Every once in a while, it is inevitable that you will get a visit from unwanted guest, one of them are the feral cats. Yes, different with cats that you keep as pet, feral cats are non-domesticated cats that born and survive in the wild. Based on Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery published in 2013, feral cats and indoor cats are extremely different. The level of socialization, ownership, and confinement give big influence to this difference. They are also different with stray cats who are actually pets but got separated from the owner. That’s why the characters of feral cats are shy and unsociable. Mostly they won’t allow human to touch or handle them. But that’s not the reason that these street cats won’t interfere and come to your garden or yard. If this happens, it will be the beginning of conflict between you and these intruders. Later we will give you 10 tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden. For the beginning, you need to know why they decide to come visiting your area.
What Attracts the Cats?
These feline strays decide to visit your garden, mostly due to their curiosity. They want to know whether your area has another source of food for them. They pursue small prey like mouse, and become effective hunter of small animals. Cats aim to access easily to your yard or inside the house. They can also enter to your house through the hole in the car port. It is easy for them to prowl through your yard, considering they survived living in close relation with human and adapting well with daily challenges. The other thing that attracts the cats is their need of finding partner. For the reason of mating, they will come to new area, especially during heat cycles. If you keep cat as your pet, then don’t be surprised if the male feral cats are coming during their mating season.
Next, their need to claim the territory is also the thing that attracts the cats. Feral cats are naturally nomadic, and they really love to spray urine in new areas to mark their territory. This is related closely to power. These feline cats also like to chase the wonderful soil that you carefully build in your garden. Unfortunately, they consider that as their natural litter box. The last thing that attracts the cats is fear. Maybe before coming to your area, the cats had harmful experience and looking for a new place as their shelter. That’s why it’s important that you never take actions that may harm the cats. The 10 tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden has been classified carefully to be the most effective and gentle ways.
What Are the Downside?
As we talked above the difference between indoor and feral cats, it is also important to discuss about the downside of their presence in your garden. It may be just a little fuss until big threat of parasites infection. We have summarized it for you below:
- Scare the Birds. Yup, if you have birds then there is no surprise that cats will intrude your garden and show off their power to the birds. This is annoying, especially for bird lovers.
- Scattered Garbage. As an animal with superior smelling ability, the trash bin in your garden will be the first thing that they visit. Cats will do their best to find leftover food for their lunch menu. Make sure that
- Pussyfooting Around. Actually cats know that they are unwanted by the house owner. But these smart animals will do their best to keep visiting your garden. Cats can defecate on your carefully nurtured seedlings and do it on repeat. This condition probably will make you upset and need to do these 10 tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden soon!
- Urine Spray. Like what we discussed above, cats like to spray their urine to mark their territory. To claim their power, then it’s no surprise that the smell of their urine can be so strong and disturbing.
- Your Garden Be Cats’ Litter Box. This is the last and most concerned downside of the presence of unwanted cats. The feces from feral cats is possibly containing bacteria, viruses, or Toxoplasma Gondii parasites. Researchers Drs. E. Fuller Torrey and Robert H. Yolken mentioned that cat poop is vast and underappreciated public health problem. This is dangerous, especially for pregnant women. The Toxoplasma parasites can be contagious if you have direct contact with them.
Even though you can’t control the time when feral cats intrude to your garden, there are ways to prevent it. First of all is keep your garden clean. Never leave any food sources outside. Keep it inside airtight container. Also make sure that your grill is clean and doesn’t attract cats to come over. You also need to check regularly the fences around your garden. Make sure that there is no hole that cats can get through. And if you find out cats’ urine spray on your property, wash it with enzyme-based odor neutralizer. This will work to prevent repeated spraying.
10 Tactics to Deter Unwanted Cats in Your Garden
It can be difficult to completely discourage feral cats from your garden. But it’s possible to succeed if you do conscientious attempts like what we suggest below:
1. Sound and Light Repellent Devices
The ultrasound devices work to soar high frequency sound that is not in our radar, but unbearable for cats. Face the devices toward your garden. Usually the sensor of these devices activated by detecting motion. Of course this will scary off these feline interlopers. Rather than the electronic devices, you can also make it by yourself. Place marbles in empty can and hang it on your fence. This will make sound once there is motion to the fence or by the wind.
Besides sound, you can also make light repellent tools. This one is an old method but believed to be useful until now. Place water in a bowl or bottle. The lights from the water will scare away the cats. You can also place unused CD and hang it on a thread to get flash of shining light. This tools work very best during daylight, or by the lights from your house at night.
