Have you ever wondered how to keep stray and feral cats away from your property? As the most popular pet in the United States, with 88 million pet cats, our feline friends hold a special place in our hearts. However, when cats become strays or are feral, they can pose significant problems.
The issue with stray and feral cats extends beyond mere inconvenience; they often carry dangerous diseases that can spread to humans. Rabies, a fatal disease, is one of the most common threats posed by these cats. If transmitted to a human without subsequent treatment, it can be lethal. This makes it all the more crucial to keep stray and feral cats at bay, especially if there are children around.
To help you address this concern, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 29 effective ways to deter stray and feral cats from your home. With these strategies, you can protect your property, your family, and even the cats themselves by encouraging them to find a safer and more suitable habitat.
29 Ways to Keep Cats Away
1. Keep Your Trash Secured
Stray cats usually become attracted to a property in search of food. Trash or garbage can appeal to cats, so it’s best to keep your trash secure and not leave garbage in your yard.
2. Talk to Your Neighbors
Are you struggling with cats wandering onto your property? Consider having a conversation with your neighbors. If a neighbor’s cat has been visiting your property frequently, collaborating on a solution could be the key to resolving the issue.
Encourage your neighbors to maintain their yards, as this can help deter cats from venturing into your space. Share your willingness to help and offer them useful tips on addressing the problem. By working together, you and your neighbors can create a harmonious environment for everyone, including our feline friends.
3. Install Sprinklers
Cats don’t like water and will try to avoid getting wet. Install sprinklers that cover your entire yard. If a cat gets nearby, the water should scare them away.
4. Use Vaseline
If you have a fence surrounding your yard, put some Vaseline on top of it. Cats will find it difficult to get over it.
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5. Use a String
An alternative solution involves stretching a taut string across the top of your fence. Cats are likely to be deterred from attempting to climb over it, thus helping to keep them off your property.
What is a taut string? A taut string is a string or cord pulled tight and held under tension, without any slack or looseness. In the context of deterring cats from climbing over a fence, a taut string is stretched along the top of the fence to create an unstable and uncomfortable surface for the cat, discouraging them from attempting to climb over.
6. Use Fake Warning Signs
You may want to consider placing fake warning signs in your yard. If your neighbors are aware that their cats are visiting your yard, it may encourage the neighbors to keep their pets away.
You could always opt for a — NO PETS ALLOWED ON PROPERTY SIGN — which would signal to your neighbors your opinions on pets in your yard.
7. Block Access to Shelter
Look around your yard for any places you think a cat could use for shelter. Cats shouldn’t have access underneath decks and porches; if they do, consider enclosing it with a fence.
8. Use Ultrasonic Devices
Ultrasonic devices emit a sound that humans can’t hear well, but cats have a very advanced sense of hearing. If a cat hears the device, it’ll dislike the tone and avoid coming into your yard. The best places to install these devices are near problem areas.
9. Alternative Sound Repellents
If you have a fence surrounding your yard, you can scare off cats by putting marbles or pebbles in an empty can and placing it on the fence. A loud bell or wind chimes are some other options. When the cat climbs over or walks on the fence, it’ll scare them.
10. Build a Fence
Cats are experts at climbing, but it may be hard for them to climb a challenging fence. Chicken wire is affordable and easy to build, and it should keep the cats away. The fence you choose should be high so cats can’t climb over it.
If you have a garden, be sure to have a fence around it. Cats often use gardens as a litterbox.
11. Water Guns
If you need an affordable option, purchasing water guns may be the best. If you see a cat in your yard, you can spray them with a water gun to scare them away. If you choose this method, get a water gun that can spray from a distance and sprays a lot of water.
12. Protect Gardens
As mentioned previously, you can install a fence around your gardens to protect them from cats, but there are alternatives.
You can install chicken wire over the surface of your garden or underneath the dirt. If you prefer another alternative, you can add pine cones, stone mulch, or cedar mulch to deter cats. It’ll make the garden uncomfortable for them.
Some plants have smells that cats don’t like. Lavender, coleus canina, rue, and pennyroyal may deter cats. Think about planting them between your other plants.
13. Install an Electric Fence
An electric fence doesn’t have to be cruel and inhumane. There are electric fences out there that are used for deterring cats. Consider purchasing a safe electric fence for cats that won’t cause harm.
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14. Remove Food
If you feed your pets outdoors, stop the habit, and start feeding them indoors. If you have a compost pile, don’t add food to it. If you have a grill, be sure to keep it clean to avoid enticing smells.
15. Clean Urine Spray
If you notice urine spray on your walls or doors, wash and clean them with an odor-neutralizer containing enzymes to prevent cats from spraying.
