I like to think of myself as an animal lover. I love lamb with mint sauce, pork with apple and roast beef with Yorkshire puddings. And as for bacon sandwiches...
Despite my enjoyment of consuming meat, I would never actively partake in any sport or activity that harmed a creature, not even a spider dangling precariously above my head or crawling up the side of the bathtub whilst I’m in it.
However, one thing that I cannot abide is my neighbour’s army of cats using my garden as a toilet.
“Cats always bury their mess,” the offending neighbour wailed, after she caught me bearing my teeth and growling in a scary, dog-like fashion at one of her trespassing, furry sidekicks. And yes, I’d like to give the neighbour a few kicks in the side too.
Even if they did bury their mess, so what? My children play in the garden and I plant shrubs and flowers, acts that tend to expose the loosely covered excrement, with the potential to transmit delightful diseases such as Toxoplasmosis.
However, my neighbour’s cats cut out the middle man. They proudly display the contents of their bowels in all its fresh, glistening, malodorous glory in the middle of our lawn, on the patio, on top of the flower beds or any other position that affords us an excellent view of their latest anal showpiece.
If cats could communicate in human language, I would imagine the discourse would go something like this: “This is my latest masterpiece. The unusual curly shape was achieved by eating fresh fish and then rotating my arse as I squatted. I’ve named the sculpture, Chocolate Whip.”
Our neighbour is known as Cat Woman to everyone else in the street. Whereas, most people collect stamps, cuddly toys or ornaments of one form or another, my neighbour collects cats. She picks up waifs and strays and entices other neighbours’ cats into her home, with the excuse that they are not being properly cared for. Apparently, being properly cared for means allowing them to drop the contents of their rectal passages where and when it pleases them.
“Cats are a protected species," the neighbour informed me one day, after I had reminded her that since she objected to my children playing in the street outside her home, why should I allow her cats to violate my property?
On the rare occasion that my son’s ball rolls onto her garden, it is immediately confiscated and popped with a sharp object.
“I’ll pop your cats,” retorted my son in anger one day, after his much-loved football was burst in front of him. A few minutes later, I was greeted with a hysterical woman screeching at me about how precious her cats were to her and how she would do unmentionable things to my children, should anything happen to her treasured, grossly overfed pets. A very rational and mentally stable person, I thought. Better hide all my kitchen knives.
All year round, one of my neighbours uses the cats’ backsides as target practice, the stones on his driveway serving as excellent missiles. During the summer months, these feline creatures are equally welcomed onto our territory with a quick blast of cooling water from the garden hose. Very considerate, I think. In fact, the cats must love it so much, that they keep returning for more.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the local police station had allocated a special line for Cat Woman, so that all her calls are automatically routed through to the Time Wasters’ department. The regularity of her calls for various, insignificant incidences, involving the infringement of rights of her four-legged, fat-bellied friends, must be really tiresome and irritating to a crew who could be out fighting real crime, instead of responding to trivialities.
One day, I saw Cat Woman gesticulating wildly to two bemused and indifferent-looking policemen, who were standing on her pathway. She motioned towards her bowling green lawn with one gangly arm and, with the other, pointed accusingly in the direction of several of the neighbours’ houses, ours included.
I could see a muscle twitching in the cheek of one officer, which betrayed his attempt at showing concern for her plight.
As she alternated between grousing and then pursing her lips into a tight, wrinkled circular shape, I observed how much like a cat’s arse her mouth was. Well, they do say that people assume the appearance of their pets.
The body language of the officers, (stifling yawns and checking their watches at ten second intervals), indicated that they were desperate to make a quick getaway.
The policemen left without paying anyone else a visit and Cat Woman retreated into her house, looking as though she was about to combust spontaneously.
I later learned that our next-door-neighbours had a weekly cat shit clearout from their garden, lobbing the offending poos back over the wall to their rightful owners. After all, it was only fair to return the hardened logs of waste matter to the creatures from whose arses they dropped. Marvellous, I thought.
After years of tried and failed methods to discourage these sly creatures from using our garden as a public (in)convenience, we have finally found a deterrent that works. Two boxes, which emit a high-pitched note, abhorrent to animals such as cats, dogs and foxes, strategically place in the front and back garden, have kept our property crap-free for weeks.
Nevertheless, the temptation still exists to arrange for a willing participant to empty their bowels on her front lawn, along with a disguised, handwritten note saying, “One good turd deserves another.”