Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

PLEASE Keep Your Cat Indoors!

Maine_Coon_cat_by_TomitheosWhy do people insist on letting their cats roam loose?

Okay, I know the answer, which I’ll tell you in a minute.

But first let me inveigh against this habit. Obviously, if you let your cat roam around the neighborhood, you don’t care about wildlife and you don’t care about your neighbors. But presumably you like your cat.

Letting your pet out to roam as an “outside cat” is a form of animal abuse. It puts the cat at risk of injury, disease, and violent, painful death. In short, it’s criminal.

Outdoor cats run a good chance of being run over by cars, attacked and killed by dogs and coyotes, infected with feline leukemia and a variety of unpleasant parasites, infected with rabies (cats are now the main carriers of rabies to humans in this country), attacked and injured by other cats, carried off by hawks or barn owls, bitten by raccoons, accidentally poisoned by lapping up leaked antifreeze or rat poison, and deliberately poisoned, trapped, or shot by angry neighbors.

If you loved your cat, why would you put it at that kind of risk?

The answer, of course, is that you would not. Therefore, it’s only reasonable to assume you hate your cat (and your neighbors, and the wildlife for a mile in all directions), and you are deliberately abusing the cat.

Oh, no, you protest. You love your cat! It just won’t stay inside! It rips out the window screens and claws the paint off the doors trying to escape. To that, say I, bullshit. Who’s the human here?

Let me tell you the real reason cat owners let their cats roam around outdoors: They don’t want to clean up after the beloved kitty any more than you or I want to clean up after it. They let their cats outside so that the animals will deposit their urine and feces somewhere else. Admit it: if you do this, it’s because you get about half as much mess to have to clean out of the cat box (and your carpets, and the comforter on your bed, and the cushions on your sofa) as you do when you keep the animal indoors.

Before you fly into a Cat Lover Frenzy, hear me out. I have had a lot of cats in my life, beginning in infancy. Where we lived in Arabia, no dogs were allowed. Dogs would get into it with the jackals that routinely came into camp at night, and the jackals carried rabies. At that time, rabies vaccination for dogs was uncommon; in Arabia it was unavailable. So dogs were banned in camp.

But cats were not. Everyone had cats. At one point, a couple picked up a breeding pair of Siamese cats while they were on short leave in Paris. Before long, the place was overrun with Siamese cats.

Let me think…we had Buttons (an unneutered male that whose chronic war wounds were always in one of three states: open and raw, scabbed, or scarred); Whitey, a (surprise!) white female cat, which had kittens; her funny little white kitten that had a gray spot on its head, right between his ears, exactly in the shape of a pair of horns; Sheba, a seal-point Siamese; a gorgeous long-haired blue-point Siamese; one of his offpsring, a mentally retarded Siamese cat that we named Caslan,  said to be the Arabic word for “stupid.” In San Francisco, another Siamese cat (and its fleas). In Arizona, my mother’s Siamese cat. Then after I married, I ended up with my mother’s Burmese cat and its six kittens, whose chronic diarrhea was more than she could deal with. Then a lilac-point Siamese and a chocolate-point Siamese and two of the lilac-point’s kittens, all four at once. Then the famous Boozer and not long afterward two of her kittens. That would be…what? Yes.

Twenty-two cats, not counting the ones my mother had when I was too little to remember them.

The cats we had in Arabia were allowed to roam the camp. In the 1950s, that was just what people did. There was little traffic, and it was thought that cats would run from jackals, jumping up on cars or climbing trees to get out of reach. But when we came back to the states and bootlegged a cat into our apartment, my mother grasped the idea that cats are better off kept indoors.

And so for years, she and I both had indoor cats.

The last Siamese Tribe of Four, however, gave the lie to the idea that cats will always use a cat box.

Not necessarily so.

And when a cat learns that it can go outside the box, it will go outside the box. Nothing you can do will change the animal’s mind. And no, these cats did not have urinary tract infections and they did not have bladder stones and yes I did keep their damn cat boxes meticulously clean.

