Cats can be incredible pets, but not everyone is a cat person. Even if you are a cat person, it can be very unsettling to look outside and see a cat in your yard that doesn’t belong to you! If you don’t want to call animal control on these furry felines, there is still a lot you can do to keep stray cats away from your house.
However, a call to animal control is still a good idea, as they will spay and neuter them to cut back on the stray cat population. Like any other unwanted critter, stray cats can be a real nuisance, especially if you have a garden or flower beds.
From digging and messing up your flowers, to marking their territory with pee, strays can cause many problems. The next time you find poop from the neighborhood cats in your garden beds, use one of our tried and true techniques for keeping cats away.
Many of our natural cat repellent methods are low-cost and use accessible materials. They are also all harmless to the cats, so you don’t have to feel bad about scaring the strays away.
Eleven Strategies to Deter Stray Cats from Your House
1. Keep Stray Cats Away from Your House with Repellent
One of the easiest ways to turn your property into a feline-free space is to make a homemade cat repellent spray to keep cats away. This spray has ingredients that repel cats and is easy to make with just a few supplies.
Combine the vinegar and water in a spray bottle and swirl it. Squirt in some dish soap, place the cap on the bottle and shake to ensure mixing.
Spray around your property in areas where the cats go. This includes gardens, bird feeders or other food sources, or a sandbox, which is basically a big outdoor litter box.
2. Lay Down Chicken Wire to Keep Strays Away
Outdoor cats will look for anything that they can use as their litter box, and that includes your garden. To stop cats from peeing in your flower beds, lay down chicken wire flat in your soil before planting. You can use wire cutters to make spaces for your plants to grow through.
Chicken wire is excellent at keeping stray cats away because they don’t like the feel of the fence on their paws. They’ll steer clear of any space where you place the chicken wire on the ground.
3. How to Repel Stray Cats with Water
Another thing that cats dislike is water. If you’re looking for one of the best ways to keep stray cats away from your porch, then squirt them with a little bit of water. Keep a full spray bottle nearby so you can do it yourself, or set up a motion-sensor sprinkler to do the job for you.
This is such an effective method of how to repel stray cats that there are animal-specific sprinklers you can purchase. These devices sense the presence of the critters and spray right at the unwanted visitors.
4. Plant Coleus canina
If you want to know how to keep feral cats out of the yard, look no further than the Coleus canina plant. Otherwise known as the Scaredy Cat plant, this herb emits a smell that repels cats and other small mammals.
Though it will add a nice splash of color to your yard, you should be careful where you plant it. The Coleus canina plant gives off a skunk-like smell when someone or something brushes up against it, so keep it far from areas with heavy foot traffic.
If you can’t find Coleus canina at your local garden center, there are several other plants that cats can’t stand. Plant a few of these around your yard, and your neighbors’ cats will stay away.
5. Use Texture as Cat Deterrent
Cats’ paws are sensitive, and there are many textures that they cannot stand. Lay down rough materials like sandpaper on surfaces that strays jump up onto often. Other substances that deter cats are aluminum foil, double-sided tape, and the underside of a carpet runner.
While these materials all work for outdoor areas, they are also ideally suited for indoor cats, as well. If you have a pet cat that keeps strolling around a forbidden space, lay down one of these textured surfaces to keep them away.
6. Lay Down Ground Cover
If you keep seeing strays urinating in your gardens, laying down ground cover is a quick way to get rid of that problem. Sprinkle gravel around your garden, or spread out mulch, or even place pine cones around to prevent cats from walking where they shouldn’t.
These ground cover tricks work for the same reason as sandpaper and aluminum foil; cats can’t stand the feeling on their paws. Any substance that has a bristly texture works as ground cover to keep feral cats away.
7. How to Keep Feral Cats Out of the Yard with Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds can also work as an excellent ground cover in your garden, and not just because it’s a top-notch fertilizer. Just as cats’ paws are sensitive, so is their sense of smell. One scent they don’t like is coffee.
Coffee grounds work best if they’re used, as they have a stronger scent. So, the next time you make coffee, re-use your grounds by tossing them in your garden or any other area where curious cats have been hanging around.
8. Find the Right Scents
In addition to coffee grounds, there are many different scents that cats detest. One of the most effective scents for scaring off cats (and dogs) is moth balls.
However, they are toxic to small animals, so place them in a glass container. Poke holes in the lid, so the bottle emits a smell, and put them around your yard.
Cats also can’t stand any citrusy smells. That means you can recycle your citrus peels by throwing them in your back yard to keep the strays at bay. Throw out orange or lemon peels, or sprinkle some citronella oil around popular areas.
You can also use cayenne pepper, though the furry critters have a much harsher reaction to the capsaicin chemical found in it, so we recommend one of the less potent options.
You can also make simple cat repellent sprays by mixing any citrus-based essential oil with water. Mix one part oil with three parts water and spray wherever needed.
9. Install Ultrasound Devices
Ultrasound technology is a common technique for keeping away unwanted pests like mice, and it is also useful for cats. Ultrasound devices use high-frequency sounds to annoy the creatures, making this a low-effort method of cat repellent. Plug it in near the area where the cats like to roam.
While the high-frequency sound these devices emit is unbearable to strays, it is undetectable to the human ear. When setting them up, make sure the instrument is facing whichever direction the cats like to hang out.
10. Lure Stray Cats Elsewhere
One of the best ways to keep strays away from some regions of your property is to entice them to hang out somewhere else. If you want to keep cats away from your garden or other spaces, set up a little hideaway in an area far away from where you don’t want them.
Create an outdoor litter box by building a sandbox, or plant catnip in the corner of your property. The cats will gladly hang out there instead of pooping and peeing in your beautiful flower beds or getting into other kinds of trouble. Though this obviously won’t get rid of the strays, it is a nice compromise to keep them away from the human-only areas.
11. Keep Your Yard Clean to Prevent Visits from Strays
As always, preventative measures are some of the most effective tactics for keeping unwanted visitors away. Clean up your yard so there isn’t anything there to attract strays in the first place.
The main thing to look for when cleaning is anything that may be a food source. This means no feeding any of your own pets outside, and keeping bird feeders in areas where cats can’t get to them. It also means cleaning up after yourself whenever you are grilling food or having an outdoor barbeque.
Make sure your trash cans are inaccessible and that you clear away any spots that attract small prey like mice. Seal up any entrances or holes in garages or sheds where strays might seek shelter.
Additionally, monitor your property for any areas with cat urine and wash it away with an enzyme cleaner. Cats return to spaces that are marked with urine.
Now that you know what keeps cats away, you can use these techniques to cat-proof your property. It is easy to prevent these furry felines from visiting without causing them any harm.
Our humane methods are low-cost and easy to set up using items you likely already have in your home. Follow any of our natural ways of keeping strays away and your home will be free of these unwanted guests in no time!
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