No Shit Shirley

I have a cat problem.  Or, more accurately, a cat-shit problem.  Every morning, I discover that a neighbourhood cat has made use of the same small corner of my garden for its overnight litter tray.

Now, I am only presuming it is a cat.  I have never actually seen the dead-of-night defecator, and I am not such an ardent naturalist to be able to identify one furry critter’s stool from another.  My crapping culprit could be a fox.  Could be a large squirrel.  Could be a small human.  But, my money is on a cat.

I have no problem with cats per se.  Under most social circumstances, I find their company preferable to otherwise but, when it comes to their freewheeling liberal toilet behaviour I take exception.

What to do?

My mind runs to the extreme; making my garden a virtual no-go zone by constructing a series of cat-size pitfalls, punji sticks and booby traps, which would not do disservice to the Viet Cong, but I realise there are numerous physical and ethical drawbacks to this approach.

Instead, I search online for possible solutions.  Numerous––expensive––cat deterrent devices are available for purchase, but I am not prepared to throw money at the problem.  I want a more natural––inexpensive––solution.  I discover that cats are not particularly keen on certain smells: citrus; coffee.  However, I baulk at the idea of laying on a nice glass of OJ followed by a cup of skinny latte for my feline incontinent intruder, when it seems more like a reward than a punishment.

In the end, I decide upon a compromise between natural integrity and mechanical ingenuity.  A scarecrow.  Or, in this case, a scare-cat.  I call her No Shit Shirley.

400 shirley

It is with a mixture of pride and trepidation that I plant NS Shirley at her allotted sentry post; pride, knowing the gravitas of the task she is undertaking; trepidation of her prospects of surviving the terrors of the long suburban night.

I wake early next morning; rush to the garden to see how Shirley has fared.  There she stands, unscathed, alert and dutiful and, more to the point, faecal-free.

NS Shirley has won her first skirmish, but neither of us are under any illusions.  This is a war of attrition and, for me, the cat, and NS Shirley the battle will continue.

400 shirley face

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree salutes Shirley’s first victory.



  1. […] Avid followers of my writing––will you never learn; there is no such beast (Ed.)––may remember that a couple of years ago my garden was blighted by a nocturnal guest who didn’t adhere to the polite visitor’s adage: take only memories, leave only footprints.  Whatever was invading my territory was leaving behind something considerably more unpleasant than mere footprints.  However, it was a menace that I eventually remedied with the assistance of No Shit Shirley.  […]


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