Several years ago, we adopted our cat, Snoopy, from the local animal shelter. She was a very strong-willed feral cat, and there were a few times when we were tempted to give up on her. Now, we wouldn’t part with her for anything.
Probably the biggest obstacle we had to overcome with Snoopy was her tendency to scratch everything except her scratching post, which had been purchased from the local pet shop, especially for her.
She scratched and clawed at windows, walls, doors, bedspreads, curtains, chairs, and anything else that came across her path. I said, “No Snoopy!” so many times in that firm voice all the articles recommended, that my voice almost disappeared, but to no avail. Snoopy kept on scratching.
My newly set out petunias in the garden didn’t stand a chance. Snoopy clawed and dug until they all lay drooping on the ground and died. I was beginning to wonder whether or not having a cat to sit on my lap while I watched TV in the evenings was worth it.
I bought several brands of sprays that were supposed to discourage animals from behaving in such an anti-social manner, but they seemed to have the opposite effect on Snoopy. I wondered if hiring a trainer would work, but I didn’t know where to find one, or if such a person even existed in our small town.
When I replaced the shredded curtains in our living room, for the second time, I watched her like a hawk. If she so much as ventured within 5 feet of the living room window, I screamed, “No, Snoopy!” so loud that my neighbors must have wondered if my husband was beating me. I sprayed the curtains with every cat-proofing concoction known to man. I stationed myself on the sofa near the window so I could swat her with a newspaper if she dared mosey in that direction.
Finally, when the curtains were about a month old, I felt like I could chance leaving them alone in the house with Snoopy while I made a much needed run to the store for groceries.
Not so. When I returned, the curtains were history.
My mother had mentioned that cats don’t like oranges, so I had dutifully chopped up orange rinds and sprinkled them around my new plants, but, as I mentioned before, Snoopy seemed impervious to all plans of attack. I could tell she wasn’t pleased with the orange peels, but the lure of the plants was stronger than her dislike of the orange scent.
We had finally decided that it would probably be wise to take all the doors in the house, store them in the attic, and fold all the curtains away for the remaining life span of this particular cat, when one more idea crossed my mind. Snoopy had reacted unfavorably, at least a tiny bit unfavorably, to the orange rinds. Maybe I could explore that a little further.
The next day, I studied a row of scented room fresheners at the local grocery store. Sure enough, there were several orange ones. I finally settled on one that was made using pure orange oil and rushed home to try it out. An overstuffed chair in the living room was my first stop. One little spray and Snoopy ran out her cat door and was gone for more than an hour.
She had been clawing at our bedroom door to wake us up every morning for a year, and the door was in pretty sad shape so, the next morning, she was unpleasantly surprised with a squirt of orange scent under the door. We heard the pitter patter of little feet rushing down the stairs and out the cat door. She did come back in the house a short time later, but didn’t venture up the stairs for several hours that day.
Now, after several weeks of using the spray here and there, Snoopy has finally decided that scratching and clawing, at least inside the house, isn’t worth smelling orange oil all day. When she forgets, all we have to do is reach for the can and she is out of there.
Gardening time is here again. I can’t wait to see how it works outside.
* The brand of orange scent we used was called Pure Citrus Orange Air Freshener and it is available at most grocery stores.