Patricia A Thorne, Somerset West
In response to GA Liebenberg’s letter regarding cats (“A cat-free yard”, Bolander October 7), I can heartily agree and sympathise with what he has written.
I live on a large estate in central Somerset West, where animals are welcome which in itself is lovely, as we promote the estate as, among other very laudable things, being very family oriented: I so enjoy living here.
But, and it’s a big but; the cats are the bane of my existence.
I don’t have animals anymore, which I don’t miss too much as there are more than enough friendly dogs, lots of birds (I encourage by providing trees and water) and the like to compensate for my loss.
My focus has been on my garden, which is probably about 95% indigenous, and so rewarding. But, even the little fynbos mouse became victim to a cat.
I supplement my store-bought vegetables with home-grown. This, too, is a problem, as the local cats (one has thankfully moved with its owner) made that garden their own.
As an understate-ment, it’s disgusting. They scratch up the newly-planted seedlings and foul the soil to the extent that practically everything has died – my lemon tree is a shadow of its former healthy state.
A respected nurseryman gave me instructions on how to resuscitate the soil (at a fair bit of cost), then to leave it fallow for a year, all the while with wire mesh covering the garden to deter cats.
This year, I removed the mesh, planted the seedlings and hey presto, a cat is back and so the cycle repeats.
What is the solution? Any offers of advice would be gratefully appreciated.
Cat owners should take responsibility for their pets or not keep them in confined spaces like housing estates.
Cats roam and hunt by nature, and nothing will change that. The estate should enforce rules as they do with the dogs and which works well to the benefit of all.
They sadly have a “blind spot” as far as the cats are concerned.
Carol van Reenen,
Well said, hats off to you, I could not have said it better myself.
Perhaps we could start a “Me Too” group and name and shame the cat-owners.
I have suffered the same, plus the additional harassment of watching my bird-feeder being hijacked and the wild birds in my garden that I used to enjoy photographing while they were feeding, being systematically eaten on a daily basis.
I have subsequently stopped enticing them into my garden for the cat’s dinner. It is soul destroying.
What can be done, other than grouping together and standing up for our rights? I am an animal lover and believe in live and let live, so why should the beautiful birds die, and my plants die?
Wherever I have lived in this country, my garden has suffered from neighbours’ cats digging in my soil and using it as a toilet. Never had that problem in the UK, where I stayed for 10 years working as a carer for clients who had cats with litter boxes; it was the done thing to feed the wild birds there, but the cats never caught the birds – they were pampered and well fed.