Our neighborhood has a cat problem, a bad feral cat problem for the past year. My neighbor feeds the feral cats, there are about 12 that hang out or live there. I believe three are pregnant now. A couple of years ago when it got bad, we were able to convince them to let us trap, get the cats fixed and shots. They said fine, it was good for about two years, then new cats started showing up. New cats started having babies and now we are back to where we were two years ago. I don’t mind cats, I like cats, this is the first time in my life I do not own a cat. However, these cats are crazy destructive. Last year they ate all my marigolds, my hydrangeas, completely destroyed the container garden I had and dug up most of my seeds I planted last year.
It bothers me that I can’t have a nice garden because of these cats. The side of my house smells of cat pee so bad. All of my flower beds have been used as a litter box, over and over again. Not to mention how they set the dogs off. They yowl, they fight, they knock plants over (they broke three of my pots), they broke a table, the bowl of my bird bath, they are extremely destructive. I can’t have a bird feeder in my front yard because the cats think it is lunch time (I have found more than one dead bird in my front yard). I personally wish my neighbors would take responsibility for them. I mean if Lucky (my childhood cat) destroy my neighbors’s garden, my parents would have kept her inside, apologized and taken responsibility for her actions. I think that is why I am so mad, because my neighbors only feed the cats, they don’t take care of them. However, our county ordinance states if you feed a feral animal for more than three days, the responsibility it transferred to you.
I don’t want to hurt the cats, I want them to stay out of my garden and flower beds. I have been doing research on what I can use that won’t hurt them and protect my plants. The normal things, marigolds, citronella (both were eaten by the cats last year). Planting catnip in another spot of the yard (last year I planted eight, they were torn up and the roots eaten). Citrus, I have tried this and they move the citrus out of the way. The only thing left on the list was moth balls and cayenne pepper. Moth balls are dangerous and toxic so I really don’t want to do that, especially since I am trying to plant bee and butterfly friendly gardens. So that leaves cayenne pepper, I figured I would give it a shot.
Tuesday, I had the day off and it was beautiful outside so I spent the day outside doing yard work. I ran to Walmart early to pick up lawn bags, seeds, found some irises. Of course Walmart didn’t lawn bags so I had to go to ACE. I asked at ACE what todo about cats, they showed me a product (a tad pricey) then one of the employees said I use moth balls, my neighbor uses cayenne they seem to have good luck too. I bought my new Gerber Daisy plant, lawn bags, some citrus mint and went home.
I got to work cleaning, there was a lot of cat poop in my beds, I felt like I just cleaned eight litter boxes. I was also being watched the whole time by the cats. I planted my irises, turned my back and one of the cats was already trying to dig them up. I went inside and grabbed the cayenne pepper and just started dumping it in the flower beds. I was so mad, I can’t have a bird bath (because they broke it), I can’t have a bird feeder because they kill the birds, I can’t have flowers because they dig them up. It is extremely frustrating not being able to have a vegetable garden or a flower garden because the cats destroy everything.
They stared at me fo over an hour, they sat and watched so much so they were really starting to creep me out.
After a little while, I was making grand progress and needed to get water. I went inside and filled my water bottle, I came back outside to the lawn bag knocked over.
By this point I am completely sympathize it with Bill Murray’s character in Caddy Shack. I am beyond angry at these cats, so I take the cayenne pepper and dump it everywhere. Every flower bed I have has a fine dusting of cayenne pepper. Booga saw one of the cats sniff the irises and run away. This made me very happy and gave me hope for my new plants.
Wednesday, I added some citrus peels to the flowers beds, I also broke up sticks and put them in there along with rosemary sprigs. I have notice paw prints, but no digging, a success in my book. However this evening, I came home and there was a very clear message left for me.
I admit I am a tad concerned, knowing every cat in the neighborhood is plotting my demise. I read garden gnomes will help and keep animals out of the garden. I am seriously considering getting an army of them and gnomes scare the hell out of me. All I want is to be able to have a nice flower garden and not have the garden torn up by cats I don’t own. I mean if the cats were cool and just stayed out of my flower beds I wouldn’t have any problems. The cats are destructive and right now I need gardening to blow off stress. I haven’t garden this much since my Mulberry days because it is a great stress reliever. Painting helps me from becoming depressed, gardening prevents me from blowing my top because people are stupid. These cats have been ruining my yard far too long, I am going to try to keep them out of my flower beds as much as possible.