But when your moggy uses the next-door garden as a personal litter tray, your argument that it was purely down to chance may no longer hold water.
Researchers have discovered that cats foul neighbouring gardens intentionally to mark the edge of what they consider to be their territory – typically less than 300 yards from home.
Animal behaviorist Roger Tabor, who led the study, said ‘territorial marking’ could be a serious source of dispute between neighbours.
‘If you are not careful it can lead to falling out and even people moving,’ he added. ‘If you have a tiny garden and if you don’t want to fall out with your neighbours, it’s important to leave an area of loose soil at the end of the garden which you can clean when needed.’
The study also suggests town cats are more stressed than their rural cousins because their territory is smaller and they have to spend much of their time protecting it against numerous rivals.