Don’t get me wrong I like cats. I prefer dogs but I like cats. We had one all through my early childhood (a half feral moggy called Smokey) and another one through my teens (a fat black and white strop of a cat called Felix). I loved them to bits. Even when they clawed me.
(Which reminds me of that famous book: The Cat’s Revenge by Claude Balls.)
But I cannot abide the neighbourhood cats where I now live.
Not because they stalk the bird feeders that the wife and I keep constantly replenished at great cost to the weekly budget. Not because their territorial wars often wake me at night with the resultant caterwauling.
But because they shit on my lawn.
Actually on the lawn.
For some reason this strikes me as odd. Even a little bizarre. Because in my experience of cats – owning 2, cat-sitting for other people on occasion, etc – is that when they need the bathroom for a number 2 they tend to dig a hole and bury it. Nice clean animals, cats. They hide it all away. This is the belief system I have carried around with me since childhood.
Even my sister’s cats – both housebound because of living on an upper story – used to dig little holes in the cat litter tray. It is natural and instinctive behaviour for a cat. When they start pulling up the gravel with a forepaw you just know a cat turd is on its way.
So why are the neighbourhood cats spurning this evolutionary imperative and dropping their revolting little logs all over my lawn?
It’s not just an aesthetic problem, you see. My little boy loves playing out in the garden. As soon as the door is open he’s off, dressed or not, more often than not barefoot, trotting his merry way all over the lawn.
Barefoot. As is his right in his own back garden. Barefoot with little pellets of evil lying in wait in the grass.
Animal poo and little kiddies do not mix. There’s a story in the paper today of a little girl who may be blinded because she fell into some dog poo in a child’s play area. It’s heartbreaking.
It also makes me angry.
Now I know it’s a slightly different scenario – dogs have to cleaned up after by their owners and the same rule does not and cannot be applied to felines. The owner of the dog is responsible for the girl’s injury but the owner’s of the various cats in my street can’t really be held responsible for their cats pooing on my grass. Even though I’d quite happily kneecap the lot of them in a kangaroo court.
The question is: what can I do about it?
Some have suggested a sprinkling of curry powder or pepper spray onto the areas that the cats frequent. Fine but I don’t want a half naked little boy – or even a fully clothed one – rolling about in it either. So that’s no go.
The only other solution I can think of involves a cork, a shotgun and me pulling the trigger to fill Macavity’s muck cavity...
But is that, strictly speaking, legal?