So the carpet-tack strips I zip-tied along the tops of the cinderblock walls by way of discouraging Other Daughter’s nuisance cat from jumping into the yard, predating on the birds and geckos, and using my desert landscaping as a giant litterbox have worked middling well. I haven’t seen her atop the wall for a long time, nor have I found any of her parasite-laden little doggy treats laying around the backyard.
And so, as crackpot as this particular decorative element appears, it seems to be working to keep the damn cat out.
A year and a half later, the strips have buckled and warped under the onslaught of rain and sun. Fortunately, this was easily fixed simply by adding a another half-dozen plastic zip-ties. They’ll last a few more months before I have to take them down and replace them.
But the problem of the caps atop the cinderblock support columns remains. They present no practical way to tie down pieces of carpet-tack strips. Aluminum pans full of water, besides looking even crazier than the tack strips, breed mosquitoes and get tipped over by mockingbirds using them as watering holes.
I ended up jury-rigging some little squares of carpet tacks, which provided a couple of crossbars that could be tied to the decorative blocks abutting some, but not all of the columns. These worked to keep the cat from perching on the columns, but they can’t be tied down firmly — or, in one corner, at all — and so the buckling renders them even more bizarre-looking than the straight pieces and, where no tiedown is reasonable, essentially nonfunctional.
What to do?
Several folk sites on the Internet claim that cats dislike tinfoil. With a lifetime supply of Costco aluminum foil residing in the pantry, this would be an easy and cheap fix.
However, one crass skeptic has mounted a video in which he tests this theory. He tapes lengths of tinfoil down a short, hardwood-floored hallway and lets the camera run.
Kitty approaches the new carpeting with suspicion. She sniffs. She tests it tentatively with a paw. Then she strides over it, marches up to the camera, and rubs her furry flank across its lens.
😆 Yay, crass skeptics!
More believable is the claim that cats don’t like sticky stuff under their feet. We’re told that double-sided tape stuck atop a counter or on furniture you would like to remain un-clawed will discourage counter-roaming and sofa-ripping.
Possibly. At Amazon, reviewers of an anti-cat product designed to stick on upholstered furniture report that the cat simply removes the tape and then proceeds with its project of shredding the sofa.
However. Perching on top of something is different from clawing fabric. There actually IS a good chance that sticky stuff could repel Other Daughter’s cat from the cinderblock column caps.
However1. Sticky stuff will stay sticky about 48 hours out there. So much crap drops out of the Devil-Pod Tree and also, at this time of year, out of the paloverde tree that a sticky surface would soon be rendered nonfunctional.
This returns us to the question of how to affix tack strips to the column caps, even if temporarily.
How about using double-sided tape to hold them down? Scotch sells an exterior mounting tape that is beloved by a huge majority of Amazon reviewers. The minority who whinge about it complain that it doesn’t hold up certain objects. But as a weapon in the Cat Wars, the stuff would lay flat — it wouldn’t be called upon to stick anything to the side of a wall. Some of the product’s admirers claim that heat only makes it work better; it seems to lose effectiveness in sub-freezing temps. Those do not occur around here, at least not often.
This could be the answer. Four hundred and fifty feet of heavy-duty double-sided tape would hold down a lot 18-inch strips of cat-repellent tack sticks.
And in the presence of geckos, the mosquito population has declined.
We still have some, but nothing like the swarms that normally harass the Funny Farm’s warm-blooded denizens at this time of year.
The flies also seem to have declined a little. Still enough to be a nuisance, but not six or eight in the house at a time.
And I believe there are more birds out there than before.
And there’s a duck.
Yes. DUCK. A little research reveals that it takes baby ducks about 60 days to fledge. So if they hatch and if they survive, they’ll be around for most of the summer.
DUCK is not disturbed by the presence of the human in the pool. Today I do have to shock-treat, since we’re starting to get some algae. But the only time she leaves the nest to forage is around 3 to 4 in the afternoon. So I figure if I slip some chlorine into the drink early in the morning, by mid-afternoon the water should be safe for her even if she happens to go into the pool. Which she doesn’t. Not often, anyway.
M’hijto remarked that the ducklings are likely to be picked off by the neighbor’s damned cat, if not by the coyotes, the raccoons, and the resident red-tail.
Hence the project to shore up the battlements. Quack!