There is a silent but deadly war occurring in my garden. Provisions have been procured, barricades have been built and blockades are at the ready. What is this new global terror I hear you ask? What is the unending conflict?
I am at war with the neighbourhood cats.
I should point out here that I am a cat lover, having had several live with me in the past. I am not averse to the soft purring of a small bundle of fur curled up my feet, though the dribbling is a step too far for me. So, I want it to be clear that I didn’t start this war, nor have I sought out these unwarranted attacks.
The cats started it all.
It began not long after the death of my sweet and gentle Welsh collie, Annie. To say that she was sweet, and gentle is not to tell the whole truth – sweet and gentle to me, but a fierce enemy of the cats. They played out the eternal conflict of dogs chasing cats and cats outsmarting dogs but on the whole, Annie won, and the cats stayed out of our yard.
But nature hates a vacuum and once they were secure that she was not coming back, the cats moved in.
Now, if they were coming to chill, lay around in the sun, play amongst the daisies then all would have been well in our little corner of Eden, but no.
The cats came here to shit.
They shit everywhere. In the roses, on the grass, in the salad boxes, in the raised beds, in the gravel, on the patio and in one particularly audacious move, on the front doormat. In the summer the stench of cat piss spills through the windows, the smell of shit wafting on the breeze.
The cats are doing just what cats do, I understand that. I just wish they would do it somewhere else.
We have tried everything.
The vegetable beds are full of cutlery – knives and forks stood up on end like some strange crop. I have tried, garlic granules, special sprays. A green gel that smelt of citronella. Holly leaves and other spikes litter the raised beds. I even tried ground eggshells – though I think I might have been confusing cats with slugs over that one.
My neighbour, whose cats they are, is mortified. She is lovely and kind even if her cats are evil spawn. In good neighbourly fashion, she gave me a cat scarer, the type that flashes with a motion detector and lets out a high-pitched squeak.
I am, it seems, too old to hear the sounds it makes, though my daughter complained incessantly about the noise until I remembered what it was and moved it from beneath her bedroom window.
It has been a great success in getting the local drug dealers to move from selling their wares in the ally behind my back garden – that high pitched noise I suspect.
It has done nothing to deter the cats.
We’ve had Luna, our current dog for nearly 18 months now, a fierce and savage beast. She loves the cats.
‘Come into our garden,’ she yaps. – I speak dog, I know! ‘Come in,’ she says. ‘Make yourself at home, crap anywhere you like. I will just sit here and watch you. Here, piss on the parsley. Hey, don’t forget to shit on the peas.’
I’m not sure she has fully understood her role. We are watching Tom and Jerry cartoons to educate her but so far all she’s done is whine for cheese.
Everything is escalating. One cat pee-ed up the cat scarer this week. They are clearly taking the piss.
I don’t want to hurt the cats and I didn’t start this war.
I just need them to stop.
Suggestions on the back of a postcard for what to do next.