I love my new garden – i just wish it didn’t come with a gang of neighbourhood cats | Emma Beddington

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I didn’t realise that when I moved to the suburbs I would be pushed into a war with so many felines intent on menacing the birds and my plants

I have been wondering why no one eats the bird seed at the front of the house: my husband has the answer. He recently sent me a picture captioned “This is why”: three muscular cats draped over the wall, inches from my feeders. Seemingly relaxed, they nevertheless project an aura of lazy homicidal menace. I wouldn’t want to walk past them myself, so it’s hardly surprising birds are put off.

I am learning that, when you move to the suburbs, you are allocated a quota of cats. Not your own: just some cats that are now part of your life, like it or not. By my calculations, it’s approximately 1.5 cats per head. We have the front yard gang, plus a sleek black puma-sized one that sits next to my small hens, appraisingly. The vegetable patch also has a cat tenant: a judgmental tabby who gets annoyed when I interrupt his busy schedule of digging up and defecating on my seedlings. Then there’s Derek, 20, confused and bony, often found by the back door emitting the haunting wail of a lost toddler (he’s my favourite).

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