There’s a big orange tomcat that cruises my alley. He’s full of swagger and fuzz, and he’s a nice enough cat when you meet him in the alley. When we first moved in here, we discovered that Mr. Orange was using our garden shed as a toilet. Moving the garden shed a while back helped and actually using the shed regularly and accessing it and having things stored in it helps too. Mr. Orange was only too happy when we installed the raised vegetable bed and there were a fair number of days when I interrupt him in the act of crapping in my veggie garden and I would hiss, shout, or use the Big Mean Voice to tell him to kindly take his excrement elsewhere.
Mr. Orange is a bit of a pest. His owner obviously doesn’t cotton to the idea that perhaps Mr. Orange should be an indoor cat and our proximity to a giant green space teeming with coyotes doesn’t seem to matter. It annoys me quite a bit that he poops in my veggie garden. It is because of Mr. Orange that I was unable to grow carrots – his scratching in the garden to cover his poop destroyed my teeny baby carrots that had only just come up. And there is nothing finer than working the soil and weeding and grabbing up a big ol’ handful of cat crap. I’ve read quite a bit online about how to deter cats in your garden and solutions range from chemical applications, old wives’ tales suggesting I use pepper, to more serious electrical implements that cost a considerable amount of dough.
I’ve considered grabbing a live trap and presenting Mr. Orange to his owner in a box, but don’t want to traumatize Mr. Orange. I couldn’t come up with a solution and like so many other things in life, when I stopped worrying about it, it didn’t matter. Once all the veggies grew in (see also: prolific tomato plants that got blight what a goddamned waste of space), Mr. Orange seemed content to pass our veggie patch by in favour of another neighbour’s. Not to be all NIMBY here, but hey, kitty, whatever it takes to get you to stop making deposits in the garden.
But now the “harvest” (all four tomatoes grumble grumble) is over and I’ve cleared the plants out of the patch and I’m seeing Mr. Orange peeking his swagger-y little head through the gap in the hedge (Sidenote: Ross, seriously, we need to solve that hedge hole it is driving me nuts) and I watch him eyeing up that lovely large litterbox.
But now, I don’t need to worry. Things are different now. Because you know what is the best cat deterrent in the world? Chickens.
That’s right. Noodle and Giblet don’t care for cats, apparently, and make a huge ruckus when they spy Mr. Orange, clucking and hooting and generally acting completely put out. Mr. Orange obviously misunderstands that these chickens aren’t able to leave their little 6X6X3 house but I don’t care because HEY! NO POOP IN MY GARDEN.
Another benefit to chickens: guard duty.