Thursday, January 10, 2013

No Man’s Land

When we first bought out kittens (now young cats) Karen and I were smug. We were smug and self-congratulatory.

Because, you see, they came pre-litter-tray-trained. They knew how and where to do their biz. No having to squish our way through warm wet carpet patches (or worse: cold wet carpet patches). No having to play Hunt For Brown October by smell alone.

We figured that we were set up for life. When the move came to allow them out into the big outdoors we had this plan whereby the litter tray would move out with them, placed under a secluded tree for a day or two to spell out to them that here – here in this shady, balmy spot – they could continue to carry out their motions al fresco without compromising the kid-safe, disease-free element of our back garden.

And then, due to inclement weather, the change of season, too much going on elsewhere to maintain a watchful eye on the garden we forgot about them. We left them to it. The cats came and went as they pleased. They looked neither constipated nor pathologically obsessed with their toilet activities. Apart from the odd fur-ball or grainy brown pool of cat sick (catnip OD) the house was clear of feline anal produce. 

They were happy. We were happy. We all enjoyed the cleaner indoor air and life continued.

They’ve got it, Karen and I thought. They’re digging holes and disposing of their own soil either in our garden or (more likely) in someone else’s garden. Fantastic.

And then I had occasion to venture out into the garden during daylight hours over Christmas.

26.

26 cat poos were dotted around one side of our lawn. Oddly the other side was perfectly cat poo clear. Not sure why this is. Maybe some odd natural occurrence along the lines of moss only growing on one side of a tree thus enabling you to work out magnetic North... maybe cats only poo on the south-west portion of any given lawn? Hey – I may have just discovered the manner in which pigeons navigate their way around the globe: cat-nav.

Anyway, the worst of it was (a) they weren’t even buried but lay there glistening on the surface in the early morning dew like freshly fried sausages and (b) I knew they were from out cats because I swear to God, after months of cleaning out the litter tray, I recognized them.

So. We were hit with the horrible truth at last.

All that training had fallen at the final hurdle. All that conditioning had unravelled at their first taste of freedom.

Once out in the field they’d gone feral. They’d cut off ties with HQ and gone completely rogue.

And now my garden is not my own anymore and I’m at a loss as to how to claim it back...

...other than to follow their example and mark out my own territory in the language that they best understand.

The trouble is the little buggers have nabbed all the best spots...

16 comments:

libby said...

No!...I was wondering if maybe they were poohing next door and then the neighbour was throwing them over? but if you do 'recognise' them you are going to have to restrict their 'movements'.....

Steve said...

Libby: good point - I hadn't stopped to consider the possible intervention of malicious frisbee throwers from next door...

John Gray said...

Oh I love it...... I knew if I waited long enough I would find a cat poo blog entry
"glistening on the surface"
Loved it

Gorilla Bananas said...

They wouldn't be doing their business on the lawn without good cause. You must have spooked them in some way, so they're too nervous to dig and bury. Maybe if you cover your lawn with plastic turds they'll shit in your neighbour's garden.

Steve said...

John: I can provide photos if you ask nicely.

Gorilla Bananas: facetious wit aside that's not a bad idea.

English Rider said...

They're not digging because they don't like the wet ground. If you tip a bucket of sand off in a discreet spot, they'll use that area. They think children's sand boxes are for them anyway.

Steve said...

English Rider: practical advice - hallelujah! Thank you!

the fly in the web said...

Bit chilly for you to be baring all...but it might stop the neighbours throwing cat turds for fear of retaliation...

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

You recognise your cats' turds? Really, Steve you need to get out more. ;-)

London City (Mum) said...

And therein a very good reason why I have never owned a cat.
At least with dogs you take them for a walk, they do their business, you 'doggy sack' (unless in the depths of a forest and the deposit cannot be seen and/or located) and dispose of it in appropriate containers.

I occasionally look after our neighbours' two cats and the litter tray makes me gag. Plus they are nasty little f*ckers and out of spite will occasionally poo in the hallway right by the entrance.

LCM x

Trish Burgess said...

I'll get some advice from my neighbours: their cats continually shit in my garden so they must be doing something right.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: I might buy me a trebuchet just in case.

Very Bored in Catalunya: or stop going out completely.

LCM: doggy sack? Isn't that some weird slang that liberated couples get up to in car parks at night?

Trish: maybe we should become neighbours?

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

When it rains here my moggies retreat under the house, which stands on piles. Lots of lovely dry soil. I catch the waft inside as they do their business (and hope that when I am crawling about after burst plumbing, I'm not crawling in 'it')

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: hate to tell you but while cat shit might not have the half-life of uranium it does tend to hang about for a long time...

Hannah Denski said...

I see now that it is me who's been absent for a long time, not you :)... x

Steve said...

Hannah: I thought you'd left me for good... *sniff* So glad you're back! ;-)