We love having yards and gardens that attract wildlife. Nothing beats looking out of a window from inside the house and seeing a hummingbird or songbird flitting about our property. Unfortunately, in many areas, a beautiful yard also attracts feral and pet cats. Knowing how to keep stray cats away will ensure that your yard stays beautiful and unspoiled.
Animal control can’t get rid of all cats, and the ones that remain may find an attraction to your garden that draws them like catnip. They can treat your sandbox, garden, and bird feeders like an outdoor litter box and food source.
Before you know it, they’re urinating everywhere, filling your garden with cat poop, and killing your wild visitors. This article shows you eleven fantastic options for how to keep neighborhood cats away from your home.
- Keeping Stray Cats Away
- Repel Cats with Passive Repellents
- Natural Ways to Keep Cats Away from Your House with Active Repellents
We look at some excellent natural ways to keep cats away from your house using passive methods, and you’ll also learn about some effective active repellents that you can use to get the job done, too. You’ll be surprised at the ease with which you can keep your home cat-free and beautiful!
Keeping Stray Cats Away
We don’t want to harm the kitties at all when we take steps to keep them out of our yard, of course. Even those among us who don’t like outdoor cats don’t want to see them hurt, so it’s not a bad idea to have some passive repellent options handy at all times. If we can, we want to keep the cats out of our yard without causing them distress or injury.
Repel Cats with Passive Repellents
This section tackles passive repellents that discourage stray cats from entering your property. You’ll get information on methods that use different walking surfaces and some that rely on strong scents.
We also show you home remedies for keeping feral cats out that use natural plant properties. And, you’ll even get the lowdown on how to use commercial repellents.
Lay Down Chicken Wire to Keep Feral Cats Outside
As any cat owner can attest, cats don’t like uneven and difficult footing and will avoid it at all costs. That’s what makes this first cat repellent trick so useful. You can lay down chicken wire in your garden or flower beds to prevent cats from walking through it.
Cats find walking through the chicken wire unpleasant, which you can use to keep them out of your yard. After you till your garden but before you plant, roll out chicken wire and lay it out across your garden. Cover it lightly with dirt and mulch to keep it in place.
Plant your garden as you usually would, cutting holes in the chicken wire to accommodate growing plants.
Keep Cats Away with Strong Scents
As hunters, cats have keen senses of smell. You can weaponize this and turn it against strays by placing strong scents in your yard and garden.
Cats hate strong odors that we find pleasant, and that allows you to set up a cat repellent system that works well and smells great all at the same time. As a bonus, these repellents are also excellent home remedies to keep skunks away from the house.
Fill the mesh bags with strong-scented items. Moth balls keep cats away very well, as do essential oils.
Cayenne pepper is an excellent cat repellent, but bold cats can injure themselves with cayenne, so be careful if you use it to keep stray cats out of your yard. Place the mesh bags in selective spots throughout the lawn and garden.
All of these smells are are helpful to get rid of cat urine smell outside as well, so strays won’t be tempted to create their own litter box in your flower bed after a single use.
Use Pine Cones, Mulch, or Other Bristly Flooring
This technique operates on much the same principle as the chicken wire method and takes advantage of the fact that cats aren’t fond of uneven surfaces that poke into their tender paw pads and between their toes.
When you lay down a bed of pine cones and mulch with lots of bristles and texture, you create a surface your local feral cats won’t want to come near. Use pine cones as sharp borders to your garden, and add other sharp and inimical items such as eggshells and stone mulch as needed.
You can also turn to human-made flooring products to drive away strays; try turning a plastic carpet runner upside down so that the nubs face upward and placing that in your garden.
Grow Cat-Repellent Plants
One of the best ways to make a cat repellent for flower beds is to grow plants that cats don’t like but that are appealing to you. You don’t have to do a lot of hard work to keep cats out of your yard.
There are great natural ways to keep cats away from your house that require only a little initial effort on your part. Once you grow a natural cat repellent plant or two in your yard, your troubles will be over, and your garden will thrive.
There are several plants that cats find distasteful. Choose among many different plants that keep cats away for good. Cats dislike the Scaredy Cat plant, also called Coleus canina, for example.
Lemongrass is another excellent cat repellent plant that smells delightful to humans, and you can’t go wrong planting Pennyroyal. Always check your local agriculture office for special care instructions before you plant to ensure that your cat repellent plants will continue to keep the cats away throughout the year.
Use Commercial Cat Repellents
Sometimes, DIY methods aren’t strong enough. If you’ve got a local cat population that has you going crazy wondering, “How am I going to keep feral cats out of my yard?” you can always turn to a commercial cat deterrent to make sure that you repel cats. Commercial products come with a guarantee, so if you use the product correctly, you should get results.
