CAT TROUBLE by John Hoddy
We have a cat problem. A wild black and white stray showed up in our back yard, cold, hungry, and meowing. I've never seen a cat I didn't like. I fed it.
I drove home the next day to see the cat sitting on the front window sill like it had found a home. We've continued the feedings. It remains wild, but comes closer now.
It turns out that kitty has some friends and possibly siblings - another black and white and two Russian Blues, one looking like an experienced brawler. They began showing up for leftover food and moved on to setting up shop on the back patio.
Enter Amber, our Marine corporal sentry cat, patrolling his inside perimeter window to window, tearing open the blinds, going berserk if he sees a foreign cat, howling day and night when he doesn't. The outdoor gang reacted by peeing on our front door and back slider. Amber countered by peeing on the wall, the back slider, the floor, the dryer, and in places yet unseen. I took Amber to the vet, who put him on Valium. It settled him down to where he calmly pees on the wall, the floor, the slider.
That leaves us with getting rid of the outside strays, but so many cats have been abandoned that animal control seldom responds for anything short of a mountain lion eating children. When they do respond, they trap and impound. A feral cat's lifespan is measured in hours, something we can’t let happen. We’ve stopped the feedings, but need something more.
My wife’s son offered a solution. Coyote Pee! It's the real thing, marketed as a lure for people wanting to shoot coyotes, as a repellent for use against deer, cats, and any other animal coyotes might eat. I found it online at Amazon and read several satisfied customer reviews before determining they can't ship it to California. Probably just as well. Coyotes in the back yard would be a bigger problem than cats. In the meantime, I discovered that such an esoteric product produced some inspired Amazon customer evaluations, of which the following, titled Top Dog, March 24, by viktor_57 is an example:
I am not sure why this product is advertised as a "lure", since it is obviously meant to repel deer and other creatures wary of coyotes. I myself do not have deer problems, living in a Manhattan condo, but I do have a rather willful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sir Winston who aggravates me to no end with his aggressive behavior, incessant barking, and refusal to obey my commands. Quite simply, I just don't get no respect from him. I have tried discipline, bribery, psychotherapy, and even physical restraints, but nothing works. After Sir Winston chewed up and peed on my $1200 Amedeo Testoni loafers, I knew I had to get serious.
The coyote urine smelled no different from the hundreds of other urine I have smelled. Perhaps I was expecting something gamier or muskier than your average urine. For a moment I was afraid that someone might have simply urinated into the container, trying to pass it off as coyote urine. Brushing my doubts aside, I went to the bathroom, removed my shirt, and then liberally applied the coyote urine to my body--under my chin, on my torso, rubbing it into my arms--until I fairly reeked of the pungent odor. I stepped out of the bathroom and called to Sir Winston. Not surprisingly, nothing happened. I went to search for him and found him in the kitchen, peeing on my Cuisinart. The moment I came in, however, his body seemed to tense, and he turned around quickly, whimpered, scrambled off the counter and ran to the living room to hide under the sofa. I followed him to the sofa, got down on my hands and knees, and called to Sir Winston. He responded with a high-pitched whine. You can imagine how powerful and in-charge I felt.
"Sir Winston!" I yelled, "Come out now and face your master!" Sir Winston crawled out, crouching low, and looked up at me with humility and fear. "I am top dog now, and you will obey me!" Sir Winston actually seemed to nod his head--quite a change from his usual response of biting my ankle. "Go now to your room and repent your past disobedience!" I yelled, and then, for good measure, I flexed my chest and arms and growled, "ARRRRGGGHHH!!!" Sir Winston bolted to his room as if the very Devil himself were chasing him.
My success with Sir Winston has led to my wearing coyote urine all the time and growling whenever anyone crosses me. The other junior partners at the firm where I work have developed a new respect for me, and even the senior partners have begun to give me a wide berth. I am now experimenting with other predator urine, including wolf and bear, but coyote remains my favorite.
I’m still dealing with cats, but where was this stuff when I was part of the working world?