Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cat Wars: It's On

"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." -- Garrison Keillor
Cats.  Let me preface this post by making one thing clear.  I don't hate cats.  Much.  No, no, I really don't hate cats, but sometimes I strongly dislike them.  The ones I dislike are the feral cats that populate my neighborhood.  

K.C. taken through my office window
We live in an older neighborhood where a number of the houses are rentals.  It's not that the neighborhood has recently fallen on hard times, it has been this way for more than 100 years.  We live near a university, and some of the homes in our neighborhood were built as student boarding houses or supper clubs.  Then others have been converted from single family to apartments over the years.  It's a higgledy-piggledy neighborhood where homeowners, students, renters, professional people, hippies, professors, and sometimes borderline crazy people all live cheek to jowl on tree-lined streets.

And maybe it's not the renters/students who are to blame, but we have a population of feral cats.  These are not strays.  They are wild, and will not let anyone get within five feet of them (and that's for the tamer ones).  One of the neighbors feeds them I believe.  I know they used to feed them and were trying in vain to tame some of them.  Some of the cats have lived here for years, and we know them well by sight.  There is one fluffy gray and white cat that we first saw as a kitten under my husband's car.  He tried to entice it out with food and milk, but no doing.  Still, we have a fondness for that cat and it seems to tolerate us as well.

I'm not wild about the cat poop in my lawn and flower beds, but there's something much worse than that.  Murder.  The cats that really get me are the killer cats.  I know it's a cat's nature to hunt, but there is one Killer Cat (K.C.) who sits under my office window and periodically leaps up and tries to snatch birds right off the feeder.  He has succeeded, too. It's horrible to be sitting at my desk and hear a sudden squawk and look out to see a bird being torn to shreds.  I seem to have solved that problem by laying rose canes and other thorny branches under the feeder.  The birds and squirrels don't mind them, but K.C. stays back a bit.

But now K.C. is stalking a bunny rabbit.  A sweet little bunny rabbit! We haven't had rabbits in our neighborhood for quite a few years.  (Gosh, I wonder why?)  But just this summer a little bunny has ventured back.  I've seen it twice. Yesterday evening I also saw it being stalked by K.C.  I ran outside and chased the cat away but, of course, he came right back.  So I looked online for ways to deter cats, and a beautiful solution appeared.

I dug one of the kids' old Super Soakers out of the garage and filled it up.  The next time I saw the cat, I grabbed my water gun and headed out, shooting streams of water at the fleeing feline.  Then I circled the house to see if there were other cats lurking in the bushes.  I felt like John Wayne in some war movie.  This morning K.C. was back, sitting near the feeder in what used to be a fern bed (until the drought).  I crept out and got within eight to ten feet and let fly a stream of water.  K.C. fled across the street to the safety of the neighbor's yard.

K.C. in the neighbor's yard taken with extreme magnification.  Look at him, trying to look so innocent.

I have no idea if this will really keep the cat out of our yard, but it's worth a try.  Doesn't hurt the cat and makes me feel a little like Rambo.  (If Rambo carried a yellow and green plastic water gun.)


  1. Well, one strategy for disciplining your pet cat is to use a water spray bottle on them, so this makes perfect sense to me. Good luck!

  2. It is unfortunate that people abandon cats and feral populations grow up. We have a group of feral cats that were rapidly reproducing. We captured many of the babies and found them homes, then captured the adults and had them all spayed and neutered. We also feed the three remaining cats. This has stopped them going after the birds and bunnies and they have turned from fearful aggressive cats (one gave my sister a very nasty bite)to friendly outdoor animals. I am not a huge lover of cats as I am allergic, but this has proved to be successful in our townhouse community.


  3. I love cats but when they aren't yours they can be very annoying. We have a couple that come round on a regular basis, one which our cat tolerates the other not so and the fur flies!! The water gun is a good solution

  4. Water guns should do the trick. Good luck. Just wanted to stop by and thank you for leaving me a comment about the vinegar solution for cloudy glasses. I hope it will work for you. I am your newest follower and would love for you to visit again and maybe even click on the "follow me" button to add Posed Perfection to your GFC. Have a great week!
    Blessings, Nici

  5. My mom has cat problems too! Her two neighbors cats just keep reproducing off one another and none of them have vet care and are wild crazy cats. They have done a lot of damage to her home and outbuildings but she won't say a word to the neighbors she just chases the cats off but they soon come right is terrible but she lives on a very busy main road and when I drive by and see a dead cat in the road I am like YES ( i know i am awful)! another one bites the dust! Don't get me wrong I love cats and know it isn't necessarily their fault that they are wild....but still. So I say spray away and thanks for the chuckle on the visual of you chasing the cat with the water gun!

  6. Oh my gosh - I laughed out loud and shared your story with my husband. We have a lot of random cats in our neighborhood too, and I'm also really bothered by cat murderers. The brambles underneath the feeder is really clever!

    We have a really high fence, and so far we've only seen one cat in our back yard. He comes sort of consistently, but he's clearly somebody's cat (he gets haircuts). I've never seen him stalk anything, but last spring we found a little bitty dead owl in our yard, and I can't help but think he had something to do with it. My own adopted kitty was de-clawed in her prior life, which is good for both the outdoor animals and my dog's nose. I am afraid to let her roam because of all of the much-savvier neighbor cats, but since the whole idea of being outside was foreign to her, she doesn't seem to mind coming in and out when I do.

  7. Cracking up at your Rambo should have someone take a video and post it on Youtube. It would go viral in a minute. :o) We have a few feral cats in our neighborhood too. My dog goes nuts when they are on the other side of our fence. They don't come in my yard though probably because of the dog. I must admit I don't really like all. They sort of give me the creeps!

  8. I have to say, I'm much more of a dog lover than a cat lover especially as I'm allergic to cats. They make me itch xx

  9. hahhhaaa...I can just see you, sneaking around, a bandana tied around your head, Rambo style, your gun full of water...and the cat running for dear life.
    You are waaay too cute. :))

  10. I haven't even heard of this population of cats before. Here it's the stray dogs that are of concern, which is why you see me exercising in the cemetery instead of in my neighborhood. Good luck with the cat problem. Yikes!


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