Wednesday, 15 June 2011

King of the Wild Countreee

I live in what is described as a quaint, attractive village. It has a number of properties that date from the 13th Century and there are residential properties that have their origins around the late 1500's. Some even have their `Priest's Hole` from times when Roman Catholic Priests were hiding from the authorities.  (Wonder what they'd been up to? - again? Huh, priests holes - best have them blocked up for safety's sake, I'd say).  So far, this year, there have been four reported crimes in the area, one of which was the theft of a disabled driver`s car badge. We are living on our nerves out here.

But the behaviour of just one or two arsepipes living in this lovely little village has turned me into a predator, a hunter, a man so ruthless that my recent exploits (known only to a very small, select group of local people) are said to rival those highwaymen and villains of English Folklore that once prowled the country. I'm not talking of the likes of `Dick Turpin of Hounslow Heath`, `Sir Wilfred Death of Cumberland` or even `Mad Gerald of Chipping Sodbury`, oh no, my antics are said to exceed even those of that most feared of all ancient Britons (and small parted Black Adder villain),  yes I am now spoken of as the reincarnation of `Unspeakably Violent Jack, the bull-buggering beast killer of no fixed abode`. Why? You may well ask. Read on.

 For the last 6 months we have been plagued by a night stalker. He entered our house whilst we were asleep. On those occasions when our  Jack Rascal Terrorist was a bit slow on the uptake (kipping on the job) he even managed to get upsstairs. He peed where he wanted to and attacked our two gals - yes he was a bloody un-neutered tom cat. After washing down the walls and floor with biological washing powder we managed to eradicate the stink, but of course this wasn't tackling the problem at source because this guy was totally hormone driven which, as those of us with hormones know, over rides all other instinct. We needed to nail those hormones, or in this case cut the buggers off.  As I used to say in my previous career, we need to stop getting all out of breath fighting alligators and become swamp drainage engineers instead. I am an animal lover, I love dogs, like cats, watch birds and all the wildlife I can clap my eyes on, but I will quickly fall out with any of the aforementioned if it wakes me up, breaks into my house and pisses on my furniture and this ginger devil had done this once too often, so I got to work.

Like all good plans one first needs to gather all the information one can and so I appointed an `Intelligence Officer` - that was me. I conducted house to house enquiries, starting with the nearest first. In a matter of an hour I had discovered that this anti-social behaviour had been going on for over a year and over almost a quarter mile radius. Neighbours I was previously just on nodding terms with, regaled me with horror stories involving their cats being attacked and injured and their homes similarly violated. All of the feline victims had become nervous wrecks and their previously idyllic lifestyle had turned into one of constant vigilance through fear of surprise attack. Several hundred pounds worth of veterinary bills had also been incurred and these poor folks were approaching that sad place known as `wit's end`. My enquiries then took me to our local parish councillor, whom I know well. He informed me that he had been at `wit's end` himself for some time over this but gave me a useful piece of intelligence. (Note: `intelligence` is different from `information`). 
There was a problem `couple` in our community.

I said `couple` but this pair divorced, but then applied for, and were granted, a council flat each, next door to each other. They continued to socialise together, drinking in the local pubs and catching the bus into town for shopping trips. Try as I might, the thought of me socialising with my ex wife is not something that even my vivid imagination can conjure up, so I just wonder what the hell that is all about? Anyone got any ideas? Is it a fiddle of some sort? Do asylum seekers or illegal immigrants get this sort of service as well? Anyhow, this odd non-couple ( basically a villain and his ex who  managed to grow old)  encouraged cats from all over by throwing out food scraps, including chicken bones and carcasses, into the grounds of their accommodation and turned once beautifully kept gardens into something the councillor described as a tip. Cats multiply and become a recipe for local discord, not to mention the damage and distress caused to the poor bloody cats themselves, scavanging for food from all and sundry. When challenged by council officers these wasters deny ownership, but all the information points to them being responsible - and there it stops. Despite the tenancy agreement restricting them to one `pet` they have created, by their irresponsible behaviour, a growing pack of semi-feral felines and despite the existence of the councils enforcement officers, `nothing can be done`, at least by the council, that is.

My next step was to contact the RSPCA for advice. I left telephone messages and sent e mails, but not a word did I hear from the great society. 2 months later, still nothing, not even an acknowledgement. So RSPCA gets my thumbs down. I then contacted Cats Protection and they were kind enough to provide me with advice, a cat trap and a friendly local vet's address. All I had to do was trap the beast and convey him to the vet where they'd scan him for an i/d chip, blood test him and do the necessary. Doddle. 

D-Day, 2245hrs. The trap was placed in the garden and baited. None of your cheapo cat grub for this Mr Tinkles. He was going to be seduced by the aroma of a single, glistening Glenryk Pilchard in tomato sauce MMMmmm, so irresistable I almost helped myself.  I locked up our catflap to keep our own two hungry buggers away from the fishy treat and then got ready for bed, but before I'd even stripped off there was the metallic clank of a cell door slamming shut and lo, there was my prey, a strapping, spitting cussing ginger Tom. I covered up the trap and placed it in the garage so he could settle down with his last pilchard at my expense. 9am the next day and I was walking through the door of the vet. Cats Protection was covering the cost. Five hours later and I received a call to my mobile. The vet nurse broke the news gently, that crazy red was no more. Sadly, he had tested positive for FIV (feline AIDS) and was put to sleep. A sad end. When I collected the trap the vet told me about this nasty infection and I told him the history of the recently departed Mr Tom. He told me that it was possible all the other cats in his hareem would be infected, said that I had done our little community a big service and asked if I could catch a few more as they posed a risk to all the other domestic cats. Personally, I'd had enough and returned the trap and collected my safety deposit. We had undisturbed sleep every night for the next two weeks, but that ended abruptly last Sunday.

