16 June 2010


The above picture is a fairly accurate representation of our backyard on any given day. Seriously.

While we do not have a cast of adults dressed in skin-tight cat costumes (which would be equally alarming), we do have an insane number of felines who have taken up residence in the vicinity of ours. And it has finally come to the point where we can share the space no longer.

A little background:
Our next-door neighbors have been feeding the resident stray cats ever since we have moved into our house almost four years ago. The number has grown from three to almost twelve, maybe more (though it is awfully hard to count)! The lady next door swears that the woman who lives behind her takes the cats to be spayed or neutered, but the week after she told us that we noticed a new litter of kittens.

I frequently come home to find five - and sometimes more - cats having a little shin-dig in our driveway, maybe lounging under bushes or on the front porch, or draped over trees in our yard.

These furry little fiends friends leave their lovely-smelling excrement in the flower bed - just so I have a little reminder of their presence whenever I step outside to get the mail, I'm sure.

They leave little cat prints on my freshly-washed car.

We are frequently awoken by their "wild parties" outside our bedroom window at 3:00am. Or 10:00am. Or 2:00pm. Really, whenever.

We have tried many passive-agressive methods to at least keep these felines off our property. The Shake-Away Repellant was just a gimmick. Moth balls only made everything smell like moth balls. (We had many a guest ask us why it smelled like a coat closet on our front porch.) The lavender was a total joke, and the chicken wire only worked until the cats figured out how to get around it. We have even been so desperate as to price the cat repellant noisemakers, but figured the results would be just as disappointing.

In a moment of desperation, we rented traps from Animal Control to catch the little critters. Unfortunately, one of our neighbors saw the trap with food and asked if we were poisoning their cats. Their cats? You mean the ones without tags that look sickly and thin because they don't have a proper home? Oh, those cats. Needless to say, we didn't like being accused of such cruelty and quickly put away the traps.

My husband and I love animals, we really do. Promise. But this situation is bringing out the worst in both of us...

I was at home one morning when I heard the cats going at it just outside of our guest room window. With my patience running low, I stormed into the room with plans to startle the little noisemakers on the other side. Apparently I used a little too much gusto when knocking on the window...and ended up punching through the glass all the way to the screen. Luckily I was not injured.

Clay has gotten to where he makes a mad dash for the hose whenever he sees the cats lounging in our yard. (Do you think they would obey "No Loitering" signs?) He turns the nozzle to "stream" and goes after anything furry within range.

Both of us stomp and/ or throw things when we see the cats anywhere close. We have done this so often that the cats will run the other way when they see us coming!

And I hesitate to admit it, but I often speed up in the driveway if I see a cat laying there. I have seen Clay do this too.

See what I mean? This whole cat thing really makes us look like uncaring and heartless individuals - which we are NOT. We are trying to do the humane thing, really we are. Clay and I want these cats to have loving homes where they can be given monogrammed kitty beds, bathed in liberal amounts of flea-killer and nibble Fancy Feast out of crystal goblets.

This cat-astrophe has brought us to our wits' end! We just don't know what to do anymore...

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