There has been a huge explosion of kittens in the neighbourhood. While utterly charmed by cats, the fact is I haven’t seen a bird in the garden for months. They have been replaced by catshit.
In all senses, I’d like to lay this at my neighbours’ door.
For some weeks now I’ve been starting to consider ways to keep them out (while simultaneously yearning to cuddle and pet them). Until now, the strategy has been to launch myself out of the back door and run at them hissing. This is a hurtful thing to be reduced to.
The final straw happened the other morning when I jolted awake with a sharp cry as a kitten, not light on its feet, leapt from the sill of the window at the turn of our stairs onto the landing outside our bedroom door. Matt was gone, my spectacles were not on, and all I saw was a dark shape making its way towards the bed. An incubus, was my first panic-stricken thought.
At my shriek the kitten about-turned and leapt back on the windowsill. I’d had put my glasses on by then. The presumptuous little hooligan interpreted the croon I uttered as encouragement to come straight back and get on the bed! He was tortoiseshell and white and not shy. He put his front paws up on my thighs in an over-familiar way to see better as I stood at the sink cleaning my teeth. He sat on the dressing table as I dragged a comb through my hair.
(By the way, I was petting him not strangling him.)
And then when, doubtful that I could persuade him out the way he had come, I shut the stairway window, he went beserk, knocked pot plants over, tried to jump through the downstairs windowpane and only found the door I had opened for him through a series of painful-sounding trials and errors.
Who couldn’t love a kitten? The fact remains, though, that my neighbours are responsible for the mossy paw-prints all down my stairwell wall. I find it hard to swallow, given that we live in a society which recognises private property, that it is alright to buy a live creature and set it free to kill, foul and trespass in the environs. It isn’t neighbourly at all, in my book.
So, I went to the RSPB site and purchased, for a significant sum I had to stump up myself, an ultrasonic cat deterrent, Catwatch, which they say works exclusively on cats. When I told (leading green blogger) Barkingside 21, however, he literally hooted. Apparently they don’t work and his has been retired to the garage.
We will see. There’s always physical barriers.