I have neighbors and they have cats.
My history with cats is what some might call checkered. I has them growing up but as a kid you only play with animals, you don’t take care of them. When Andrew and I were married for about 6 months, we adopted this little guy:
Pippin was his name and evil torture was his game. He would wake me up in the middle of the night by clawing and chewing my arm. He would never use his litter box (slight exaggeration). And, he liked Andrew more. I know I shouldn’t hold it against the cat, but I did. I picked him out – I rescued him from SPCA doom – I deserved the love.
After more than a year of this little terror, we put him back up for adoption. It only takes one cat urine soaked blazer worn at work to finalize the choice.
So now that there are cats in my life once again, I was unsurprised that they too have a power over me. Living on the ground floor, we have a little patch of dirt (9′ x 3′) all long our patio. What do cats see when they see a patch of dirt? They see a nice litter box.
I first noticed this by the smell when unlocking our front door. I investigated and sure enough – feces!
I debated long and hard about what to do. Technically, my neighbors should have to clean up the mess – I mean, if people have to clean up after their dogs, they should clean up after their cats. But I’ve had disputes with apartment neighbors before and it’s always ugly.
I couldn’t use chemical sprays to deter the cats because it’s right next to my herb garden that I use in cooking.
And, I couldn’t do what countless people have suggested and take the cats in a burlap sack and toss it in to the nearby Lake Austin. Face it people, they’re cats, it’s not their fault.
Finally I decided that the best thing to do would be to eliminate the temptation and trick the cats to go somewhere else. First step: Gardening.
This garden took me about…. all day to do. I didn’t have shovel so I used a 6 inch plastic spade and a dustpan to haul away the 9′x3′x6′ litter box.
Second step: fox urine. I got this brilliant idea from my dad. At any sporting goods store that has a hunting section they’ll have a “scents” isle. There’s where I picked up the $5 bottle of fox pee. Spray a shield around the area you want to protect from cats and bada-bing-bada-boom, they scamper away. (Only slight problem with that – the fox odor attracts dogs. Their masters are very leash happy around our place.) Reapply as needed.
Final step: distraction. (Also a dad idea.) I got a bag of cat nip and lined a trail of it from my neighbors door (where they let them out) to a safer place for the kitties to do their business.
I’ve only found them lurking out by the garden twice. They don’t linger.
We’ll see how long this can go on. I’m sure the cats will come up with some counter attack: maybe a flaming bag of their own poo on my door step. Hey, cats are up to it.