Monday, June 26, 2006

Father’s Day and Stray Cats

Yesterday wasn’t Father’s Day officially, but it was in our house! The previous Sunday we’d had a house full of guests for our Midwinter Celebration and I’d been too focussed on that, to supervise the drawing of cards and breakfast in bed, so my husband missed out. The children decided that we’d do it this Sunday instead. My daughter insisted on sewing a felt picture of flowers and stars, my son had brought back a picture from school and youngest decided to formally present him with her book of drawings from kindergarten. Then there was a scurrying back and forth between kitchen and bedroom with offerings of a cut up orange, cereal, hot chocolate, toast and honey (which skidded across the plate, in youngest’s enthusiastic delivery, landing honey side down on the duvet of course!). The best present had been that they all woke up late at half past seven, so a lie-in was had by all!

Friends were coming for Sunday lunch, so the leisurely start to the morning was abandoned at 10 o'clock, to running aroung tidying the house, getting the casserole cooking in a slightly snappy mood (I’d started off first thing, by bleary-eyed putting my slipper into some dog poo, in the middle of the kitchen, our elderly dog generously distributing it around the house at night, so my sense of humour was challenged from the start!).

Anyway lunch was achieved, equilibrium restored. Before coffee I go through the playroom in the middle of the house and am hit with a wall of stench – cat spray...yeugh! In the spare bathroom too. Our cats are neutered and generally don’t do this , so I knew it was the ugly stray tom, that is trying to move in. We usually leave the upstairs windows open for our cats to go in and out over the roof, but this gives access to all the open underroof space and I’ve seen him curled up on the insulation there, giving me a “so what are you going to do about it" look. Our cats don’t seem to defend their territory at all, probably being neutered they’re lower in the pecking order and don’t have much say, or possibly they’re saintly Buddhist cats, what’s mine is yours, please help yourself to my food there’s plenty for all. Luckily it’s a sunny day, so we all go for a stroll, as the smell is pervading the whole house by now.

As soon as our friends have left I go onto the internet to find out what to use – mopping with disinfectant had no effect whatsoever. I find a FAQ page full of suggestions ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous – vinegar, peroxide, others saying that home remedies don’t work and you must buy this really expensive product (possibly a vested interest there, seeing as it has a link to the product website) and other weirdos who just seem to enjoy talking about pee and poo. I had to discount all the product recommendations anyway, the chance of finding a shop open here, selling American products on a Sunday afternoon is nil. I went with the vinegar suggestion. 3 parts vinegar to one part water, sploshed onto the area, covered with plastic so it doesn’t evaporate and left overnight. It worked! Hurray! So now I have to do the same in the spare bathroom and we’ll have a sweet smelling house again, a little vinegary perhaps but a heap better. The upstairs windows are closed, our cats have a litter tray at night and I’ll have to be vigilant about him sauntering in through the door in broad daylight, which he may well have the cheek to do, as once he’s in there are too many inaccessible places for him to hide.

In case you think I should be as saintly as our cats and adopt the poor homeless creature, let me explain. Our farm has given homes already to two stray kittens, who managed to produce a family even before we thought they could, so they and two of their offspring live in my sister-in law’s house. Another ginger tom showed up and demanded board and lodging at my other sister-in-law’s house, he was duly neutered but is still pretty full of fight. We have our two London cats and share one of the offspring who likes to eat at both houses. So we are rather cat-full here. With our four dogs, three cats, rabbit and guinea-pig we are a family of fourteen, so I am henceforth repelling all invaders!


  1. I'll have to remember your advice and method for erradicating male feline spray odor. Our little adopted male kitten is almost 3 months now. Anxious to have the snipping operation done. Hopefully it will be in time before this behavior begins!

  2. Oh that cat spray is the WORST smell ever! We used to have a female cat and would notice that cats (even her) would spray the side of our house (on the outside). My husband washed it down with a lemon scented dishwashing detergent (just thinking he was washing it) and it turned out it was a great deterrent. You might make your doors or windows (where the annoying one hangs out) smell a little lemony to keep him away.


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