DEAR SUN SPOTS: Help, help! Can anyone out there tell me if there is a spray I could apply to the babies on my spider plant to keep my kitty from eating them?
I can’t spank him, as he thinks I am playing with him, and I don’t want to hurt him.
The minutes my back is turned he grabs on and eats it! It doesn’t bother him, but he is ruining my very large plant.
I would appreciate it if someone, somewhere could help me. Thank you for any help you can give me. — M.G.M., Livermore Falls
ANSWER: Sun Spots thinks you are wise not to spank your kitty. Physical discipline is not a good way to train any animal, but especially not cats.
Plus, your kitty is not really being naughty. Cats are naturally drawn to eating grass and other green things, perhaps to help them bring up hairballs.
You can satisfy your kitty’s need for greenery by growing grass for him to chew on. They have little kits you can buy at pet stores or you can just plant some regular grass seed, but make sure it isn’t treated with pesticides or anything that will hurt him.
You might also want to grow some catnip. Most cats love it, but not all.
As for discouraging your boy from eating your spider babies, there are a few techniques you can try.
Use a small spray bottle or squirt gun to spray him with plain water any time he goes near the plant. At the same time, imitate his mother by making a “thtt” noise, which is what mother cats do to teach their kittens.
Spray the spider plant with a commercial training/avoidance spray. Sun Spots doesn’t have any personal experience with a particular brand, but these products are available at pet stores. An online search shows a great variance in prices, but some are as low as $5 or $6.
One website recommended spraying Bitter Apple or Bitter Orange (there are formulations specifically for use on plants) on the leaves.
Or you can make your own spray by adding a small amount of Tabasco sauce to some water and spraying that on the plant.
Make sure not to spray it when he’s in the way, so it won’t get on his fur. You don’t want to get it in his eyes.
The hot pepper will have the same effect on him as you. One taste should cure him. Make sure he has plenty of fresh water available afterward, so he can drink it away.
Perhaps readers will have suggestions of other techniques that worked well for them.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Winter will soon be upon us and we all know how brutal a Maine winter can be. The volunteers at Tommy’s Feral Felines need to start preparing now to help insure that their kitties can survive the winter. To do this they need a lot of fir and blue spruce boughs.
Tommy’s is a volunteer, no-kill organization which receives no official funding and relies totally on donations and fundraising to do its wonderful work. One of the many things they do is build and maintain shelters in various locations where the cats can find protection from the elements and feed safely. These are formerly domestic cats who through no fault of their own have been left to fend for themselves in the wild.
These shelters are vital to their survival, and the boughs are the perfect material to add an extra layer of warmth and insulation. Tommy’s needs the boughs as soon as possible in order to have time to prepare the shelters for the frigid days coming before we know it.
If you have any boughs or have any suggestions for where Tommy’s could find some, please contact Norm Blais at 207-240-3604 or email him at [email protected]
The kitties will be warm and so will your heart. Thank you. — [email protected]
DEAR SUN SPOTS: We have numerous gladiolus bulbs in assorted colors to give away to anyone willing to pick them up. We would like to spread them out as much as possible for others to enjoy as we have.
Please call to make arrangements for pickup, let us know how many bulbs you would like or if directions are needed. Leave a message if we are not available. — Wales, 207-375-8842
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]