Source: Homes and Gardens (Extract)
Posted: June 07, 2024

Dealing with stray cats can pose a common yet tricky challenge. Though endearing, they may wreak havoc indoors and wreak havoc on your yard.

To help you handle this issue compassionately, we’ve sought advice from pest control specialists to offer practical strategies for discouraging them from lingering on your property.

Much like dealing with squirrels, the key to deterring stray cats lies in identifying the factors that attract them to your space and implementing natural methods to alter this.

By tackling the underlying causes of their presence and comprehending their sensitivities and behaviors, you can effectively and kindly discourage stray cats. Here are four straightforward steps to achieve this.

How To Deter Stray Cats From Your Home And Yard

Brett Bennett, Director of Operations at PURCOR Pest Solutions, shares, “Based on my experience, cats tend to be highly sensitive to a variety of stimuli, ranging from active deterrents like sprinkler systems to unfamiliar or potent odors and unpleasant textures.” Utilizing these innate sensitivities presents an efficient and harmless approach to render your home and yard less attractive to stray cats, effectively deterring their presence.

1. Remove Attractants

“Start by pinpointing and eliminating any potential cat attractants,” suggests Bricks Coggin, CEO of ABCs Puppy Zs. “This entails securing trash bins, tidying up food remnants, and relocating bird feeders that could lure birds (and consequently, cats) into your yard.” Additionally, if you have a sandbox, employ lids or covers to deter cats from using them as litter boxes.

2. Use Natural Deterrents

Cats possess a keen sensitivity to scents, hence incorporating fragrances detested by garden pests can render your home and yard less appealing to felines, dissuading them from intruding into your space.

To achieve this, you can scatter coffee grounds (which also serve to enhance soil acidity), apply citronella spray, or position orange peels strategically around your patio, deck, or garden. Alternatively, you may opt to create a mixture of vinegar and water, then spray it in areas frequented by cats.

Moreover, Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love, suggests, “Numerous pest-repellent plants naturally deter cats due to their aroma. These include lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, and lemon thyme.”

“However,” he cautions, “many scents commonly recommended for repelling cats can pose toxicity risks to humans and pets if ingested, or in some cases, may cause skin irritation upon contact. Examples of such plants include pennyroyal, rue, and ‘scaredy-cat’ plants. Therefore, I would advise against planting them, as while they may deter cats, they can also inflict significant harm.”

3. Block Access Points

“Blocking access points to areas you want to keep cat-free is crucial,” emphasizes Dan Bailey, President at WikiLawn. “Cats are averse to certain textures. If you have a garden, laying down small-gauge chicken wire, such as this one available on Amazon, beneath the soil will effectively deter stray cats from your garden.” Additionally, lattice can be utilized to cover gaps beneath porches, decks, or sheds.

“Planting dense bushes or thorny vegetation along the perimeter can also discourage cats from entering,” Bailey advises. “Furthermore, mulching with rough-edged materials is another effective method as cats dislike walking on it.”

Check for any damaged fencing that could be facilitating cat access. Ensure that it is both tall and securely installed to effectively deter cats from entering your yard.

4. Use Motion-Activated Devices

“Cats are intelligent creatures and will avoid areas after experiencing negative consequences,” explains Nathan Thorne, a gardening expert at Handy Flowers. “Installing harmless physical deterrents that confuse or deter cats should eventually train them to avoid your home altogether.”

Ryan Farley, CEO of LawnStarter, suggests, “I’ve found motion-activated sprinklers to be highly effective for deterring stray cats, given their typical aversion to water! These sprinklers are entirely harmless and, when triggered, simply emit water like a standard sprinkler. Even the sound of activation is often enough to startle stray cats away, and they usually don’t return after a few scares.”

Alternatively, instead of purchasing motion-activated sprinklers, consider the Orbit B-hyve Smart 1-Outlet hose faucet sprinkler timer available at Walmart. This device can help conserve water in the long term by enabling you to remotely activate attached sprinklers when cats are spotted in your yard and turn them off as soon as they leave.

Moreover, ultrasonic repellent devices emit an audible sound frequency beyond the hearing range of cats, which startles them when they enter the emission range of the signal. It’s advisable to position these devices in easily visible areas, such as near pathways or gardens. For doorways, one device may suffice, but for larger areas, two or even three devices can prove useful.