They peed and shat all over the house. Their favorite shithouse was the dining-room. They ruined about 2500 square feet of incredibly expensive, ultra-luxurious carpet, the like of which I had never seen before and have never seen since.

The people who sold us the house had fixed it up, planning to live in it permanently, just before the neighborhood’s property values exploded in a frenzy of gentrification. We got the house because its value had shot up so high they simply could not resist collecting. But because they’d figured to be there for a long time, they had installed top-of-the-line everything, including those amazing carpets.

The cats destroyed them.

Before my son was born, I found a new home for all four cats (believe it or not, a doting human took them all in, the poor wretch), had all the stinky carpeting torn out, and replaced it with outrageously expensive wool Karastan that couldn’t even hold a candle to the magnificent carpet the cats had ruined.

Soooo…..

The next cats were outside cats. That would be Boozer and her two kittens.

Why? Because I never wanted to clean up a mess like that again!

For that matter, I hoped never to have to clean and disinfect another cat box again. Although I did. Two of them. About every other day.

Boozer and Blue, her gorgeous male kitten, lived to a ripe old age. But Kit-Tan was poisoned by antifreeze, quite possibly left out by a neighbor who expressed his dislike of these loose beasts, who used the raised garden in his front entryway as their toilet. She suffered hideously. My husband — by then my ex-husband — could not bring himself to put her down. So she suffered hideously for weeks and then for months, becoming incontinent (among other things) and destroying yet another houseful of carpeting.

So I can say from experience that turning a cat out to roam the neighborhood is an act of unadulterated selfishness. No matter how much lip service you give to the joys of the cat’s picturesquely predatory nature, the truth is you do it because you don’t want to deal with a cat’s filth.

And it’s a blatant act of cruelty.

Some people are so besotted with their cats, though, that they simply do not and probably can not register the amount of devastation the animals inflict, the filth and disease they spread, the distress they cause to neighbors, and — most amazingly — the degree of risk a roaming cat faces.

My dear neighbor, lovingly known by her father as “Other Daughter,” is something of a cat lady. She’s the reason my yard’s walls are capped with carpet tack strips — which works pretty well, BTW, to keep the cats out of the yard. She walks around the ’hood a lot, and she sees things. She was horribly distressed when she found a cat run over in the alley. She was heartbroken when she found a cat in front of her house evidently killed by a coyote — she packed it sweetly in a little box and left it out for the dead animal patrol to pick up.

And yet…and yet… It does not register with her that her cats could get run over, her cats could get eaten by a coyote, her cats are a damn nuisance to the neighbors.

The only reasonable conclusion is that she doesn’t want it to register.

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25 Comments

  1. Couple of things…..Aaaand cats live forever….We presently have three cats, come May the mother cat will be 18 and the other two are “the pick of her first litter” and will be 18 in the Fall. They are “indoor/outdoor cats” and their health is good/great….my thought being they will live forever. Friends just look at me in disbelief when I share our cats’ ages. Cats seem to pass in this neck of the woods right around 10-11 years old….Ours …”fine as a fiddle”. The point being, taking on a cat is a big responsibility and it can go for QUITE some time. And for the life of me I don’t understand why the younger female refuses to use the litter box consistently. Like you I have done it all …NO DICE. So it is a TRUE blessing when Spring comes and these characters can spend their days lounging outside.
    As for the “anti-freeze poisoning” that had to be a tough way to go. My Dear Aunt had a tenant who rented a basement apartment in her home and he evidently became depressed by stock market losses and a failed marriage. This gentleman made a cocktail of Gatorade and antifreeze, consumed it, left a rambling goodbye letter and perished. My Aunt found him a couple of days later….It cost over $2K to clean up the mess…

    • My ex-MIL had a cat that lived (hang onto your hat!) TWENTY-ONE YEARS!

      Some cats just decide to quit using a litter box. We were never able to find a way to change a cat’s habits once it discovered this trick was not really necessary.

      You might try taking her to the vet to have her checked for bladder stones, kidney problems, and a urinary tract infection. Our cats had no such problems, but it’s worth asking.

