Or more precisely put…I’ve found a “tonic” or solution for keeping stray male cats at bay. I hesitate to post this, lest I should jinx the fix, but I’ve given it a two-week trial and I think we’ve got a winner.
Some of you may have read about our sweet boy Toby’s demise on St. Patrick’s Day. A stray, male cat had been visiting our patio doors on a nightly basis, leaving a smelly deposit of urine behind each time. It became part of my morning routine to clean the window, screen, and tracks of the door every day before I’d even had my first cup of coffee.
Toby, and my daughter’s male cat, who were both neutered at appropriate ages, had sniffed around the door before, but I’d always been able to neutralize the odour before it became troublesome. But one evening after dark, Toby (a sweet but easily-spooked cat to begin with) spied the stray tom while he was spraying the door and he completely freaked. Even a night to himself in a quiet room didn’t settle him and he suffered a complete nervous collapse. He became so aggressive that we finally had to make the painful decision to have him put to sleep.
The stray cat looked too well fed and in too good a condition to truly be a “stray”. We believe he belongs to someone who lives close to our apartment building as we’ve seen him sauntering through parking lots, other people’s lawns, the pasture across the street, etc. To be fair to the cat, he was just doing what male cats do…marking out what he believed was his territory.
In my opinion, if you can’t arrange to have your cat altered due to cost or whatever, then you shouldn’t have it. Period. It is extremely irresponsible for any cat owner to allow their pet — male or female — to wander free. It isn’t fair to the cat, and it certainly isn’t acceptable to those who have to put up with them roaming and spraying their property. There are no by-laws dealing with cats in our town, but there should be. I’m a cat lover since childhood, but I’ll be the first one to admit that they can be just as destructive and just as much of a nuisance as a dog, perhaps more so in the garden.
After poor Toby had left us, the cat continued to pay a nightly visit, almost as if it were mocking us. At least that’s what it felt like at the time. I got suggestions from friends and did some research online. We purchased a bottle of deterrent such as you see at pet stores — it had no effect whatsoever. I tried cayenne pepper, black pepper, citrus oil, moth balls, etc. Nothing had the slightest effect.
There are mats that will give off a slight, static shock and motion sensitive contraptions that spray water, but they were all over $100 and we didn’t feel like spending that much money keeping *someone else’s cat* off our deck. If I were willing to spend that sort of money on it, I’d have taken it to have it neutered or euthanized. I even toyed with the idea of caging it and driving it miles away to a big farm or something, but I didn’t have the heart for any of those solutions. I nearly came to accept the idea that window cleaning was going to be part of my morning routine for the life of the stupid cat.
By chance, I read on some site that tin foil can be used to discourage a cat from spraying or scratching *inside* the house. Hmm…might it work outside as well? With nothing to lose, I joined two pieces of tin foil together to make a wide “mat” and slightly crinkled it to reflect more light (a photography trick!) and set it out on the deck in front of the door where he always sprayed. I weighted it down with whatever was at my disposal at the time. And……..we haven’t seen the cat since! Apparently, they don’t like to walk on it, don’t like the reflections, and don’t like the noise it makes when a breeze makes it crinkle. It’s been two weeks now, and I haven’t had to deal with cat pee once since I put it down. If it works for me, and you have encountered a similar problem, it may work for you, too.
Most of all, be a responsible cat owner — have your kitties spayed or neutered!