14 Ingenious Ways to Get Rid of Cats in Your Yard

How to Get Rid of Cats

For homeowners, stray and feral cats can turn into an incredibly frustrating situation. While the large populations of feral and stray cats are harmless to humans, they not only destroy local bird populations, but they can also pass on incurable diseases to domestic cats. Fortunately, there are several humane ways you can deal with the issue with these simple methods for how to get rid of cats.

There are a few reasons why you may want to keep cats out of your flower beds and yards, but given their innate abilities for climbing and jumping, it might seem like you are taking on an impossible feat. The neighborhood cats like to wander through the neighborhood due to curiosity, hunting, mating, feeding, and establishing their territory, while homeless strays and feral cats might be looking for a warm place to call home.

Many people believe that mothballs are an effective method for getting rid of cats. While cats and other garden pests can’t stand the smell of mothballs, they are highly toxic and can kill cats, dogs, and other pets when ingested. Fortunately, there are several approaches on the way to get rid of feral cats and stop strays from using your yard as their personal litter box.

Best Way to Repel Feral Cats

Both feral cats and stray cats can quickly ruin your garden with smellycat pee and fecal matter and can be found lounging around on neighborhood cars and other vehicles. They also like to eat pet food that you’ve left out for your outdoor cats and other pets.

They are known to cause a disturbance with their fights and incessant meowing while riling up your indoor cats. What’s worse is they spread diseases and other parasites, like ticks and fleas, making it even more important to find natural ways on how to get rid of cats.

However, there are a multitude of ways to fend off stray cats and make your yard an unpleasant place for them to explore. Check out these helpful tips.

Remove Their Food Source

If you have a stray or feral cat problem, get rid of stray cats by removing their food sources. Make sure that your trash cans aren’t overflowing with garbage, and that you use a tight-fitting lid to secure your garbage cans. Don’t leave any organic food scraps sitting outside because this attracts unwanted cats from around the neighborhood.

Keep in mind that cats can live on very little, making it impossible to remove their source of food from your area altogether. Avoid feeding the cats.

Leaving food out for stray and feral cats conditions them to stay because it is easier for them to obtain food. Leaving food out can also result in even more cats appearing in your yard. Deter cats and other creatures like raccoons and squirrels by getting rid of food bowls outside. If you have an outside dog, ensure that its bowl is empty before going to bed at night.

Remove Sources of Shelter

Cats, like many mammals, look for warm and dry spaces to shelter them from the elements. If they aren’t able to find a suitable place to stay, they move on to the next house. If you have any small openings under your deck or porch, use plywood or chicken wire to fence it off.

Both are inexpensive and useful materials for keeping cats out. Ensure that the door to your shed closes tightly and that you remove woodpiles so cats can’t make their homes in these areas.

How to Get Rid of Cats – Use a Cat Repellent Spray

While cats like strong odors, like those emitted by fish, they dislike others. Severalcat repellent spray options contain ingredients and smells that repel cats.

Cats especially don’t like the scent of citrus so you can use orange and lemon peels. You can also use other household waste, like coffee grounds and essential oils that contain lavender, citronella, and eucalyptus.

How to Get Rid of Stray Cats from Your Garden

Whether it’s your neighbor’s cat or a stray cat from the neighborhood, keeping cats out of your garden can be challenging. These stray cats may be attracted to your garden for several reasons, including hunting for mice to eat and finding a place to stay out of the elements. If you’re dealing with stray cats inside your garden, here are some home remedies for getting rid of cats.

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Line Your Garden with Chicken Wire

Cats don’t like to walk on chicken wire, making it a great cat deterrent. Lay the chicken wire on top of your mulch or soil before you plant your plants. Use wire cutters to cut holes in the wire that are large enough for planting your plants.

Chicken wire will prevent the cats from digging in your garden. You can also erect a chicken wire fence around your garden to keep cats out.

The fence doesn’t have to be very high to be effective. Generally, cats won’t attempt to climb over fences unless they are strongly motivated to do so.

Install Motion-Sensing Sprinklers

Install a motion-sensing sprinkler system to spray encroaching cats. The first time a cat tries to get into your garden, the motion-activated sprinkler will spray them with a burst of water, causing them to avoid the area in the future.

Set the sprinkler to activate at night when animals are more likely to set it off. As a bonus, your flowers and grass will get watered in the process.

Toss Citrus Peels into Your Garden

As stated earlier, cats hate the smell of citrus fruits, including lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit. The next time you are juicing or eating one of these fruits, throw the rinds and peels into your garden.

With the citrus peels in your garden, stray and feral cats should give your garden a wide berth. Planting a citrus tree in your yard won’t be as effective in getting rid of cats because the smell isn’t as potent.

