|'Anti-Cat' by Papillon Perfumery|
"I would love to be cultivated by such a cute cat!"
The following exchange ensued - oh, that I had paid attention to the warnings contained within...
Jane: "This one could be staking you out...;)"
Gary: "A lot of feral cats have taken to wearing dinky little bells, just to get inside a trusting human's house and wreak HAVOC."
Jane: "Yep, sneaky little buggers they are..."
Gary: "The only way to be sure is to shave it and check for tattoos."
Jane: "I have tattoos but, sadly, no bell. ;) "
Gary: "Me too, loads of them, but I'm not trying to get into Vanessa's house and wreak HAVOC."
Jane: "That's what you are saying in public..."
Gary: "You can tell by his eyes that his focus in life is to soil some Farrow & Ball..."
Vanessa: "F & B desecration?!! Right, that moggy may not last the week if that is true."
|Truffle surveys the double decker interlopers|
Three years later, I was a cat owner again, and Tootsie was displaced as the Top Cat in the neighbourhood, who could claim every house and its garden as his own. It didn't stop him still trying to claim them though, and he became an ever more regular visitor to the garden, engaging in long, malevolent staring matches with Truffle from the safety of a high wall. Soon the situation escalated, and Tootsie would come into the house and steal Truffle's food, have a crafty p**s behind the kitchen door, and take a passing pot shot at Truffle if she happened to be about. Once, when I was away for a week, Tootsie managed to bludgeon his way into the house despite the cat flap being locked, and stayed there long enough to soil - not anything Farrow & Ball as such(!) - but several layers of bedding all the way through to the mattress. Months later, I found his unexpected calling card of a fossilised poo under the bed...
And there was worse to come...more recently, Tootsie bit a chunk out of Truffle's ear during a particularly vicious fight. When I confronted him outside - trying to make myself look as fierce as possible by screwing up my face into an expression of pure hatred, whilst waving a lump of wood in an agitated fashion in his general direction - Tootsie shot me a look of withering derision, his eyes as urinous as the puddle he had not long left on the utility floor. Then he lunged at the bit of wood with a dismissive swipe of his paw, and sauntered back along the wall, with an insolent swagger that was as defiant as it was maddening.
|Truffle's 'cloven' ear|
I happened to mention my bother with cat incursions to Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery, with whom I have periodic exchanges via Messenger. Well, no one in Perfume Land knows more about animal matters than Liz(!), and she promptly offered to make me up a cat-repelling potion to deter Tootsie from trespassing in future. Ideally, I should get close enough to spray his fur with the disgusting liquid - a mix of hyraceum (as used in Salome, but only in trace amounts!) and civet. It was designed to fool the cat into thinking it had had a brush with another - big, scary, but not quite identifiable - predator. Failing that, I was to spray the wall or other familiar routes Tootsie used to enter the garden with the mixture, thus creating a similar, if more ambient, impression.
The 'Anti Cat' remedy, as Liz had dubbed it, smelt truly ghastly. I diluted it and put it in a spray bottle, and soon had my first opportunity to try squirting it at Tootsie as he ran away down the garden. Unfortunately the trigger mechanism jammed at the key moment, and if Tootsie had thought to look back at this point and note my disarray, he would surely have uttered a disdainful guffaw at my technical malfunction.
In fairness that bottle had only cost a quid in Wilko or something, so the next time I was in Lidl I popped into Wickes and picked up a more heavy duty-looking receptacle for a fiver. Slight overkilll, given the quantity of Anti-Cat in question(!), but I sensed the nozzle wouldn't let me down, and so it proved.
I didn't have long to wait before I found Tootsie in the corridor leading to the back door one night, and promptly locked the cat flap to cut off his line of retreat. Tootsie proceeded to head butt the flap in annoyance, giving me ample opportunity to spray his back thoroughly in Anti-Cat. I was careful to avoid his head, as that might have been a cruel and unusual punishment too far - I was sorely tempted, mind. With Tootsie now well wetted, I opened the flap and he scarpered sharpish, suitably freaked out by the foul smell of his own furry person.
Sadly, as happened that time Truffle fell through the hole in next door's garage roof, only to do the exact same thing again a couple of days later, cats have short memories, and Tootsie seems to have forgotten all about his unpleasant ordeal, and is as much of a pest as ever. Many thanks to Liz for concocting this stinky potion though - it was certainly worth a try!
(On a more fragrant note, the latest release from Papillon Perfumery, Dryad (review here) is due to be released on July 10th.)