60706thumbAnyone who has ever owned a cat knows that no one owns a cat. They do whatever they want to do, whenever and however they want to do it. They take orders from no one. If they decide to use a dry spot in the garden as their litterbox, or a tree trunk as their scratching post, it is impossible to dissuade them. They are so smug and arrogant. It is no wonder that so many dogs dislike them.

Cats live in our homes and gardens because we are not as sensible as so many dogs are. We succumb to their charm and devious mind control techniques because they really can be adorable when they want to be. Fortunately, most of us would agree that this sort of symbiosis is mutually beneficial. An occasional delivery of a dead rodent proves that some cats actually work for a living.

As pompous as cats are, they are surprisingly tactful about their poop. Cats that are confined to a home leave it in their litterboxes, and even bury it with kitty litter that absorbs the objectionable aroma. From there, it can be collected and disposed of by human servants. In the garden, cats seem to put considerable effort in burying it out of the way, where it is less likely to offend anyone.

However, what is out of the way to a cat might not be so conveniently situated for others. The most refined and regularly watered gardens might not leave many options for cats, who prefer dusty and dry spots. There is not much to deter cats; so the best option may be to plant and occasionally water something in problematic spots, in conjunction with providing a litterbox somewhere else.

Sneaky cats sometimes use flat or parapet roofs where there is plenty of dry gravel and perhaps other dry detritus. For most single story roofs, it is nearly impossible to obstruct access; but in rare situations, it might be as simple as pruning trees and shrubbery back farther than cats will jump. Obstruction of access to the dusty dry soil of basements and crawlspaces is easier since it usually involves relatively simple repair of vent screens, access hatches or windows.

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20 thoughts on “Cats Do What Cats Want

  1. Never mind the litter box, they much prefer the neighbour’s garden. I seem to provide facilities for all the neighbouring cats. All nicely buried of course, waiting for me to come along weeding without my gloves on. They might catch rodents but they also hoover up the baby birds. If we were a bit smaller and they were a bit bigger, they’d eat us too.

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  2. Very cute post, Tony! Sometimes one of my cats mistook (?) the patio gravel for litter. It has to have been one of the two who passed away, probably Calvin. I’d happily put up with a patio surprise if only that feline friend were still around.

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  3. So true! Dogs have owners, cats have slaves, as the saying goes. I’d much rather have an independent cat with a bit of personality than a needy dog any day. I wouldn’t be without ours. That said, ours are indoor cats so any little surprises I find buried in the garden are courtesy of our neighbours’ feline friends 😃.

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    1. I suppose. I am none too keen on cats, but even I will cater to them. I certainly will not argue with them. The two feral cats who lived at home tended to the rodents. So does the feral cat here.

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  4. My Dixie Rose was fastidious to the very end — a quality for which I was grateful. Still, I didn’t know about their preferences for dry and dusty. I’m passing that on to a friend who still has outdoor cats.

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  5. Fun post. We used to have a cat who was pretty good about using the litter box, but very badly behaved in many other ways. When we went around inspecting the garden, she would always pose in front of whatever plant we were looking at. We’re thinking about getting a pair of kittens when we retire, but we will try to keep them inside.

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    1. The cats at my home were supposedly feral, but decided that they wanted to live in my home instead. There were two, and they did it at the same time. They always seemed annoyed that I lived there.

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