Spread Cayenne Pepper Around the Area

Sprinkling cayenne pepper around the edge of your garden, or wherever you want to keep cats out, is an effective cat control method. When cats walk across the pepper, it sticks to their paws, which causes issues when the cats groom themselves.

Eventually, the cats will learn this unpleasant experience is caused by your yard and will move on to other non-spicy locations. Spread the cayenne pepper wherever you see the cats.

Use Live Traps or the TNR Method

One of the most effective ways to get rid of cats is through the use of a live trap, like the Havahart Live Trap. This is also one of the most humane ways to deal with unwanted cats in your yard and works best for those who are looking for long-term effects.

The TNR method consists of trapping, neutering, and releasing stray and feral cats. After you’ve caught the cats, take them to your local animal shelter and have them spay or neuter them.

Put bait such as tuna, sardines, or cat food in the trap and place the trap in an area that cats frequent. When you’ve caught a cat, leave the cat in the trap, because feral cats are known to scratch and bite, which could lead to a severe infection.

To calm the cat down, place a blanket over the trap. Once captured, relocate the cats to another area or take it to the humane society for neutering and releasing back into the wild.

Plant Smelly Plants in Your Yard

Some plants will give off a smell that cats hate. One plant that you could place in your garden is the Coleus canina, which is also known as the “Scaredy-Cat Plant.”

It is a useful cat repellent as well as working on dogs. Other plants that you can use in your garden to get rid of cats are lavender, rue, and pennyroyal.

Use Critter Ridder Spray

One of the best natural ways for how to get rid of cats is with an organic cat repellent spray known as Critter Ridder. The natural spray contains black pepper, capsaicin, and piperine. These ingredients irritate cats, and they dislike the smell and taste.

Spray the Critter Ridder directly around the areas around your house where you’ve noticed cats congregating. The natural animal control spray comes in both granular and liquid forms and is effective at repelling not only cats but skunks and raccoons, as well.

Use a DIY Natural Cat Repellent Spray

When it comes to home remedies for getting rid of cats, you can make a DIY natural cat repellent spray with lemon oil. Most cats hate the smell of lemon oil, and when used in a high enough concentration, it can effectively get rid of cats from your yard.

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How to Get Rid of Stray Cats

HUMANE HINTS: In some cases, you don’t need to remove stray cats at all — just leave them alone! Never feed stray cats — that only causes dependence on people, and overpopulation. TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs have demonstrated success in some studies. If you must trap a stray cat, make sure you set the trap in the shade and bring the cat to the shelter or animal services as quickly as possible. NEVER attempt to poison stray cats. Read below for how-to hints.
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If you need cat help, click my Nationwide List of Stray Cat Removal Experts for a pro, or for your city or county animal services near you.

In addition to the below general information about stray cats, I’ve also written these helpful articles to help you wiht your stray cat problem. Learn the top 10 most common Problems Caused By Stray Cats, and what to do if you find a Litter of Kittens. Learn how to Catch a Stray Cat, if you should Feed a Stray Cat, and how to Adopt a Stray Cat. Find out, too, How Many Stray Cats are in the United States.

How to Get Rid of Feral Cats — In most areas of the world, there is a problem of an overpopulation of feral cats roaming the streets of urban and rural areas. Feral cats are cats that have either been left outside by its previous owners or have lived on the streets from the day they were born. Feral cats do not look any different than any other cat, except they may be skinner and dirtier. There are many reasons that someone would leave a cat outside such as they cannot afford to keep it, the cat is to aggressive to keep in the house or maybe they moved and couldn’t take the cat with them. None of these are good reasons for not taking a cat to the humane society, but it happens.

Feral cats present a problem to society because they reproduce very quickly. There is a very good chance that many if not all the domesticated cats that become feral are not spayed or neutered and that leads to an overpopulation of more feral cats very fast. Feral cats can be a nuisance to you and your pets by stealing your pet’s food. They can also get into your unsecured trash cans and leave a big mess for you to clean up in the morning. Feral cats are also at a higher risk for infectious diseases, parasites and fleas. If a feral cat should scratch you or your pet, you could end up at the hospital to treat the infections or diseases that are passed through their saliva and scratches. If you have a feral cat problem you should take action immediately before you or your pet gets hurt. Here are some suggestions for you to try to get rid of feral cats.

