The Responsibility For Cat Poop
My sister and I still laugh our heads off when we reminisce about our childhood days and how our mom would rid the backyard of dookies left by our family dog: she went around with a garden trowel, scooping up poop and flinging it over the fence onto the busy road on the other side. Occasionally we would hear someone honk their horn, angry that dog poop fell from the sky onto their car.
Well, if you were to look in my backyard today, you would see piles of cat dookies in my flowerbeds. And once, I found a furball's present left on our back door step. You would think I own a cat, but I don't!
Images of my mother and her solution to the dog poop bring a smile to my face as I imagine flinging the cat poop over the fences onto our cat-owning neighbors' yards. No... that wouldn't be nice. So, I decided to write this poop report instead.
For three or four years, we've had a sandbox in our yard for our kids to play in. I've warned them with hellfire, damnation, and eternally losing their sandbox if they did not keep it covered when they weren't playing in it. But every summer for the past three or four years, they forgot to cover it, and all it would take was one night without its cover to become a kitty-litter box. So we'd have to find a way to dispose of the contaminated sand, disinfect the box and toys, and refill with new sand -- a real pain in the patootie!
A few years ago, my older child came inside from playing in the sandbox to tell me his fingers smelled like poop. Yeah, you guessed it: he forgot the sandbox cover the night before, a kitty found it, and his fingers found the poop -- so gross!!
Yet I just don't have the heart to deprive my kids of a beloved backyard activity. So I decided that this year, I will have to invest in a motion-activated sprinkler to guard the sandbox from cats. It just fries me to no end that I must take the responsibility to keep cats out of my yard, when it really should be the cat owner's responsibility to do so. That's just not right.
If you own an outside cat, you would have to be extremely naive to think that your cat doesn't wander into neighboring yards to do its business. A dog owner who allowed his dog to do that would probably not get away with it for long -- and rightly so. I wouldn't want neighbors' dog poop in my yard any more than I would their cats. But why is it okay for cat owners to do this?
I've thought about talking to my neighbors, but I really don't know how to do so without causing tension. Other than their outside cats, they are nice neighbors. I've thought about trapping the cats that come into our yard and taking them to the pound, but knowing my luck they'd probably see me loading their cats into my car. But here again -- why is it my problem to take care of my neighbors' cats? Why must I buy devices to keep them away? Why must I buy traps to trap them and take them to the pound, or put up with the poop? The answer is, it shouldn't be my responsibility or come at my cost to contain someone else's cat.
So: if you are a neighbor who owns an outside cat, please consider the effects on your neighbors because of your decisions. I know I'm not the only one in this neighborhood who is upset about this problem. Please consider finding a way to keep your cat on your property, whether that means you need to keep your cat in your house or get an invisible fence system. Either way, the inconvenience and the cost should be yours and not your neighbors'. Otherwise, you might have neighbors who like my mom's solution to getting rid of poop in their yards...