Over the last few years we have had a problem with an unwelcome intruder.
A strikingly ginger cat, just like the one that lives next door.
We had seen the cat in our gardens (front and back) quite often, and seen it in the garden next door too
We ignored the problem for the first couple of weeks, but after a while we noticed the house started to smell of cat urine.
And we strongly suspected the source of the problem wasn’t any of our four cats.
So after a lot of research I bought and fitted a microchip-reading catflap.
You know the kind of thing; an entry-controlling device that only permits access to those cats it has been programmed to allow.
Being responsible pet-owners all four of our cats are microchipped, so after a spot of switching the thing into program-mode and posting our cats through the catflap, we were in business.
Almost immediately the cat urine problem went away (after we’d cleaned through the house very thoroughly, obv).
But my point here is that the smell of cat urine never came back.
Fast forward 18 months and that smell problem had still not reoccurred.
In an unconnected series of events we got a dog at that time.
This didn’t prove to be the problem we thought it might be.
At first the puppy was small enough to use the cat flap, so we felt smug.
We still saw the suspected intruder in the garden (both front and back), but a cat from the neighbourhood roaming the garden is one thing.
A cat from the neighbourhood using the inside of your house as a public convenience is a (completely unacceptable) something else.
Around six or seven months later, it started to become obvious that the dog was getting too large for the catflap.
So I did a lot more research.
Microchip-reading dogflaps don’t exist.
I did wonder why; didn’t learn the answer until very recently.
Faced with not being able to buy what I wanted, I took a risk and bought the largest-sized chip-reading catflap on the market.
With the new flap fitted, and all four cats and a puppy posted through it, we continued being secure from the intruding feline urinator, whilst allowing our growing menagerie unrestricted ingress and egress
About four months later another puppy rocked up.
And with that new puppy, the answer to the question of why there are no dogflaps that are microchip-readers also arrived:
The pace that the older of the two puppies bashed through the catflap was so fast that the chip-reader didn’t have time to activate.
Not wanting to cause the dog any injury, or the panel on the door any damage, I deactivated the chip reader.
What happened next?
The smell of strange cat happened, followed not much later by the smell of cat urine, that’s what happened next.
Then we noticed pee-stains on our furniture downstairs.
And on our brand new super king-sized bed upstairs.
The urine in the bed was so bad it had penetrated all layers of bed-linen and duvet, plus the topper, and stained the brand-new mattress.
Cost of replacing the mattress: £1,000.
This was no longer an intruding cat, peeing in random places and making everything smell.
This was now much more than an inconvenience. This had become a very serious problem.
I wanted to identify the source of the problem so I bought a day/night webcam.
The first night it was installed it told me two things.
Firstly, that our cats are in and out of the catflap so often, while we’re asleep, it’s almost a revolving door.
Secondly, that the source of the prolific cat wee is indeed the ginger cat from next door.
I emailed our neighbour, briefed them on the problem and attached the photograph.
The response was unusual, to say the least.
I paraphrase their email but it can be condensed as: ‘One cat, oh you’ve got it so lucky, we had a problem with six cats in our house and anyway I can’t be sure that is our cat and have you thought of getting a chip-reading catflap?’
I’m not unreasonable, I know there’s very little they can do, apart from keeping their cat indoors 24/7, and that’s not what I was suggesting.
Since then I have been using the motion-detecting webcam to continue monitoring the situation.
The unwelcome urinator is in our house for an average of four hours a night; doing, amongst other things, urinating, eating any cat food in our cat bowls, and jumping up on our kitchen work-surfaces/breakfast bar (things we don’t allow our own cats to do), and stealing food from there.
Despite all of this evidence, there is, as I’ve said, nothing the neighbours can do, short of denying their cat any freedom to roam.
And it isn’t freedom to roam that I have a problem with; my problem is the litany of things that the cat gets up to in our house.
Being a practical person, I am now working out a plan of taking matters into my own hands.
I’m going to lay a mattress inside the front door (the catflap is in the rear door and within clear line of sight), and I’m going to lie in wait for the intruder.
With my rifle.
And when the urinating cat comes in the house, I shall dispatch it.
Of course, there are a number of things that need careful consideration before I take such action.
These things aren’t as simple as just pulling the trigger.
My extensive marksmanship experience reminds me that 130 ft/lbs of energy propelling ammunition of 14.3 grain at 900 ft/second is going to cross the 37 feet distance between the end of the muzzle and the cat’s brain at X.
A cat’s brain is approximately the size of a small satsuma.
Therefore, as well as X, I need to factor in distance of trajectory plus slight downward gravitational pull of Y.
Fortunately, wind isn’t going to be a factor; shooting indoors is so much simpler than shooting outdoors.
Another consideration, when I’m setting up the shot, is angle.
If I’m angling too low, I risk damaging the floor, and this cat has already cost us enough money.
Similarly, if I’m angling too high, I risk quite a lot of splatter against the kitchen door, from the exit wound.
But if I can get the cat’s head and body in a perfectly straight line , running parallel to the ground, the chances of any exiting collateral damage are negligible.
Then there’s disposal.
As the neighbours have effectively said the intruder doesn’t belong to them, I don’t suppose they would want the carcass.
So I’m going to ring the local hunt; they’ll have a practical use for a clean-killed, unpoisoned cat; nothing will go to waste.
I don’t think I have anything else to consider.
Oh yes, noise. A gun report might wake someone upstairs.
So I’m going to fit a long-barrelled suppressor to the rifle.
And night-vision telescopic sights, to ensure total accuracy.
That should take care of everything.
There’s no crime of cruelty being committed here; a clean kill is so much kinder than anything else that comes to mind.
Don’t you think?