Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There Goes the Neighborhood

Today I found a gorgeous blue jay in my backyard.

So I called the village hall.

The receptionist, much distraught by my situation, transferred me to the records clerk at the police department.

He wanted desperately to help, but had to refer me to call the police non-emergency phone number.

They weren’t messing around. This is serious business. Tomorrow they’re sending a Community Service Officer out to my house to help me out.

A blue jay is an event, you see.

I had my first squirrel early this spring, and he no longer visits my yard. I had robins that lived in and raised nests of young on my flood light for many years, but they dared not return this year. A nest of dead baby cardinals was pillaged from one of my trees. My bird feeder has become a ghost town, my trees are silent, and even the hawk who frequented my yard hasn’t been around this year at all. It used to be that bunnies were a pest problem, but due to their cuteness, I sacrificed my plants to keep them around. They are now the scarcity. These days, plants grow only to be dug up and peed on, and all summer long the entire area has reeked of ammonia because my backyard has not only become a buffet table for the local housecats, but also a litter box.

For years I’ve battled with the lady across the street, who has three cats that she heaves out the front door the second she arrives home from work each evening, and they remain outside until the next morning when she leaves for work again. Why she has cats, I don’t know. This spring, a new family moved in on the block, and they have a humongous grey cat that is far worse than the three across the street, for she is always outside, day and night, and she seems to have chosen the sanctity of my backyard, which is full of evergreens and my beloved weeping cherry tree, as her home. She has torn holes in the screen door from the outside from climbing it over and over to catch bugs, as well as used my arbor and bench as a scratching post. She climbs the arbor and uses it to launch herself onto the trees to catch birds, or she will use it as a ladder to get to the windows on the second floor, where she meows teases my dog. The yard is full of holes she’s dug, plants she’s eaten, and cat waste, not to mention the corpses of dead animals she hasn’t consumed or deposited on the front steps of houses nearby. It’s a constant battle with the hose to get her out of the yard, but she returns once she dries off and forgets that I can and will hose her whenever I see her.

On top of all that, she drives my dog apeshit. I am not exaggerating when I say that he will destroy furniture and eat anyone who gets between him and this cat, and taking him outside just to pee requires a lookout and quick canvassing of the area to see if the cat is nearby, because if she’s close and he spots her, he’s going to take you for a ride while he tries to get to her. It’s going to be hard to prove that the waste in the backyard is hers and not the dog’s, but I know that it is simply too dangerous to take him in the backyard at all, and he hasn’t been back there since the cat took over in late spring. My poor pooch can’t spend time outside at all anymore because of her, even leashed, and that’s unfair to him, as well as all the others on the block who have been fighting with this cat’s owner about keeping her cat inside.

It’s good to know the law is on my side, though. At least according to the village and the police department, I do have recourse. Perhaps talking to the cat owners will suffice, otherwise there will be traps in my yard and the cats will be going to the local shelter. Post haste!

Because I have a blue jay now. Or at least I did this morning.


Travelin' Tracy said...

That is terrible...I will get a cage too and I even like cats. However, I like the fact that I have an indoor cat and she does not pillage on anyone's things!

Anonymous said...

please before you get traps and take the cats to the shelter, where they face almost cetain death, consider getting something like this:

I work in cat rescue, and you should definitely get the police to talk to those people about keeping their cats indoors and consider getting something like the above. Millions of cats are killed every year, and this can at least keep them out of your yard without having them euthanized.

Happy Villain said...

I love cats, too, and have had cats my entire life until I got my dog 4 years ago, but like you and most good pet owners, my cats stayed inside and didn't destroy other people's property or kill massive amounts of local wildlife just for the thrill of it.

Thanks for the advice, but I don't hate cats and I don't want these cats to die. In fact, I don't want anything to die. I don't even kill bugs. If I do the traps, you can rest assured that I have looked into the repercussions and the cats would be taken to the local no-kill shelter. If the owners decided to claim the cats and take them back, they'd have to pay a fee for each cat or the cats will stay and be adopted out to other families who will treat their animals better. We (everyone on the block) have tried to reason with these cat owners. There have even been screaming fights out in the street, in fact. One neighbor collects the dead birds on the block and puts them all inside the storm door of the grey cat owners house each morning. I don't think a talk with the police will do anything, but that's where we're starting. Traps will come next, but that's because the dead-bird-collecting neighbor is threatening to poison the cats, so trust me, the traps are probably the best possible solution here. But really, thanks for the advice.