Dirty Tricks & Booby Traps

Question:
Is there anything we can put around our trees to keep the neighborhood cats from using them as their personal cat box?

Dr. Nichol:
What? You don’t want your landscaping festooned with cat poop? Worried about getting parasites from gardening in your own yard? Are your indoor cats using your carpet as their bathroom because those local ruffians are taunting them with the feline equivalent of graffiti? Here are tips courtesy of the Cat Diva plus a pearl from the annals of operant conditioning.

Cats like a soft, dry bathroom, so keep the soil moist, use plenty of mulch, and spread out a layer of rose bush trimmings (sort of like a college prank in the dorm restroom). Moth balls also work. Wrap them in panty hose to prevent other creatures from carrying them off and eating them. Chicken wire nailed down with garden staples and then concealed with mulch is another dirty trick.

Be sure you’re not advertising for deposits. The scent of urine is like a neon sign to local feline punks looking for territory to claim. Hose down the area after cleaning up the stools. If you insist on leaving out cat food, put it in a neighbor’s yard. Pick someone with political signs you really hate. Hey, this is democracy in action. At least you’ll be no worse than our presidential contenders and their Super PACs.

Veterinary behavior specialists like to see results as much as anybody. A favorite summertime booby trap is the Scare Crow. Mounted on your fence and motion activated, this gizmo could provide hours of feline entrapment entertainment. Any creature with intent to trespass will be thoroughly and summarily hosed. Small breed dogs, in particular, think this is a laugh riot. You’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.