      Do keep your cats inside or at least don’t let them leave your yard. They’re hideously destructive. Cats devastate wildlife. The domestic cat is an invasive species that can clean out native species of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. If you’re getting mosquito-bit (think equine encephalitis, West Nile, and now Zika: all comin’ your way), one reason is the absence of birds and geckos that eat mosquitoes. http://blog.nwf.org/2011/03/new-studies-highlight-impact-of-outdoor-cats-on-birds-and-other-wildlife/ This isn’t a cranky neighbor talking: this is science.

      BTW, antifreeze isn’t the only way your neighbor can do in your cat. As it develops, cats are uniquely sensitive to acetaminophen. All someone has to do is wrap a Tylenol in some hamburger or butter and leave it out for your stray cat, and you won’t be seeing Kitty again.

      Keep. Your. Cats. Inside! Other folks shouldn’t have to barricade them out of their yards; you should build barriers to keep them inside your yard. They do exist. Please use them!

  2. P.S. That’s pretty awful about your aunt’s tenant! What a shame. And what a dreadful thing for her to have to get the mess cleaned up.

    For hevvinsake, if you’re going to off yourself, go out in the forest or jump off a cliff into the ocean. Stupid people.

    Seriously: don’t off yourself, but if you just can’t resist, think about the effect the act will have on other people.

    • Well Funny….Couple of things….Our cat that is giving us problems is 17 years old and we had her to the vet SEVERAL times….Do urine test …vet claims UTI….give her the meds….kitty litter pan? NO DICE….After a couple times with this at the vets he comes to the conclusion that she has “issues”…like mental issues… Ya think! I did some research and I think she has “irritable bowel” or kidney issues. So we changed her food and ordered aloe vera tablets for her. Her discomfort has improved BUT it seems she associates the kitty litter area with pain OR she just feels like making my life hell. I’m not spending money on a “cat shrink”. To be clear she couldn’t catch a bird if I gave her a net….She’s shall we say …”a full figure gal”. So Spring is welcome….
      As for the tenant he was an odd fellow. He initially had applied for one of my places and I got a “bad vibe”. After I declined him my Aunt needed a tenant like yesterday…he seemed to fit the bill. He had shared with me during the interview how wealthy he was and he just “felt like” renting….It was sad he didn’t seek help and it WAS quite the mess. It seemed this type poisoning causes the release of all the body fluids. The guy that cleaned this up did work for the State for murders after the sites were released by the cops. Over $2K and insurance would pay nothing….As for his estate….he died “less than broke”….and his estranged wife had to pay for his final expenses…How is that for crazy?

      • oooohhhhh the insurance didn’t pay for it? Holy mackerel. What a nightmare.

        The cat’s 17 years old…that must be about 104 in human years. If we were 104 years old, we’d probably be peeing at will, too.

        I believe that once a cat pees or poops outside a litterbox, it comes back to the places where the elixir was laid. It’s almost impossible to get rid of the odor, and it seems to call the cat back.

  3. Our new neighbors have “indoor/outdoor” cats that have become daily visitors to our property. They leave mounds full of feces in our pebble ground cover; I witnessed one of them grabbing a bird from my front yard and taking off with it; and now they are spraying/marking/urinating on the walls around my house and patio. We know their cats are the culprits because we have filmed them in action with game cameras. We have been speaking with our neighbors about the problems since they started, and when we told them about the more recent spraying, they had heard enough and replied that they could do nothing about keeping their cats off our property. THEIR cats are ruining our enjoyment of OUR home. We created a landscape with flowering plants and more than 30 trees to encourage birds and lizards and the such to our yard. We did this for our enjoyment, not to create a cats’ hunting ground. We spend hours outside in our beautiful AZ weather, and we don’t want to spend our time cleaning up after someone’s else’s cats. We clean up after our dog–our pet, our choice–but we do not choose to clean up after other peoples’ pets. We feel that our rights are infringed upon by the laws that allow our neighbors to allow they cats to roam freely. Thank you, Funny, for this thoughtful post and for the helpful resources. We expect we will soon seek legal assistance to help us with this problem. This is why neighbors can’t get along–because one believes his rights trumps another’s, or he just doesn’t care.

