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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Sound of Feral Cats Mating

Wikipedia
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.

15 comments:

  1. Both cats and mice are dangerous where we live and have done much damage. I live in the bush and if we catch a feral cat we take it to the spca, I think that mostly they put them down, but if there are kittens they adopt them out or put them into refuges, but they also give them the chop so that they cannot reproduce. It feels cruel, but feral cats and rats need to be kept under control down under, and here in NZ we also have to kill possums! They too make a horrible noise at night!!

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  2. Yep. Maybe the kittens we gave to the vet were adopted out. Really - possums too?! I've never heard a possum at night but I have heard a koala. Koalas sound like wild pigs.

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  3. I'm hearing you VG. I am probably going to upset some cat lovers by declaring that we have on several occasions borrowed a *humane* cat trap from local council (I think most councils have these available). We are on acreage and want to encourage birdlife, not see it depleted. On 3 occasions we caught a large feral cat - then taken to council pound and euthanased. We have been cat free for some time, but yesterday when I went to chook pen I discovered some lovely tom cat had sprayed his scent around. yuk. Not to mention it is probably stalking my chickens!! So we will again borrow the trap. Sorry for the rant, but I know how you must feel and I can give positive support to removing the culprits asap. cheers Wendy

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  4. I am not a fan of cats. I am of the opinion that if you own one, keep it inside with access to a secure outdoor run and get it neutered. Same with dogs. If you own one, you are responsible for keeping it on your property, not on mine. I have lent out our fox trap to city dwelling friends to trap unwanted cats on their property and it has worked.

    VG there are cat proof fencing attachments for your fence that are like big wider rollers and the jumping cat cannot land on the top of the fence without ¨rolling¨ off of it.

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  5. No D.D. That doesn't sound like a rant. Hmm guess I'm lucky I don't have the smell of a spraying cat. Actually I really do like cats and used to own a couple of my own a decade ago. They were spoilt fluffy things and they were spoilt but they weren't allowed outside at night. Daffodil that fence roller thing sounds a bit scary to me. I don't think I want to turn my place into a prison.:) surprisingly, this morning I went searching to get a picture of one of the cats for this blog posting... And I couldn't find any. Not one. Maybe it's too cold for them to be hanging about or maybe I've scared them all to another suburb.

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  6. When we had our own cat, we used to get lots hanging around at night making a racket as if they were calling her out, but since she died, nothing, thank goodness. my hubby used to put the hose on them, worked too.

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  7. Not that I disagree with any of the above ... but I already put a cute picture of our cats in my header today...oops.

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  8. Yes Hazel I noticed that! It is a cute pic though. Jeanetteann I don't think I could be bothered getting out of my warm bed to turn the hose on them.

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  9. Noises are so much scarier at 3am! I’ve never heard cats mating before, the written rendition is funny, I didn't know what voice to use for it!
    I hope you win the battle!

    I wonder why feral cats don't bury their poo and domestic ones do? How strange...

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  10. You could hire Missy. She'd chase them out of the garden.

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  11. i love cats .... but can't help but completely agree with you! any cats i've owned are completely in door ... less damage to the environment and they are happy as larry anyway! love your blog!

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  12. seriously, dont talk to me about cat turds...I am having to redo my whole kids side play area because of the amount, no, actually PILES of cat crap that is deposited their nightly...we are putting gravel all along there because it is where my kids play, and you know if my neighbours dont give a toss about it, I will start 'tossing' it over their side, maybe in their swimming pool where their kids play.....I am turning to serious measures as far as the cats go in my yard....so watch out cats. My cats poo, fine, (if I had a cat) but not other peoples cats.....go home and crap in your own backyard.

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  13. Phoebe, most girl cats bury their poo, but not boys, boys are a bit slap dash, and tend to leave it half uncovered, just so the assault on your nostrils is fully fledged.........

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  14. I have the same trouble with foxes - and the noise they make is really ghostly, like something out of a Horror movie.

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  15. we have both cat and fox probblems, we bought a sonic noise gun that looks like a mega phone. that seems to work. if you have fences there is a product called prikka strips (cant spell that)

    http://www.decking-fencing-accessories.co.uk/prikka-strip-bird-ban-c-37.html

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