Outdoor cat not allowed in garden

by Claire
(The Hague)

Hi there!
I adopted a sweet abandoned cat last year (Panda) who had come to me through my garden, and had no owners or chip. she's a very relaxed lovely cat, loves the outdoors (hunting mice etc) and loved spending long days in my walled garden (I live in Holland).
Unfortunately I had to move house, and I've moved to a new city and am on the first floor. She adjusted well (kept her inside for 2 weeks) and is enjoying the outdoor (safe) balcony.
However I can see she is itching to jump down into the garden on the floor below :) I'm in a small block of apartments (only 2 floors high, spanning about 8 houses in length). The entire ground floor (and gardens) are owned by the local council, they run parenting advice clinics there and the gardens don't seem to be used much, and are walled and away from the road. I know that it's advisable to keep your cat indoors or in a safe catio or balcony, so ideally we will stay indoors. But if she keeps mewing to get down after a month or two, I'd like to get her a cat ladder that she can use into the garden (it is a bit too high to jump).
However I just asked at the parenting centre downstairs and they said they don't want any cats roaming as they have children at the centre and it's a health concern. I've been here a few weeks and haven't seen any children in the gardens and the locals here think it's an extreme stance (generally in Holland, cats roam quite freely when there is access to a safe walled garden area).
Anyway my question is whether you think it's reasonable of the centre downstairs? I know some cats carry health risks, but she has her vaccinations etc. I keep her indoor / balcony life as enriched as possible, and she walks fine on the leash so maybe I'll take her for evening walks. She may well settle as it's early days, but so far she is mewing a lot from the balcony and I can see she really wants to jump down! Maybe she'll stop doing this if I keep her busy and she adjusts in the next few months.


RESPONSE:

Since it sounds like the garden area you are speaking about is used very little, I agree that it is unreasonable for the council to deny your cat access. However, it is their turf.

The idea to take your cat on walks sounds like a good idea and may lessen Panda's stress over a more restricted outdoor area. You might also try to create a mini-garden on your balcony to supplement the walking activity.

For such a major lifestyle change, I think Panda is adjusting very well in a short period of time. I'm hoping over time that the council will reconsider the decision to deny access to Panda.

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