Dear Urban Diplomat: Our neighbour’s cat is terrorizing us

Dear Urban Diplomat: Our neighbour’s cat is terrorizing us

He fights with our dog, claws at our patio furniture, sneaks into our house and pees where he pleases. How can we make it stop?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
Our neighbour’s outdoor cat, Bowie, is a major nuisance. He terrorizes our dog, claws at our patio furniture and sneaks in the front door when we bring in groceries. The last time he intruded, he peed on our $1,200 rug, and other neighbours are having the same sorts of problems with him. When I texted the owners to complain, they asked if we were sure it was Bowie (we are) and then ghosted us. What now?
—Herding Cats, Humewood

Bowie is marking his territory, but he should absolutely not be invading your property. Consider investing in home-security cameras, as video evidence may convince his owners of his crimes. You could also collaborate with your other neighbours. But, if multiple overtures fail, you’ll need to break out the cat repellent. Scents like citrus and lavender are kitty ­kryptonite. Try mixing essential oils in water and spraying around the peri­meter of your property. For a slightly pricier deterrent, a motion-activated sprinkler will send Bowie packing in a flash.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I just bought a small semi in Greektown. While I was thrilled, my older sister was not. She’s always been the one to take grown-up steps first: she’s married, has a stable career and is investment savvy. Until I met my husband, last year, I was the single, aimless, artsy one. Now, I own a home in my sister’s favourite neighbourhood while she remains a renter. I think she’s jealous, and ever since I moved in, she’s bailed on all invitations to come over, including for my birthday. How can I end this beef?
—Twisted Sister, The Danforth

What your sister needs is space, not confrontation. Over the next few weeks, try texting her and casually mentioning how your interest rates and mortgage are keeping you up at night. Such an expression of vulnerability, however inflated or artificial, may restore her sense of superiority and lead to reconciliation. If all goes well, by your next birthday, you could both be sipping ouzo on your back deck.

More Urban Diplomat

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’ve been promoted to a role that puts me in charge of a close friend who used to be my office equal. The situation created a challenging power dynamic, which I expected, but lately she’s been downright disrespectful and border­line insubordinate in meetings. It’s both personally and professionally problematic. Can I salvage this relationship?
—Office Anguish, Brimley

You both need to talk ASAP. Remind her that your friendship was built on mutual respect and that respect has not disappeared. Ask her what’s bothering her to try to get at the root of the problem, and be genuinely open to feedback. But, for the sake of team harmony and your nerves, you have to treat her like everyone else—which is to say, like any fair boss would. Ultimately, your job is to manage, so manage. If she refuses to lose the attitude, you’ll have no choice but to escalate the issue to HR.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I bought a used Peloton on Kijiji recently. Before I did, I asked the seller how much use the bike had. He said, “Barely any” and told me that, despite the fact that he’d owned the thing for years, it was “essentially new.” It did look to be in decent shape, so I handed over $1,300 and brought it home. Later, when I looked up the seller’s username, I discovered that the guy had logged more than 700 rides. Sure enough, once I hopped on, the bearings began to grind. I feel duped. Any advice?
—Vicious Cycle, Eatonville

Due diligence only goes so far, especially when the information you’re getting comes from a stranger. With Peloton, you’re even more out of luck: warranties don’t extend past the first owner. But don’t stew over it. Instead, consider posting about your experience in the user reviews. You won’t get your money back, but there’s satisfaction (and nobility) in saving a future buyer from making the same mistake.

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