Cat hack mystery as neighbour stumped by water bottle trick to warn off unwanted pets

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Reddit enthusiast @titchard turned to the social platform on Monday to understand why their neighbour strategically placed several bottles of water in their garden. Attaching a picture of the said garden taken from inside their house, the 14-year-old wrote: “I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that my neighbours keep putting bottles of water at the bottom of their hedge, for the life of me I cannot figure out why – any ideas?!”

More than 250 people commented on the picture and tried to explain how the water bottles are supposedly a hack to repel any cat or dog who may want to use someone’s garden as a public toilet.

“I believe the intention is that the sun reflects through the water and the glare scares cats,” answered @Bottlez1266.

“Cats see their own reflection, and do a runner,” confirmed @HugoZHackenbush2.

A technique that did not convince many other users like @rainbowroobear who wrote: “I have never seen this work on a single cat, including my own who are utter morons.”

Thankfully, user @HarryGateau debunked the whole story and revealed that it was all an April fool initiated in New Zealand in the late 80s.

A 2010 article from New Zealander news site Stuff reveals that the prank started as a joke in a newspaper before being picked up on the radio.

“A friend reminded me about the time the paper [The Otago Daily Times] ran a story in 1998 about the Speight’s Brewery giving away free beer from its outside taps, ‘mixed with water’.

“People lined up outside the brewery with jugs, and the newspaper gleefully ran a follow-up the next day revealing the cruel hoax.

“I’ve been wondering about this myth since I was a kid dodging 2-litre Coke bottles on the lawn.

“In 1989, New Zealand gardening guru Eion Scarrow told a radio station that a bottle of water would stop dogs using your front yard as a toilet, and people have followed it ever since.

“Scarrow told TVNZ last year that he can’t remember the inspiration for his prank.

“‘I don’t know how I even thought about it; it was just spur of the moment,’ he said.”

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“We had vets ringing up from England asking: ‘What’s the truth behind this?’”

However, people from all over Europe still seem to believe in the hack as Reddit users from Spain and France say they have witnessed the same thing.

“I live in the South of France and noticed folks here put them next to the door in the little towns,” commented @TCO345.

“I’ve asked why and been told it’s to stop dogs and cats from pissing there.

“No one I spoke to seems convinced it works though.”

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