Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cat Rant

This is a natural gas fire pit with silica sand, a high purity, fine sand that’s also known as industrial sand. The sand covers a fire ring, and when I light it, blue flames come up through the sand and appear to be dancing just above the surface. This is not a giant litter box. The neighbor’s cat obviously doesn’t know the difference. Instead of staying in his back yard, he jumps an eight-foot wall each night to come into my garden. He does his business in my fire pit, and then howls under my bedroom windows at 3 a.m. He brings half-eaten birds into my garden and leaves them scattered here and there. He marks my flowerbeds, and even poops on my walkways. He does all this at night, and seldom shows up during the day. The few times I’ve seen him during the daytime, he quickly jumps back over the wall into his own back yard.

Today I cleaned the fire pit yet again, and this time I put some orange peels down to see if that would repel this nighttime visitor. If it doesn’t work, I’ve read of some other methods to try next to deal with errant cats. Maybe if he stops using the fire pit as a litter box, he won’t bother jumping the wall, and all the other problems with him will go away.

I normally don’t mind cats, but if I wanted one, I’d get one of my own. If this keeps up, I’m sending my neighbor a bill to replace the expensive silica sand!


Mary Beth said...

No wonder you don't see this cat during the day - he's EXHAUSTED from his all-nighter in your back yard!

GardenJoy4Me said...

I don't balme you one bit for feeling so angry about this. I am a cat owner and mine have ALWAYS been indoor .. it is just too dangerous now a days to have them roaming and certainly NOT in other peoples gardens.
I have had neighborhood cats in my garden and it makes me so mad , since I am a responsible owner.
I use pepper a lot .. and when they dig they get it on their paws .. it won't hurt them but it makes them uncomfortable to say the least.
Do you have any by-laws about this ? We do and we can have them live trapped.
I hope this doesn't turn you off cats on the whole .. because it is the OWNER'S FAULT !
Good luck

Tracy said...

A couple sprays from a garden hose might scare him away permanently.....I too have had this problem......cats hate water.....otherwise, I would be phoning animal control or bylaw officers. Good Luck, it is such a frustrating thing to deal with.

jocelyn said...

I love your fire bowl---is it stone or ceramic? Gas fires are a much better option for those of us living in areas with air quality problems (no smoke or particulates) or fire hazard zones (no sparks). I have seen a number of beautiful applications of these gas rings and I think they are a stunning new addition to the outdoor living scene.

As to your cat problem, try laying down some peices of hardware cloth (large scale wire mesh) in specific areas. It worked for me!

Julie said...

One thing my Mom uses is a device you plug in (and you would only have to do it at night) that emits a high pitched frequency that cats cannot stand, and they stay away! Here is an example:

No Rain said...

Thanks to all for the suggestions. I've added pepper to the sand, along with the orange peels. If this doesn't work, then it's on to the other suggestions! My husband says that he will have a mesh cover made if it comes to that, but that will cost over $100.

As far as the fire pit, it is made of cement blocks, then stuccoed, and the top is chocolate flagstone. I also have this flagstone on the seating wall and grill area. It comes from the Grand Canyon area, and is not as common as other flagstone colors. It is shot through with fern fossils, which make it even more interesting. I can also use lava rocks in it instead of the sand, but I prefer the look of the flames with sand.

sisah said...

What a wonderful and unusual gas fire pit you have, I have never seen such piece of equipment before, you have to show us when it is lit!
Here in Germany you can´t stop cats to roam around, there is no law against that. The best thing to prevent cats coming on your grounds is to keep a dog :-) As we have a cat ourselves I do understand your problem as I hate my cat to do his duties in my well made seedbeds. But I live with it, if I see him doing so I defend my seedbeds...
And as we are more intelligent beings as these animals we do have to find a way to protect our property and a cover would be the best solution for that precious gas fire pit.

gizelle said...

What a prank cat! I like cats too but if its like how your neighbor's is I'll tell my neighbor off right away...the fine for the silica sand would be a great idea too! So they'd be responsible enough to train the cat. Good day!

barbara said...

I truly sympathize with your cat visitor. And I love your message in the sand. Can that smart cat read too?

kate said...

Have you talked to your neighbour about their cat? I don't know if they would do anything, but perhaps knowing that you might send them a bill for replacement costs might help. They could definitely keep their cat in at night ... that would help.

It is a beautiful fire pit!

Andrew said...

I just read in this months This Old House Magazine that used or unbrewed coffee grounds are a "surefire" cat repellant and I am currently testing the method out.