16. Stinky Substances
Cats don’t like the smell of citrus or blood meal fertilizer. You can place peels of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit in your garden to deter cats. Also, you can use mothballs.
Cayenne pepper flakes deter cats, but it can burn their tongues, eyes, and feet. When it grooms, it’ll be painful and uncomfortable, so it’s not humane and not recommended.
17. Use Sprays
Sprays that contain garlic, citrus, dog urine, lavender, and citronella can deter cats. Unfortunately, you’ll have to spray these scents around your yard regularly.
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18. Scatter Urine
Cats are territorial animals, and they won’t come around if there’s another animal already marking their territory. Coyote urine is ideal, but unfortunately, you’ll likely be able to smell it.
19. Own a Male Cat
If you own a male cat, it’ll perceive the yard as its territory and defend it. Unfortunately, if you get a new cat, you’ll have to teach it where to use the bathroom. However, teaching kittens is much easier if you adopt them while they’re young.
20. Get a Dog
You may want to get one if you don’t own a dog. Unfortunately, a dog requires a lot of maintenance, care, and attention, but it should keep cats away from your yard. Usually, dogs like to roam and cause chaos, so if you get a dog, it may scare away the stray and feral cats.
Unfortunately, the unwanted cats coming into your yard may become accustomed to the dog after a few weeks or months. If this happens, getting the dog is useless.
21. Use Ammonia
Ammonia smells like cat urine. If you choose this method, you’ll need a litter box and ammonia.
Place the litter box away from your garden and paths, and fill the litter box with ammonia, or use a rag soaked with ammonia. Using this method attracts cats, but it’ll attract them to the litter box instead of your garden.
22. Sheep Manure
Some people claim that using sheep manure keeps unwanted cats away. If you use it, it may or may not work. Fortunately, sheep manure doesn’t have a strong odor and is a great fertilizer for plants.
23. Lion Dug Cat Repellent
Lions are bigger and stronger than cats, so if a cat smells a lion nearby, it may retreat. You can find lion-dug cat repellent at your local garden store.
The repellent comes in pellets, and unfortunately, they get washed away by the rain. Also, don’t use it as fertilizer.
24. Use Your Hair
The scent of human hair deters cats. Each day after you brush your hair, go into your yard, and clean your brush. Leave the hair scattered around.
25. Lights and Sirens
Consider purchasing lights and sirens that’ll scare the cats away when they come near. Do some research online about the best products to purchase to deter cats.
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26. Use Tobacco
Cats dislike the smell of tobacco, so you may want to consider scattering some tobacco around in your yard. To make it inexpensive, go to a smoke shop, and purchase tobacco in bulk.
27. Use Coffee Grounds
Scattering around coffee grounds in your yard should deter cats because they don’t like the smell of it. Avoid using cocoa bean shells because it’s poisonous to cats and dogs.
28. Use Perfume or Cologne
Cut small pieces of rags, and soak them with perfume or cologne. Afterward, hang them near problem areas. If you have a garden, don’t forget to hang them there.
29. Humane Traps
When other tactics fail, see if you’re legally allowed to catch cats in humane traps in your yard. If you catch a cat that has tags, discuss the issue with the cat’s owner. If you catch stray or feral cats, give them to your local animal control or shelter.
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If your community has laws or homeowner association regulations, ask them what legal action you can take to prevent cats from coming on your property. Be sure to know the laws before you start taking action.
A Friendly Way to Repel Cats (Video)
1. Can ultrasonic devices be used to deter stray and feral cats?
Yes, ultrasonic devices can be effective in deterring cats. These devices emit sounds that are unpleasant for cats but barely audible to humans. Installing them near problem areas can help keep cats away from your property.
2. Are there any plants that can help repel stray and feral cats?
Certain plants, such as lavender, coleus canina, rue, and pennyroyal, have smells cats dislike. Planting these between your other plants can help deter cats from entering your garden.
3. Can ammonia be used as a cat deterrent?
Ammonia can be used to attract cats to a specific area, like a litter box filled with ammonia, away from your garden or paths. This method redirects the cats’ attention to the ammonia-soaked area instead of your garden.
4. How can human hair help keep cats away?
The scent of human hair can deter cats. After brushing your hair, clean the brush and scatter the hair around your yard to help keep cats at bay.
5. Are there any humane traps available for catching stray and feral cats?
Yes, there are humane traps available for catching cats without causing harm. Discuss the issue with the owner if you catch a cat with tags. Contact your local animal control or shelter for stray or feral cats to handle the situation.
"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett