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Stray Cats Strut Answered

Sad to say, a homeowner in the neighborhood takes no care of her cats and, of course, we had a bumper crop of strays for a while until nature and cars took care of most of them.  Two or three full-grown cats from the original litters are now quite healthy and roam our neighborhood freely.  As I have two indoor/outdoor cats, the "Wilds" have decided to take our yard as their own and you all know how cats mark their territory.  Every corner of our house, planters, and bbq has been sprayed as the battle for territory continues.  They're quite bold; I ran into one in our garage!  I'd like an effective, safe, non-painful (and entertaining, if possible) way to discourage them from coming into our yard and/or what I can spray over their spray to  nullify their scent.  (Baking soda and water mix, etc.)  I'm not home during the day to "catch" them in the act, I need something long-acting.  Thanks!  


You need to call your local animal control department. There are ordinances regarding the number of pets someone should have at home. Organizations like the Humane League shelter these animals and find them homes.

I had a neighbor who let his cat's out every morning and every night to freely roam the streets. They made their way across the street to have fun under my home. So I put Moth Balls underneath my home and have never once seen a cat come even close to my place since. Problem solved! Also keeps most Snakes, Bugs and other Critters away too.

As a cat lover in general, I won't advocate anything that causes harm to kitties, even the ferals. And yet... I have a similar problem. There is a mommy and a daddy cat that seem to produce a couple of litters a year. One set was born under my house and stayed there until I figured out how they were getting in and blocked off that access. (After ensuring that no one was left under there!) We wound up keeping one of those kittens ourselves but finding a shelter to take the rest was a real PITA! Then we found just one tiny kitten once, and found him a home. A few months ago, we found a kitten that had literally just been born - it still had the umbilical stump oozing. My wife found it in our driveway while I was out of town. She kept it alive and found someone to foster it. But, a few weeks later we noticed some kittens that were from that same litter. Now they have grown up to be cats, and they seem to think that the area between my next door neighbors shed and my back fence is there home base, and that my yard is their litterbox. I've found that my stun gun which makes a very loud and scary noise and crackling light scares the bejesus out of cats, without causing them any physical harm. I don't hit them with it or anything, I just make it make noise and light which sends them running off. Do that enough and they seem to stay away for a bit.

Nothing else that we have tried has been effective at all. We've tried Boundary, which is supposed to create a smell that they don't want to be around, and it lasts maybe a day and then they're back. We've tried cayenne pepper and citrus of all kinds, and that doesn't seem to do anything either.

We certainly don't feed the little guys, although sometimes I do feel sorry for them, but feeding them would guarantee that they never go away. Plus unattended food brings other creatures that we didn't intend. We had a baby possum who came and hung out in our little container garden because he wanted to eat the apples off of my apple tree. He got them all the devil!

If anyone has anything that is genuinely effective at discouraging the strays, I'd love to know about it too!

Thanks for the ideas; the ilpug would some fun! I've contacted our towns Animal Control unit, and, believe it or not, we have a "Feral Reinstatement Plan" where, if I can catch them, they will spay/neuter the animal and then they RELEASE THEM BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM. Paint balls could be my next choice, but I hesitate to think what yard and trees will look like.....I will try the orange peel and report back.

Definitely take advantage of the spay/neuter offer. Despite the high death rate of kittens, eventually the population will grow. Contact cat welfare organizations like Alley Cat Allies (http://www.alleycatallies.org) to find someone to do the trapping or search for TNR for "trap, neuter, and return". Cat rescuers will often trap for free.

The "Wilds" cats will be better off, your cats will be safer, and the smelly spraying will be drastically reduced. After "fixing", males still mark some, but the smell is hardly noticeable a few weeks after they're neutered. Fighting reduces to quick squabbles over food if you feed outdoors, not the fierce battles un-neutered males wage that can end up spreading FIV (cat AIDS), or a cat seriously injured or even killed.

One of those auto turrets for paintball or airsoft, replace the gun with a water pistol or hose...

When I was a professional poop-scooper I used something called Nature's Miracle - a liquid concentrate that killed odors really well on porous surfaces.

Also, many tool-rental places carry humane traps in various sizes. Trap 'em, get 'em fixed and turn 'em loose.

They will spray less if they are neutered/spayed, although it won't be eliminated altogether.

Motion-activated sprinklers would probably work pretty well. They are sold as garden-pest deterrants and cost $50-$70 The two problems I can forsee are that you would likely soak yourself once in awhile and if your city has watering restrictions you might run afoul of those.

My cats HATE citrus, so the orange peels will work temporarily, but will need to be refreshed daily. Maybe there is a citrus oil spray available?

Leaving orange peel around the garden is supposed to discourage cats, but if they are truly stray / feral, consider calling in pest-control people to humanely trap them.