have. He said 3. Three animals. Make note of that fact too.
About 10 minutes after AC left, Micah got home. About 10 minutes after Micah got home, our first kitty went for the bait. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a kitty to get caught or not. I didn’t want to have to deal with it but at the same time I realized it was all we had left. The first kitty got away. It was long and still had it hind legs outside of the trap when the door started to close on it. That trap scared the crap out of the kitty. It took off like it was on fire. I kind of felt bad but Micah and I went outside to reset the trap.
I’d say about 20 minutes later kitties two and three went to investigate. Both kitties set off the trap and both kitties got away. We each went down to reset it and then went about making dinner. Not more than 5 minutes later, Micah noticed that the trap door was down again. He thought another kitty got away but when he got down there, he found one of the grey kitties trapped. I called the animal control and they sent AC back to our house. So it only took 1 hour for 3 kitties to check out the trap and a 4th to get trapped. Just ONE HOUR.
AC came to our door and said he just found out that the neighbors have 10 licensed cats. TEN. Remember the first fact I mentioned? The one about them only feeding the semi-feral cats? What about the ‘only 3 animals per household’ one? Why did they have 10 licensed cats when you could only have 3 living with you? He told me that it was actually a zoning issue and it was actually DPD that took care of those violation. DPD, our friend but most of the time foe. DPD, who had given us so much grief about the slope, permits and currently our final inspection. This was very interesting.
As AC was loading the grey kitty into his truck, one of the neighbor’s sons came home. I don’t know what was said but imagine the kid told AC that was his cat and AC told him he was taking it away. The kid went inside and 30 seconds later the Mom came running out with a baby in her arms. We tried to watch and not watch at the same time. AC got to our house a little after 6pm and didn’t leave until 7:30pm-ish. We tried to ignore what was going on outside but we couldn’t. One of us would “get water” just so we could peek through the alley side window. What we can figure out is that AC and the Mom had a discussion. AC stuck to his guns and didn’t just hand over the cat. Dad got home and wrote AC a check to bail the kitty out. AC was suppose to leave another trap but didn’t.
Before I go on, I have to say a few words about AC. AC is easily one of the nicest city employees I have encountered during the entire house building process and kitty fiasco. He was funny, reassuring and very helpful. He shared some valuable information with us (ie kitty zone is DPD territory) and clearly is good with people. He managed to calmly talk to the neighbors for over 30 minutes and they didn’t seem super mad. I say ‘seem’ because they probably were but they didn’t yell at him loud enough for us the hear. I couldn’t do his job.
Back to the story. So once AC left and the neighbors went into the house, I went to DPD’s website and finally found the ordinance on keeping animals in the city. I’d been looking on the animal control page for weeks and couldn’t find anything. If your property is 20,000 sq ft or less and within the City of Seattle, you can only have 3 domestic animals. I looked up their property information on Zillow and found that their property is a little over 6,000 sq ft. So now what? We could decide whether to complain or not. So what we decide was that I would call AC and find out what happened. We’re hoping that he convinced the neighbors to give 7 kitties to PAWS (a no kill shelter) and that no further action isn’t needed. If that isn’t the case, then we decided we’d put in a formal complaint to DPD. Dadtractor is suppose to call our building inspector today about our final inspection and was going to ask for his advice about the cats and the zoning law and DPD.
Micah and I feel really bad about how this all has played out. We’re kicking ourselves for not complaining during construction. It would have been easy. We could have said we were worried about the cats in the house or them peeing in the house. Or we could have mentioned that Dadtractor is VERY, VERY allergic to cats and went through a few inhalers during the building process (which is true). There would have been 6-8 months between us reporting the problem and us moving in. Things could have blown over. We also feel bad because feral kitties that can’t be adopted at the animal shelter get put down. I’m not sure what can be done now though.
I’m glad I only have a few more days of this madness before I head off for a much needed vacation.