  4. I might as well throw in my most recent cat story. I adore cats, have had them most of my life. Last one passed away several years ago. Last month we finally decided to start over with a couple of litter mates from the shelter. We got two neutered cats on Saturday morning. We did everything right concerning litter boxes.

    By Saturday night we realized they were peeing everywhere BUT in the litter boxes. We couldn’t get them back to the shelter until Monday. By then they had destroyed the carpeting in every room of the house.

    We spent around $400 in cat supplies, and then on enzymes to treat all the urine, and finally on a professional carpet cleaner. Smell was better but still here. This week we spent $4000 (yes, thousand) on new carpeting for the entire house. (Small house, medium grade carpet.)

    Can still smell the cat pee in one corner of the living room. They also peed on the walls for some reason and we are trying hard to soak those with the anti-urine enzyme, but it is difficult to do. It has been an expensive nightmare, that still isn’t over.

    I told husband, we may have to burn house to the ground. I’m kidding……I think.

    Am also extremely sad that I’ll never have another cat because of this problem.

  5. If they were kittens, they might have had a urinary tract infection. Marking like that — backing up to the wall and spraying — is territorial behavior, or it sometimes can be a hormonal thing. But with a cat that young, I’d suspect a UTI or an aversion to the brand or type of litter you used. Cats will sometimes decline to use an unfamiliar brand of cat litter.

    The kittens may just have peed so exuberantly that they got some on the wall, or else it soaked into the wood or concrete (porous!) flooring beneath the carpeting — could that be what you’re smelling?

    It’s very, very hard to get the stink out. Some of the enzyme products will work after awhile. Follow the instructions to the letter.

    I’ve used vinegar, and I’ve used baking soda. Results were iffy. Here’s some advice on how to apply: http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/pet-stains/cat-urine-remover.html . Of all the DIY schemes, mixing hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and liquid detergent seems to work the best — at least, in my experience, which may not be the same as yours…

    If you think the problem is _only_ on a wall (a black light will bring out an otherwise invisible urine stain), you could probably scrub it as best as you can with one of the suggested solutions. Let it dry thoroughly and then repaint the wall. The paint may seal the stink in.

    Similarly, if the cats peed on the carpet and it soaked through to the substrate, you need to try to get as much of the stink as you can out of that. Pull up the rug and pull up the carpet pad. Sniff the pad to see if it’s soaked up stink from the floor. If so, you’ll have to cut out the affected area and piece in a replacement. Clean the flooring thoroughly and apply enzyme solution or one of the DIY solutions. Allow to dry well and either replace the wall or paint over the smelly area with oil-based Kilz sealer — bearing in mind that it can emit a strong smell, itself.

    It’s possible that two or three layers of thick, top-quality latex paint might seal in most of the stink. You can’t paint it over Thompson’s Water Sealer very well, so think this through carefully and discuss it with a professional clean-up person…like the people who had to clean up after Jestjack’s aunt’s suicidal tenant. In fact, a call to such a company might elicit some workable advice.

    Eventually the odor fades to the point where it’s unnoticeable to the human nose (but not to cats or dog). You may smell it when the weather’s humid and rainy, but most of the time, not so much.

    Good luck!

    • Afterthought: Did the guys who laid down the new carpet pull up and replace the carpet tack strips? If not, the odor may be emanating from those, not from the wall.

    • The two cats were three years old, so not kittens. The wall spray was done from standing on a sofa table, so I’m sure it was the marking of brand new territory. I didn’t observe if new tack strip was put down, but I rather think it wasn’t. I would have, of course, paid for new strips but I didn’t quite realize the stink was still there until it was all done.

