I live in Downtown Berkeley and my apartment building has a cat infestation. Two identical stray cats have taken up residence in the hallways. One of them dropped out of a ceiling fan onto the washing machine while I was doing laundry once and scared the fuck out of me. The front door of the building doesn’t close and they can easily scootch in under the security gate. At first it was a cute surprise but now I feel like a shit head for not feeding them when evidence abounds that other dwellers around me clearly are.
We are not a neighborly bunch. Residents come and go a lot as the building is near Cal. I saw my landlord in the lobby and asked him about it. He said they were trying to catch the cats. Huh? One of them zoomed into my apartment once and I just picked it up and carried it outside. I really don’t want fleas. I know I suck.
I googled and found that I am not alone in this problem. In Miami, a man shot at his neighbors for refusing to stop feeding strays in their shared apartment complex. On the other end of the spectrum, a stray in Russia living in an apartment’s hallways was heralded after saving an abandoned infant from freezing to death. I hope Marsha the cat got a real place to live after that.
Friend or foe, what are you supposed to do about stray cats living in your apartment building? The Humane Society has specific advise for housing managers. TNR stands for, “trap, neuter, and return.” Managers are supposed to get the cats all fixed up at the vet and then either take them to some kind of community group or ask the residents to continue caring for them. I’m not paying rent to live in an animal shelter? I know I suck.
There are laws in California pertaining to feral cats but as far as I can tell these laws leave the specifics to local government. The City of Berkeley website also suggests a TNR approach but also has a section called, “Do Feral Cats Lead Short, Miserable Lives?” and advice for keeping the cats out of your garden (ultrasonic cat repellents and motion activated sprinklers). Poor kitties.