Finally On-Line Again

After a bit less than a month's wait our new house is finally on-line! The winter of our off-line discontent dissolvèd made glorious broadband summer. So far only at 11 Mbps when we were promised at least 12, but the ADSL modem isn't currently on the first phone socket, so I hope to eventually be able to squeeze some more bandwidth out of the setup.

I now face the slight problem of how our desktop machine will interface with the modem in the long term. I was planning on going wireless to eliminate cables, but so far the USB dongle I bought for the purpose isn't working very well. When it works at all it's only giving me 6 Mbps, and I don't know if there's a linux driver for it. But I'll figure it out.

In other news, portly eunuch Shitty Arnie has taken a bad whipping from one of the other neighbourhood cats and walks with a limp. The psycho feline bit off two of the claws on Arnie's right-hand hind paw! It's a rough 'hood, apparently. I have taken to throwing shoes at other cats who venture into our yard, just to give Shitty Arnie some breathing room. Alas, I have yet to hit one of the trespassers.

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The best known deterrent for cats is a two part aproach:

First is to mark the obvious entry points with urine. Plain old human urine works pretty well. Every week, and after rains, piss into an old tin can and hit all the usual entry points with a good splash. No need to use enough to produce a detectable odor for human noses. Cat noses are much more sensitive. The cats think your a rally big predator who cares about his territory and take this as having been warned.

Second is to provide a strong aversive stimulus. Cats don't like two things: water and anything on their coats. So a Supersoaker loaded with plain tap water with a small amount of sudzy ammonia added makes an effective agent. The detergent in the water allows the water and ammonia to soak into the fur instead of rolling off. The combination of the ammonia and detergent keeps the cat from licking itself clean and the slight ammonia content is highly offensive to the sensitive cat nose. They desperately want to get it off them. Unable to clean or stand themselves they emerge after a few days ragged and unkept. From what I can tell, often with signs of PTSD like a nervous tick and an exaggerated startle response. Which, in a cat, can be quite impressive. Someone slammed a door and the cat levitated three feet vertically, came down running so fast that it ran into a wall stunning itself before shaking it off and taking off in another random direction.

This would be like getting sprayed by a skunk and then kept from washing it off. It drives the cats nuts and provides a strong and memorable aversive stimulus. Lady down the street, who told me about it, used it and the cats simply refuse to go near her house. Even when pursued by dogs they avoid the place.

It is probably considered cruel and inhumane, perhaps illegal, but, from what I can tell it works so I'll leave it to you to decide if and when to resort to any such action. I pretty much get by with marking posts and chasing them off but might resort to stronger measures if I was forced. It is always good to have options and chemical warfare is still easier on them than the guy down the way who shoots them with a .22RF.

You know, your cat's name is better translated "Poopy Arnie" which has a more juvenile tone than "shitty".

Something that resemles feces, whether in smell or other aspects, would probably be considered to be inferior in a general sense.

I, too, was going to recommend machine-gun-sized squirt guns on intruder kitties, but with water only, or, failing that, a smidgeon of something edible but really stinky, like old cabbage juice, moldy cheese, or vinegar -- not ammonia. Probably a good soaking this time of year would be discouragement enough. And for your kitty-cat's name, I'd suggest a mild switch to Dunce-Arnie to imply low intelligence rather than the contents of potties, or Boo-boo-Arnie to imply lots of mistakes made. The one you're using would get your mouth washed out with soap around here. But since you're out of reach of my soap bar, it's up to you, my dear. So is your kitty. And he probably won't answer to whatever you call him anyhow. So it's all moot, isn't it?

By DianaGainer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

These cats most likely are not eunuchs. The best way to handle them is to convert them.

Get some live-animal traps, catch them, and take them to the vet. Have them neutered, give them all their shots, and then release them where you caught them.

And send the bill to the owner, if you can find them.

If this is legal in Sweden. IMO it ought to be everywhere.

By Riman Butterbur (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

A catapult (slingshot) is a lot of fun. You don't have to hit the cat, just score a satisfying thwack on a nearby tree, fence panel or (best) a sheet of corrugated iron.

You can also make a useful electric fence from a 6v battery, an old mains transformer and a slow-running electronic switch...

By Charles Butcher (not verified) on 29 Jan 2009 #permalink