      I hate the thought of pulling up any brand new carpeting. This is further complicated by the fact that we aren’t sure if the smell is coming from under the new rug and pad, or from the wall. We can only pinpoint that it is from a particular corner of the living room. At this point I think we will pour some of the enzyme destroyer on the rug in the corner and give it a few days. We have been using a black light, that’s how we know it’s all over the walls, also.

      Thanks for all the advice. Repainting the walls is also a thought.

      • Tooooo crazy-making! I’m sorry this happened to you.

        Our cats tended to pee around the base of the wall. I don’t think they were doing it much in the middle of the room. If that’s typical, you may be able to pull up a corner (which should be easy to lay back down on the carpet tacks) and check what’s going on under there.

        Sprayed the walls! Holy mackerel!

        My mother had a cat that did something like that. It was an aging female, had been spayed years before — she did the responsible thing and had her cats spayed before they ever came into heat. All of a sudden this beast took to backing up to the drapes and spraying them!

        Well, you know what draperies cost. My father was an inveterate cheapskate who begrudged my mother every penny she spent. He would occasionally threaten to leave her if she didn’t quit spending “his” money. He was at sea when this happened…as you can imagine, she was terrified of what would happen if he came home and found out about this. So she was really in quite a state…devastated about her pet pussycat, and scared to death of what my father’s reaction would be.

        This had happened after a vet had given the cat a shot of…uhm…prednisone, I _think_…to treat an itchy spot on the animal’s tail. The cat went bonkers and she had to have it put down.

        She sent the draperies to a cleaner, who managed to get the stink out of the fabric — heaven only knows how! Must have cost a bundle, but it surely wouldn’t have cost anything like what would have been involved in having Sears make all new draperies for every room in the house.

        Cats really are horribly destructive. I think they’re more destructive than dogs. True, a dog will chew up your furniture if you’re not watching, and if it chooses to attack you, it will do some very serious harm. But you can get very sick or even die from a cat bite, too, plus they carry some very unpleasant parasites and diseases. By and large, a dog can be trained to quit chewing furniture and quit digging up the garden, whereas very few cats can be persuaded to change a destructive habit.

  6. I used to live in NYC, where there is a higher chance of a sociopath coming your way vis a vis animal cruelty (rat poison in cat food left outside, kicking/ lighting cats on fire, getting killed by car or city dwelling coyotes, etc. — all news stories I heard). I worked with a great animal rescue and they were adamant that NO cat needs to go outside. A) they kill native bird populations B) they can get sick or killed. I have three cats now that live indoors and one even converted from feral and doesn’t miss the outside.

    Also, speaking of UTI’s— male cats get them easily (one of ours got a costly one). Dry food is #1 cause (except for special vet prescribed dry) in addition to overfeeding (indoor cats don’t need what package claims to feed). We now give our boys Royal Canin Urinary SO and haven’t had to go back to vet since.

    • Yes, the SPCA here encourages people to keep their cats indoors, too. They make a similar argument: that it’s actually abusive to expose the animal to the kinds of risks cats face in a city. And we found that most cats are perfectly happy to stake out the inside of the house as their territory and live there happily ever after. As a matter of fact, of all the inside cats my mother and I ever had, only one evinced any desire to go outside. After he fell off the back fence and darn near brained his cat self, he lost interest in adventuring.

      I had a friend who got a cat as a young adult animal. She was able to persuade the critter to stay inside the fenced backyard! How, I can’t imagine. She would go out in back with the cat and putter around with the cat underfoot, and then when she went inside she’d call the cat. Possibly the cat had been an inside cat before my friend adopted it from PetSmart.

      In every instance my mother and I experienced, the pissing instigator was a female. Eventually other cats in the household followed suit, male or female. But mine weren’t spraying: they were just urinating and defecating in a normal way. On the floor.

      The cat and dog food question is a whole ‘nother jack-in-the-box! I’ve been suspicious of commercial pet feed since the Memory of Person Runneth Not to the Contrary. That’s why I feed my dogs home-cooked chow. But I wouldn’t try that with a cat, I don’t think: it’s difficult to get cat food right. The stuff recommended by your vet sounds like a good choice!

