Answer: You could try making the approach area less attractive by littering the ground with thorny branches (eg rose prunings)or spraying the trunk with a repellent. There are commercially formulated sprays for cats as well as home made ones based on garlic and/or red pepper. Alternatively you might try placing a loose cylinder of wire mesh or screening around the bottom several feet of the trunk. This would wobble and not be conducive to climbing and also get in the way of scratching. Finally, you might talk to the owner and discuss the damage as well as the dangers to cats who roam. If there is a leash law, you could also call Animal Control. In the meantime, I would remove the vaseline as much as possible.
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