Our village, as expected, has several `Sons of Ginge` because at 2am the Jack Rascal, on the job and alert this time, stood-to and his woofin` and a snarlin` jolted us awake. We staggered out of bed into the hall, just as a younger version of the raider of the lost ark flew down the stairs and dived through the catflap, pursued by the JRT intent on...something....but we would never know what because no self respecting cat gets caught by a dog and certainly not one with legs as short as ours. I expected this might happen, I just didn't think it would be so soon. He must have been on previous raids as the masters apprentice. Thankfully there was no pee spraying this time and the next morning I was back onto to Cat Protection for another loan of a trap. Two nights ago, at 0300hrs to be precise, the young pretender went the same way as his late relative, straight for the pilchard (in tomato sauce) and thereafter into captivity. The next day I went in to the garage and saw that he was a cute little guy, a wee bit scared and a lot bit feisty. Down the vets we went and again I waited for the phone call. It came at 4.30pm. He tested negative so they whipped his nuts off but would have to hand him back to me and I in turn would have to release him from whence he came because although he had no owner, there was no way he could be re-homed by either me, Cat Protection (who were full to overflowing) or anywhere else, for I had also tried to rustle up a home for these poor creatures I was nabbing. I took him down a leafy lane near to where he hung out and opened the cage. He trotted up the lane and straight into the grounds of his council flats, better off for his experience and a few ounces lighter. Un-neutered tom cats have a life expectancy of less than five years due to fighting over territory, so at  least he won't have that to worry about.

My grateful neighbours have bought me thank you cards and I even got a nice bottle of Italian wine. I got no satisfaction over this, I just feel sorry for the cats. As for the two wasters who caused all this trouble over a wide area, they neither know nor care what's been happening, or how they have cost good people a lot of time and money taking injured cats to the vets, possibly having been infected with FIV and how, once again, someone else puts in the effort and picks up the tab whilst they complain to the council about how long its taking to have their roof re-tiled and double glazing fitted. But at least I dont live near these diseases.

My son sent me a text message today saying, "Hey Dad, you're getting good at this cat trapping, you should start a business". My reply: "I'm having the next one made into a hat. Just call me `Kitty Crockett`.


headless said...

Dear Hogday. We have much the same problem (as with the cat - not the locals).

Maybe however your problem could be resolved by a larger trap and something other than pilchards as bait. Tennants Extra, maybe?

Conan the Librarian™ said...

I was going to comment on a similar anecdote but it kept expanding as I remembered details; it's worth a post in itself!

Good to see your terrorist redeemed himself.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Headless: LoL and welcome! Yes, maybe I can get the French version, with large angled blade?? Good luck with your own solution!

Conan: I wonder what the great William Wallace would have done?

Hogdayafternoon said...

Headless: A P.S. from me, I just saw your blog profile - we are looking to move and to return to my ancestral home of East Anglia, but having heard of your cat problem.......

Conan the Librarian™ said...

He would have made sword belts out of their hides.

Or did you mean the cats?

Suz said...

Oh, good Lord! Marauding Toms are bad enough outdoors, but to waltz right in and pee all over your house??? As much as I like cats, I'm not sure I'd have been as patient as you were.

Your village might be well served to band together and quietly make life very uncomfortable for two very special neighbors.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Conan: :))

Suz: Yes, I agree that this would be the old traditional way of dealing with a little matter of `antisocial behaviour`. In my days as a local village bobby, I used to apply the old `run `em out of town` approach, although not literally as we just don't do that anymore. I just used to make them wish they could run themselves out of town, until they learnt that if they played ball, I could be a pleasant peacekeeper as well as a royal p.i.t.a. Some people just don't got it though.

Sage said...

So funny reading this especially your description of the JRT ;-) xx

Hogdayafternoon said...

Sage: Bet stray cats don't last long down your way - Pussy Pasties, yummy!

TonyF said...

Chicken Fried cat? Loverly!

Anonymous said...

I find a deer hound x greyhound lurcher and a jack russel terrier are a fine combination in cat pest prevention.
Only downside is when they catch the buggers, a tad messy if you get my drift.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I had a 27 pound Siamese Tom from 1981 to 1995. Tristan was almost as big as a Bobcat. He was also the most laid back animal I have ever met. All he asked for out of life was a quiet place to lie in the sun, and 12 square meals a day.

Since he was so liad back, he requested, and recieved cooperation from all the other cats in the nieghborhood. I would see him actually break up fights, as the noise bothered him, and as his claws were the size of cashews, the other cats would pay him heed. He would sometimes sit on the ones that didn't listen the first time, ( remember, the average cat wieghs 7 pounds, and Triss wieghed 27). When he purred, it sounded like a idling diesel.

But nasty, evil feral cats, well, there is always the M&P15-22.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Great cat!
And a good recommend, too. (The guy who wrote this review was a man I used to occasionally work with in weapon training).

Anon: Ditto. I could get used to this.

Too many NAAFI's and Far East postings have damaged you, sir!

TonyF said...

Well, I didn't know it was Tiddles and Fido... Well not until after the environmental health people had paid them a visit. Tasty too, but it did leave us with funny tummies. Apparently it was all the 'Bob Martins'. Still and all, my hair was great!

powdergirl said...

Do you not have any coyotes in your neck of the woods? They are excellent stray cat control. They also eat your pets if you're not careful, so care is taken, but strays? We don't gottem!
And thats an *absolutely!!!* to buying the missus a drink at The Grateful Fed! : D

Hogdayafternoon said...

But the wet nose?

No coyotes in the UK :) 2012 for the brew. Word verification today = butightia :O what an omen.

Anonymous said...

This tale might be good enough to save Readers' Digest! We have recently upgraded to a Labrador deterrent system.