  • Do not feed feral cats. Do not leave dishes of food or water out for them, because they will soon learn that your house gives them food every day. They will then start coming to your house every day and bringing all their feral friends. This increases the chance of you or your pet coming in contact with the potentially sick animal.
  • If you notice that there are a lot of feral cats in your part of the neighborhood, please call animal control or your local humane society. These officers sometimes will take care of the problem themselves and bring traps to set around the yard and in the places the cats like to frequent.
  • Use predator urines like coyotes or fox to repel the cats away. This method is not the most effective way to keeping feral cats off of your property and you have to constantly reapply them. This is not the method you want to try if you live in an area that rains a lot.
  • You can buy a trap yourself and try to catch them. Be aware that a trapped feral cat is not something you want to mess with. Make sure that you are wearing thick leather gloves and sleeves so you don’t get scratched or bitten by a potentially sick cat. Once you catch them you will have to relocate them at least ten miles away, take it to a shelter or euthanize it yourself. Unless you take it to a no-kill shelter, the cat will probably be euthanized anyways.
  • Get a big dog that stays in the yard to deter cats from coming onto your property. As, everyone knows, dogs and cats do not get along and a dog is usually an effective way to keeping the cats out of your yard. But then again, if the cat scratches or bites your dog, you will have to take it to the vet to get antibiotics.

Stray Cat Information & Facts

Feral Cat Appearance: Stray, or Feral cats and domestic cats are the same species. The word feral implies that the cat has either resorted to untamed ways or was born into the world without knowing any trust toward human beings. The variety of feral cats is as numerous as stars in the sky, with cats of every pattern and color making up the population. On average, the cat is around eight pounds and two feet long, with a tail generally three-quarters the length of the body. Feral cats tend to have unkempt coats and scruffy appearances. They are lean and often lanky, their bodies riddled with parasites from a life spent in the outdoors. Male feral cats are often unneutered. This retention of masculinity affords them heavy fat padding around the face, a look affectionately termed ‘pumpkin head’. This excess of fat helps in territory scuffles, as the main areas a male cat will take on wounds are the face, neck, paws and hind quarters.

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Feral Cat Habitat and Behavior: Feral cats almost always live in urban settings, relying on the small mammals that frequent human dwellings as a source of food. Because feral cats and housecats are the same species, homeowners often take to feeding the feral animal cat food from the supermarket. Unlike most pests which will leave when a food source diminishes, feral cats are no longer native to any particular terrain within nature. In fact, those few cats that roam the woods are often prey for foxes, coyotes, and owls. The feral cat needs the marginal safety of human settlements, and though feral cats are not friendly, they are not yet adapted to live in a wilderness setting. Cats do not burrow or create their own dens. A feral cat will search for the most opportune spot to live. This location can be under a porch, inside an abandoned building, within drainage pipes, in sewers, and inside the attics and crawlspaces of human homes. A dry, warm environment is ideal.

Like domestic cats, feral cats can vary on their social preferences. Unneutered males are largely solitary, though they may generate acquaintances if particular feedings grounds are visited by the same cats often. Male cats do not always seek a fight with another male unless food or females are involved. Vocalizations often establish a pecking order between feral cats communing around a food source. These animals are not grouped in a social aspect, but to be in close proximity with one another there must be a hierarchy established.

Female feral cats can have litters year round and as often as every four months. The kittens are helpless at birth and will be hidden by the mother until they are old enough to wander on their own. A mother cat will move her litter if she feels the location of the home is compromised.

Feral cats can be taken in by well-meaning people, but it is uncommon to domesticate a feral. It is not impossible, however, and would take significant patience and time.

Feral Cat Diet: Cats are naturally carnivorous, and it is only through processed pet food that they consume a variety of vegetables and fruits. When left on their own, cats will hunt rodents, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Cats rarely actively hunt fish, though they will not turn down a free meal if one is offered. A desperate cat will eat carrion or steal food remnants from garbage cans.

Feral Cat Nuisance Concerns: Feral cats will accumulate in number if a food source is plentiful and reliable or if a location (like an abandoned warehouse) provides good protection. When these cats gather, fighting is inevitable. When cats fight, they are very loud and very vocal and can often deal a great amount of damage to one another. Intact males will often spray a powerful liquid scent marker around homes and food sources. This smell is potent and hard to eliminate. Housecats can be upset or injured by feral animals, and an attack can result in disease transmission.

Feral Cat Diseases: Fecal cats are a known rabies suspect in most areas of the country. Aside from that deadly disease, cat scratch fever is the other well-known zoonotic disease. Scabies, a skin disease, is also present in the feral population and can be transmitted to humans. Family housecats are at the most risk for disease contraction. Feral cats can carry FeLV virus, otherwise known as feline leukemia. FIV, feline AIDS, is also prevalent in the stray population. Both these illnesses are ultimately fatal.

You’re here to learn how to get rid of stray cats in your yard, in or around your home, or under your house. This site is intended to provide stray cat education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a stray cat problem. This site provides many stray cat control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of stray cat removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance stray cat.

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