  7. I agree. I always shake my head at cats that are left to roam free. We have never had any issues with cats leaving messes or destroying things (that I know of). The worst that we did have was a few years ago, one outdoor cat decided that he would start taking naps on our deck. This didn’t sit well with our two indoor cats and there was a lot of howling and banging of heads into the glass door (often while the rest of us were sleeping of course). I ended up having to fashion a barrier from a piece of plywood to keep the thing from being able to climb the stairs. Thankfully that worked and it settled things down once again.

    • LOL! I think you’d make an ideal spouse, MB, because you seem so mellow. I, having the personality of an Africanized honeybee…not so much. 😀

      Does it _really_ seem right that we should have to barricade decks and crown walls with carpet-tack strips to keep our inconsiderate neighbors’ cats out? It should not be incumbent upon US to keep THEIR cats out. It should go the other way around: THEY should have to keep their cats IN.

      Most parts of the country require dog owners to keep their dogs inside their own property or on a leash. Why shouldn’t that basic common sense apply to cat owners?

  8. Wow, Funny, your “father” story is even worse than my cat story. 🙁

    • LOL! He wasn’t a bad man, given the time and place where he grew up, and his circumstances. He was just a creature of his world.

  9. Canada has a new “safe cat safe bird” campaign they launched. http://www.thestar.com/life/2016/02/29/keep-your-cat-on-a-leash-for-birds-sake.html

    I posted about it on the local Nextdoor message board. I did it in kindly way because I didn’t want to get a lot of abuse, and so I didn’t. My comment about how there seem to be a lot of cats roaming around and how sad it is that the local shelter has to euthanize so many didn’t seem to get anyone excited in a good or bad way.

    People seem to think that cats need to roam around outside, though, and they won’t change their minds. I think you’re right that they let cats out because they don’t want to clean up after them, but of course they won’t admit it.

    I’m doing a lot of volunteer work with a local shelter, and there is an initiative we’re trying to get on the ballot to reduce the kill rate at the county shelter. When the details are examined, there are many more cats than dogs that are euthanized.

    I’ve had two cats, both were raised as indoor only cats. The first one was a sweetie who loved staying in the house. The second was a hellion who tried to escape the house every chance she got and was a mean cat in general. I re-homed with some friends in the country who were looking for a barn cat since it wasn’t safe for her to be running around my city neighborhood. (I wrote about how I was treated very rudely by a volunteer when I tried to rehome her through a local low-kill shelter here https://awindycitygal.wordpress.com/2008/10/18/back-to-the-real-world/)

    • Yup. I’ll bet that’s true about the euthanization rates.

      And yup. Your experience with the animal fancier at the low-kill shelter reflects experiences we’ve had here. Some of these people are nutty fanatics who don’t seem to be able to see beyond their own presumptions. Which, we might add, are hugely presumptuous.

      In Maricopa County, it will cost you around $100 to turn in a stray cat to Animal Control. The Humane Society charges around $50 for the privilege. Obviously, the motive is to discourage people from bringing in animals their neighbors allow to run loose and become nuisances. This policy makes it easy and even encourages cat lovers to let their cats range around the neighborhood.

      There are a LOT of people who think dogs should be allowed to run free, too. A whole coterie of them come together in our local park every Sunday morning and let about a dozen dogs run all over the park off the leash. They think this is very fun and amusing. Nevermind the big signs that say “DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH.” Nevermind the county leash law. Nevermind the almost identical city leash law.

      But nevertheless there at least _is_ a leash law!

      Without formal city, county, and state policies on cats, neighbors whose property is damaged have a lot less clout in the courts. If a dog comes over your fence and bites your kid or kills your dog or cat or chases your chickens off, you can sue his a$$. But if a cat comes into your yard, digs up your garden, shits in your vegetables, kills your chickens or native birds, and excretes stinky stuff all over your yard and house walls, you don’t have much recourse.

  10. I love cats and currently have 3. All are indoor only. I have had many over the years. As much as I love them, if I couldn’t cure a cat that pottied on carpet, they would be put down. There are so many well-behaved cats that need homes out there. I actually did put down a 14 year old female pee-er last year. Hard but had to be done.

