In the early hours of this morning Monkey Man and I were awoken by a rather alarming sound. At first I thought it was Littlest Monkey Boy having a bad dream. But it didn't sound like a very upsetting dream. He was singing: "Oooooh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, no, no, no, no" in a descending scale. Repeatedly. Then I thought it couldn't be him - much too tuneful and rhythmic for Littlest Monkey. I realised there was a second voice singing along too. I was then convinced it was a couple of witch-kids dressed in sheets casting a spell with accompanying song and dance on our nature strip (in my defence it was 3am and I wasn't quite awake). Monkey Man and I lay rigid in our bed fiercely whispering our speculations. Until I persuaded him to turn the front light on and scare the kid-witches away. So he did. Except that they weren't witches - they were feral cats having a jolly good, noisy, mate on our front patio.
Our neighbourhood is riddled with feral cats. Our neighbour Mr. P encourages them with food. He thinks they keep away his mice. Better a bezillion cats roaming about killing the wildlife and waking the neighbours than mice must be his philosophy. Frankly, I'm inclined towards the mice.
A couple of years ago one of these feral cats had kittens and deposited them in a pile of rubble behind our wood shed. The sound of teeny kitten mews coming from a pile of timber almost melted my hard heart. I briefly entertained the thought of raising these kittens as pets. But I was attempting to raise my own babies at the time and I suspect the extra duties would have sent me completely bonkers. So we did the responsible thing and took them to our local vet. Where they were probably euthanased.
I used to quite like cats - until I started to garden. I always thought cats were clean creatures who buried their business and spent most of their time grooming. But I've since learnt that they aren't. The feral cats around our place will drop a plop anywhere that takes their fancy. And what takes their fancy are places where I like to dig or step. Newly dug patches of dirt waiting for new seedlings is a place where I'll put my gardening glove into a fresh lump of cat poo. Or out front beside the garden path. And they certainly don't cover their messes up. They'll leave them atop the mulch for my nostrils to notice every time I step out the front door. I can smell a cat poo from 7 metres.
There was a time when I planted a herb that claimed to deter cats from your garden. I think it was called "cat-off". Anyway, it died. And it didn't keep the cats away. I've heard that orange peel can do the trick. They don't like orange peel apparently. But despite having a messy garden, I don't much like the thought of creating even more mess by scattering orange peel all over the place.
So I've declared noise-war on the feral cats. There's one in particular that loves to sit on our compost bins watching for mice. It completely ignores the chooks and I see evidence of its success with the mice but I'm nevertheless at war. It can take it's stinky poo and noisy, nocturnal entertainments elsewhere. Whenever I see it, I shout and hiss from the back door sending it scuttling away. And my monkeys have taken to imitating me too. Our neighbours must wonder about our sanity but I don't care. I hereby declare my garden - front and back - a cat-free zone. A big, hairy, scary, red-faced human can make more noise than a feral cat any time. Go take your poo to Mr P - he has a much friendlier garden.