Bitter apple spray works best as an indoor cat deterrent spray, but you can use a cat repellent spray to keep stray cats off outdoor furniture, as well. If you use Flagline or another scented repellent, mix it into your soil and mulch to create a smell zone that feral cats won’t dare enter. Always wear safety gear and long-sleeved garments when working with animal repellents.
Natural Ways to Keep Cats Away from Your House with Active Repellents
Passive repellents are fantastic and useful, but they don’t work all the time. At some point, you’re bound to run across an especially determined cat who doesn’t let bad smells or uncomfortable footing prevent them from getting to your garden. When that happens, it’s time to dig into the active repellents.
This section covers repellents that activate when stray cats or the neighbor’s cats come near. You’ll learn about how to repel feral cats using sprays, mild shocks, and sound devices. We also show you how to set up humane traps to take care of the most stubborn kitties.
Keep Cats Out with Electric Wire Fencing
Electric fencing is a fantastic option to prevent strays from coming into your garden beds. You can find low-energy, non-lethal electric garden fencing at any local home and garden store; it will give any curious cats a gentle zap and discourage them from returning to the garden to press their luck.
Mr. McGregor’s Fence is an excellent brand choice when you’re selecting an electric garden fence. The fencing is only a foot or so high, but that’s more than enough height to keep out furry visitors.
You can usually find fencing that runs on simple D-cell batteries. Your fencing will keep out more than cats and is a great way to prevent woodchucks and squirrels from chowing down on your veggies, too.
Hit the Cats with Water Guns
Sometimes you need to stick with the simple options to get the best results. If passive repellents don’t stop cats from checking out your yard, you might do well to turn to water sprays. Cats famously hate getting wet, so use water sprays to train the ferals to stay out.
You’ll need to be present for this option to work, of course. Fill the spray bottle or water gun with water. Don the gloves and take up a position close to the cats’ entry point.
When a cat enters the yard, let ’em have it with the water gun or spray bottle. You often only need to soak a cat once to keep them out for good.
Use Motion-Detector Sprinklers
This method is an automated version of the previous option, which makes it an ideal choice for folks who don’t have the free time required to squirt your strays with a water gun.
The best part about this option is how accurate and useful it is; whenever a cat enters the yard, the sprinkler detects the movement and sends a stream of water right at the source.
The ScareCrow motion-activated sprinkler is an excellent choice for a cat repellent water device and protects vast swaths of your yard.
Each sprinkler covers up to 1,200 square feet and can work in tandem with other units to provide complete yard coverage. Best of all, you water the yard each time you scare off a cat!
Sprinklers are also ideal to keep skunks away from your yard. The same principle applies to these unwanted creatures. They don’t like being sprayed with water and will go elsewhere to search for a meal.
Drive Off Cats with Sound Devices
Along with their sense of smell, cats have a finely tuned sense of hearing that they use to target prey or identify potential dangers. Cats can’t stand discordant or sudden sounds and try to stay far away from unpleasant noises.
You can use that to keep your yard feline-free and unmolested. There are many suitable motion-triggered sound devices you can buy to protect your garden. SsssCat! is a good example of this type of device.
Place the sound device next to a spot you wish to protect. When a cat approaches the area, the device will trigger and release a burst of compressed air. The noise will terrify strays and send them running.
Get Rid of Stray Cats with an Ultrasonic Repeller
Sound repellents are great, but they can repel more than cats. Noisemakers add noise pollution to your environment, so if you want to keep cats away with sound but don’t want to disturb your family or neighbors, choose an ultrasonic cat repeller.
Ultrasonic repellers work in much the same fashion as sound repellers, but they produce sounds in pitches that cats can hear but humans can’t. There are plenty of excellent ultrasonic pest repellers available for purchase such as the Pest Soldier.
Setup is generally quite easy and requires you to place the unit against an outside wall. Adjust the pitch to target specific animals, so your dog can enjoy the garden while cats avoid it.
Trap, Neuter, and Release Your Feral Cats
The best long-term solution to your issue of how to keep cats away is to reduce the feral cat population. Your local animal shelter removes cats from the environment, which leaves a vacuum that is quickly filled by other strays.
To take care of your feral cats for good, use a humane trap, and neuter your local strays. Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) is the most effective way to reduce feral cat colonies.
Place the traps in traffic areas that you know cats use, and bait the traps with food. Always wear protective clothing when you handle full traps to avoid bites and scratches. Bring the trapped cats to a local clinic, and get them spayed or neutered.
Release them back to the colony. Repeat until you’ve fixed all the feral cats. Eventually, the colony will shrink and disappear.
We hope that you had a great time checking our feral cat guide. Growing a garden means we can expect to get visits from stray cats, which is why it’s crucial to know how to keep stray cats away.
Our guide gives you tips and secrets to keep your yard happy and feline-free so that you and your family can enjoy your garden’s bounty.
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