Funny about Money

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

Cat Wars: Reinforcing the Battlements

tabbycatSo 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.

๐Ÿ˜† 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.

House_gecko_with_spiderIn the absence of Other Daughter’s accursed cat, life has begun to return to the backyard. The gecko population is slowly recovering.

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 ofย  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!


Author: funny

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  1. My cat is a garbage picker. If he can get into the trash, he’ll scrounge around and get into something if it’s to his liking. This includes getting into things wrapped up in aluminum foil. Doesn’t bother him in the slightest.

  2. When I was a kid we played a game with our cat by tossing a little ball of aluminum foil down the steps and then watching him trot back up with the ball in his mouth so we could throw it again.

    Guess it’s only SOME cats that don’t like foil.

    And re yard pests, a line from today’s newspaper:

    “In Stuckagain Heights, an East Anchorage neighborhood well accustomed to the presence of bears, homeowners heard what sounded like a bear killing a moose calf early Friday morning.

    “A few hours later, one homeowner went outside to get his newspaper. He took a gun with him. He had barely reached his driveway when, as he told state biologists later, the brown bear charged him.”

    Good times!

    • That must have been an interesting moment. I wonder if it was a grizzly — a subspecies of the brown and more likely than other bear types to pounce a human.

      We have black bears around here — not so many in the low desert, but they do live in the high country above the Rim. They rarely attack humans, although occasionally they’ll raid campsites. If you’re dumb enough to have brought food inside your tent, that might not be a good thing… A few years ago a woman was killed while walking her dog at a country club near Payson. Which, I suppose, is not unlike having food in your tent.

      LOL! I kinda doubt carpet tacks would deter a bear. ๐Ÿ˜€ Actually, wild predators around here are adapted to cacti. It’s not uncommon to spot a wildcat on top of a saguaro:

      The drought is making them more aggressive. The heat and drought-stressed chaparral is leaving bears (among others) half-starved,

  3. Glad to hear DUCK is still doing well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I saw a momma duck and her little ones during a hike on Sunday near a (shrunken by drought) lake. She was very watchful of the ducklings as they moved among the reeds looking for food. I was very glad that the Labs set loose by a crass owner to run into the lake and chase the wildlife seemed to overlook that little family.

    • Yeah, she’s fine, but so far no hatchlings. There’s really nothing for them to eat around or in the pool.

      I understand that tack & feed stores carry (are you ready?) duck kibble. Apparently ducks actually can eat dog kibble. WhatEVER. I may get some for them if and when they hatch.