Stray cats, neighbor cats, and even your own pets cats can be unwanted in certain areas of your yard, and there is a varied selection of methods available to help homeowners deal with the problems, including traps, repellents, scare tactics, and more.
Like any animals, cats are attracted to areas that provide them with shelter, food, and safety. The most basic step to avoid attracting cats it to remove anything that can provide them with these basic needs. This includes:
◦Trash that may contain leftovers, make sure that any trash cans are shut tightly so that cats, skunks, raccoon, and other common pests cannot open them.
◦Do not feed your pets outside unless it is strictly scheduled and cleaned up after mealtime.
◦Don’t leave any food out for your pets, or wildlife.
◦Block areas such as garages and sheds that could provide safe warm places for animals.
If possible, plan these strategies with neighbors—a neighbor feeding feral cats can cause problems for the whole block.
Try to identify areas on your property that may be attracting cats. Look for:
◦Feces and places that cats have been using as a “litter box.” Compost piles of loose grass and leaves, etc.
◦Wooden furniture, car tires, or woodpiles that have been uses as scratching posts
◦Spraying (male cats) anywhere on your property
◦Bird houses that may attract hunting cats
◦Cats are also attracted by mice and other rodents the like to hunt
◦Cozy spots with either sun for basking or shelter from bad weather.
Pets and strays alike can cause problems, and many pet cats like to and are allowed by their owners to spend time outside. Learn who the pet cats are and who they belong to before planning a strategy for keeping them out of your yard.
◦Talk to your neighbors to find out who owns cats
◦Pet cats may have collars or tags
◦Pet cats are generally friendly and well fed.
◦Pets will normally go home at night.
Strays may have once been someone’s cat that was lost or abandoned, so they may be friendly, declawed, or show other signs of once being owned. They are:
◦Often friendly and seeking a “home”
◦Hungry, and beg for food from humans
◦Dirty and may be scared
Feral cats are those that have never had a home or human interaction. They:
◦Are afraid of an aggressive toward humans
◦May live with other feral cats in wooded areas
◦Will bite and scratch- do not attempt to pet a feral cat.
Repellents with pepper as an active ingredient work for cats by irritating their delicate noses and sense of taste. Pepper repellent comes an a couple forms:
◦Granular repellent can be sprinkles to form a perimeter around one’s yard to prevent cats from entering.
◦Liquid repellent with pepper can be sprayed on to places where cats nap, look for food, or dig up for relieving themselves.
Cat repellent should be reapplied regularly, especially after it rains, and is most effective with used with other methods, such are removing food sources (including birds and small wildlife), and scare tactics, such as a dog or squirting them with water when possible.