As an animal lover, it was always difficult for me to ‘shoo’ away any animal. But, after years of living next to a woman who prided herself in a being a stray cat collector, I found it necessary to keep stray cats out of the yard and off my property. My flower beds were turned into cat toilets, my outdoor furniture was shredded to pieces, the house itself was sprayed by the male cats, and my screen doors didn’t stand a chance against the strays and their claws.
If you are reading this, I will assume that you have your own frustrations with stray cats and the damage they cause. It is very frustrating when you have to spend your own money, and much time, protecting your home from the animals because of one irresponsible person. But, I commend you for doing so and not being tempted to harm the cats themselves. After all, it is not the fault of the cats. It is the fault of the owner or person who has taken them in.
Where to start
Talk to the owner – It probably won’t work, but speak with the owner of the cat(s). If you encounter the same issue I did, and the person tells you the can’t don’t belong to them, let them know you will be contacting the authorities.
Contact the authorities – The laws differ from state to state, but there are some that have laws about stray cats. Find out if there is anything that can be done from a legal aspect to get the cats relocated.
And the next step….
If those two actions fail, as they did for me, you’ll want to take action to keep stray cats away from your house. No matter how adorable those furry critters may be, they can wreak havoc on a person’s home and belongings. They scratch cars, climb into car engines, dig up landscaping, crawl (and get stuck) beneath the house, and tear up the things you keep outdoors. Here are a few things you can do to keep stray cats away:
1. Deter digging – To keep stray cats away from flower or vegetable beds, place chicken wire around the area. It may not look attractive, but cats will no longer dig there or go to the a bathroom. If you find using chicken wire unappealing, try placing prickly mulch or pinecones into the beds instead.
2. Remove temptation – If you have bird feeders in your yard, stray cats may be hanging out to watch them or try to catch them. Thus, by simply removing the bird feeders, the cats may not spend as much time near your home. Also, be sure to remove other temptations such as accessible trash cans, or vegetation that appeals to cats.
3. Clean up the yard – When we had an issue with stray cats, we found that by simply removing the burn pile from the backyard, we saw less and less of the cats. We had no idea that they were using the pile of sticks and limbs to sleep at night! They also seemed to like sleeping beneath an old aluminum boat on the side of the house. Thus, we found by cleaning up the yard, we were able to help keep stray cats away.
4. Add citrus – Most cats don’t like the scent of citrus fruit and will avoid it. Try placing orange and lemon peels around the outside of your home. There are also cat sprays that are infused with citrus oils, which can help to keep cats away from your house.
5. Eliminate urine scent – The scent of cat urine is horrid. If a cat goes under the house to spray, the scent can travel up into the house through duct work, and it is just awful. Stop them from spraying by cleaning up their scent as soon as possible. Wash the surface down with bleach water and then cover it with an enzyme-based urine odor remover.
More from Jennifer Wagner:
Top 10 Small Dog Breeds for Families
Solutions to Common Door Lock Problems
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