2. Plant Repellent
When it comes about garden, then you can take the most benefit from what you plant. Choose the plant that also works as plant repellent. Coleus Canina, for example. This blue-flowered plant has strong aroma that cats hate the most. You can also choose lavender, pennyroyal, or rue. University of Vermont proofed that planting rue in your garden can be an effective way to repel the cats. Try to plant any of these choices in between your plants. You can also block boundary gaps in your garden with prickly plants. Don’t forget to install wire at 10 to 15 centimeter above top of your fences to prevent these feline to climb on.
3. Scent of Cats’ Enemies
Purchase powder that smells like cats’ enemies. Specifically it is similar with the urine smells of fox, bobcat, coyote, or other enemies of cats. Presented in granular form, you can easily sprinkle it around your garden. Don’t worry, these things are organic and safe for your kids and plants.
You can also sprinkle pepper under porch or grass. Use cayenne pepper flakes for better result. Once the cats step on it, they will be bothered by the taste during grooming time. Do this repeatedly so that the cats will notice that stepping in your garden is the culprit of all the discomfort.
4. Smells That Cats Hate
There are many things that cats can’t stand the smell. Peels of orange, lemon, grapefruit, citrus, and lime are one of them. The acid ingredient of apple cider vinegar can also be your choice. You can also consider using coffee grounds, mothballs, and ground mustard. Reapply after rain to maintain the effectiveness. But never use peppermint oil spray to deter unwanted cats because it is not safe and may cause Pneumonia and other diseases to the cats.
5. Cats vs Water
Yes, until now, water is still the thing that most of the cats hate. You can have fun with one of 10 tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden. Fill your water gun and squirt the cats with water directly. This can be done when you see the feral cats on sight. But if you can’t manage to standby all the time, place automatic water sprayer device around your garden. This device works by detecting intruders’ presence. Once the sensor detects, it will spray water to random area, including where your feline invaders sneak!
6. Decongestant Oil
Pick decongestant oil such as Olbas and apply it on used teabags. Place it around the area where the cats littered. Later, when they are coming again to their own claimed sanctuary, cats won’t like the smell. By doing this, cats will look for another place to do their nasty business.
7. Make Cat Friendly Area
The reason why cats choose your garden at the first place is due to no choice. They prefer to stay in your garden as their shelter because that’s the most comfortable place for now. Change the way it works by making cat friendly area. Plant catnip to attract them. Prepare sandbox near the catnip for their litter box. Once they notice this place, they will choose it to be their private sanctuary.
8. Install the Wire
Don’t be hesitate to install chicken wire on your perfectly mulched soil. Due to the wire, the cats will find it difficult to walk on. Don’t worry, you can still plant your plants by cutting the wire with cutter and install it. You can also wrap the tree trunks, one of the places that cats attracted to, with wire. Previously we were talking about cats chase the wonderful soil of your garden. Make sure that you don’t spare any loose and dry soil. Keep the moisture and manure content of your soil. Cats hate wet ground. You can also install sharp-edged pine cones, stone, or egg shells to make it harder for cats to prowling through your garden.
9. Prevent Heat Cycles
One of the highlight of feral cats coming to your house is during mating season. Male cats are attracted to female cats during their heat. If you have female cat, keep her indoor and minimize the contact between them. Wait until the mating season finished and you can loosen your guard a bit afterwards.
10. Trap, Neuter, and Return
This well-known program might be one of 10 tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden. How to do it, just simply the procedure of the program. You can trap the unwanted cats and bring them to the clinic for spay or neuter service. Later, return them to the place where you originally trapped them. You can ask community program or local support about this TNR step.
After examining these 10 tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden, what you need to do is remember that cats are very smart animal. They will eventually find a way to interfere your garden and make it as their sanctuary. That’s why it is important to change your tactics regularly. Do it in random areas so that cats can’t predict it. You can also mix these tactics to deter unwanted cats in your garden with yours, based on real experience. It will be more likely lead to successful way.
You can also consider to spread the word, talk to your neighbors. Maybe they have the same mission like you, to deter unwanted cats? Who knows? You can work together with them if that’s the situation. Don’t forget to place your bird feeders safely. Regarding the possibility of Toxoplasma parasite spread, please always make sure that you wear gloves and towels while cleaning cats’ feces. Wash the tools thoroughly afterwards. When you are about to throw away the feces, wrap it in double garbage and close it tightly. Most importantly, never take actions that will harm the cats. Good luck!