Yeah, I dig that you didn't mean any harm. Guess I'm just sensitive to tone, and there are times when that pays off.
I find sometimes information is more convincing if backed up with a source.... depending on the source.
Yes, cats were about the best that site had to offer for an alternative to cayenne pepper, and it seemed like a rather naive solution. Screening won't work... the screens between the chipmunks and my birdseed attest to that. Of course, this gives me hesitation in believing what else that site says, including the part about cayenne blinding critters. My original source said it did no lasting harm, and he is a knowledgeable agriculturalist, so I'm faced with the choice of believing him or a well-intentioned site containing questionable information. <sigh>
Moreover, given the behaviour of my chipmunks, I have difficulty believing they're actually stupid enough to get into the cayenne so that it does lasting damage. Heh... they're pretty clever. One whif and I can see them beating a retreat... afterall, there's always the birdseed in the house.
HOWEVER, all that said, I hesitate to take the chance of doing lasting harm to any creature, including my cats. I'll try just black pepper and see what happens. Growing squash is not a big thing with me; my elderly mom likes me to grow some butternut squash for her because mine come out smaller than commercial ones, so she can manage them better. And I like to grow some zucchini... but it isn't as if they're expensive. (People have a hard time getting rid of theirs here.)
So, if the black pepper doesn't work, no biggy. I'll just have to find my mom some small butternut squash.
Hope you had a blast at your conference.