  11. As an owner of a farmhouse and 3 indoor cats we’re alway calling animal contol to come trap stray cats who are “shacking up” on our property, we adopted one, my Mom adopted one but sadly many are put down. One almost went today, a new neighbor came in search of their cat while I was on the phone with AC, his excuse was his apartment neighbor was getting upset with the cat wailing to go out. He’s not neutered, I told him how upset I was to step out into my carpeted entry this morning and have it reek of cat pee and be greeted by his cat soon after. He said he has an appt. next week, he’d better. Many let their cats roam because they don’t want to pay to spay and neuter and when nature calls the cats want OUT. I don’t know why cat owners deny they are willfully and knowingly allowing their cats to trespass on others property when they let them out the door freely.

    • I’m sorry you’re having to put up with a nuisance like that.

      In my experience, once a cat starts to spray, spaying or castrating will not stop that habit. But miracles happen.

      Try putting mousetraps (unbaited but set) in the places where you can see the cat has sprayed. You can identify these with a blacklight, available in flashlight from at Amazon for less than Home Depot charges. The vet told me he’d never seen a cat that was injured by a mouse trap, but they will snap if the cat gets close enough to brush against it. That usually will scare the animal off. Another strategy, which is fairly obnoxious but is said to work, is to sprinkle mothballs around out there. They stink, but they don’t stink as bad as cat pee. Cats will not come near the smell.

      You can treat the areas that the cat has sprayed with an enzyme odor killer, but be sure you’re actually getting one that really contains an effective enzyme, and follow the instructions. Some of these products claim to contain enzymes but do not. I’ve found that they won’t stop a cat or dog from coming back to their spot, but they at least make the smell less noticeable for humans.

      The thing is, it’s not just that the animals are a public nuisance. They devastate wildlife. They kill off not only birds — and your domestic fowl, if you have property where you’re allowed to keep them — but beneficial wild animals such as lizards and small mammals that eat insects. Overrun with ants? Could be because you don’t have enough birds anymore to keep the ant population under control. Got a superfluity of mosquitoes? Geckos and other lizards, which can be wiped out by cats, eat mosquitoes.

      • That is probably why we have yet to see the chipmunks we fed every year, the mousetraps are a great idea, probably safer than the carpet tack strips I was imagining when seeing and hearing the neighbors cat yowling in our barn AGAIN last night. It’s nearly impossible to make a centuries old farm with crawl spaces and big rolling doors cat proof! But honestly, I shouldn’t have to. But to all those cat owners who may read this and “supposedly like their cats” and let their cats roam, not only is it not fair your cats come pee on my stuff or anyone else’s, you shorten their life by at least 25%, their lives are in peril by cars, coyotes, fishers and owls here, I’m sure there are more predators in other areas, including angry neighbors!

  12. @Cyn: That’s right! The crazy thing is, my cat-loving neighbor goes all teary-eyed when she finds a cat run over or dismembered by a coyote, but SHE STILL LETS HER CATS ROAM!

    The only explanation for this irrationality is that the cat lover, living in close quarters with the animals, has picked up the parasite carried by cats which is known to affect people’s brains. Toxoplasmosis is among the several parasites that warp their hosts’ behavior in such a way as to force the host animal to abet their reproductive cycle.

    One of these, for example, causes an infected grasshopper to jump into water, where it promptly drowns, releasing the parasite’s young into the pond or pool where they can complete the next stage of their life cycle.

    Humans pick up toxoplasmosis from the feces of infected cats. Clean out a cat box or dig in a garden that a cat has used as its latrine, et voila! You, too, get to be a host for a parasite that can induce spontaneous abortions and has been linked with schizophrenia. And suddenly, oh, my: cats seem SO BEAUTIFUL to you that you wll do any. thing. they. want. Like letting them roam around, at their own considerable risk.

    So it’s not actually that these people are stupid or antisocial. It’s that they are deranged.