Over the years, I've shared my home with three cats. The first two were little angels. Or, maybe I just remember them that way, now that they've passed on. But my new kitty, "Music", is a little devil. We should have named him "Mischief" instead. It's his greatest delight to knock things over, causing all kinds of damage and mayhem. But the most annoying thing he does is get into all of the silk plants and tear them to shreds, leaving bits of leaves and branches scattered throughout the house. Of course he doesn't do these things when I'm home and can properly yell at him. He waits until he's alone in the house, then when I come home hours later, it's too late for any kind of discipline.
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Desperate, I decided to try a repellent spray, with the hopes that I could make the silk plants "unattractive" to him. Hartz makes a spray called "Help! Stay Off Training Aid". It'a an aerosol spray with a scent that is supposed to repel dogs and cats. You're supposed to use it on furniture, or in your garden, anywhere you want to repel the pets.
How does it work? Well it only has one active ingredient: Methyl nonyl ketone. What is that? It is an oily liquid that is manufactured synthetically, but which is also found naturally in some fruits. Because of its strong odor, its primary use is in insect and animal repellents. This product uses a 2% concentration.
The directions couldn't be easier. Spray. That's about it. Of course there are the usual precautions about testing a small area first for colorfastness. And, it states quite clearly not to use it directly on leaves, shrubs or ornamental plants. It suggests an alternative, in those cases, of spraying on a cloth, then hanging the cloth near the plant. However, it doesn't say anything about silk plants so I bravely went ahead and sprayed it directly on a plant and vase in my dining room that Music seems particularly attracted to.
So what happened?
Well, the humans in the household went running from the dining room very quickly. This stuff smells HORRIBLE. I can't even describe how bad it is, except to say that my husband and I considered tossing the whole vase outside (which, of course, would have been another way to solve the problem in the first place). Instead, we decided just to keep away from the dining room and hope the smell doesn't last too long at its initial intensity. Sure enough, it fairly quickly dissipates. So that after a couple hours, you'd have to actually get near the plant and sniff it to detect the odor. Which, I suppose, is how it is designed to work. A pet is supposed to walk up to the plant, sniff it, and walk away.
So what did Music do? He walked up to the plant, sniffed it, and started licking the vase!!! Then he stood up against it and started playing with the foliage, just like always. It is safe to say that this product did NOT work as intended. Not with Music, anyway. The humans, however, are quite repelled by the scent. I have since tried it a few other times, always with the same result. The humans run, gagging, and the cat continues to play with the plants. I'm fairly certain that Music finds this whole thing quite amusing.
Our final solution has been to move some of the plants out of his reach, get rid of others, and leave only the ones that he doesn't bother with.
In the end, this product simply doesn't work in my household. I'm sure there are other animals out there that would be repelled by the scent, but not Music. He doesn't seem put off by the scent at all. As a human-repellent, however, it works quite well.
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