How to Get Rid of Stray Cats? 13 Humane Ways

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Do you have a problem with stray cats in your neighborhood? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves dealing with this issue every day.

There are a number of ways to get rid of stray cats, but some methods are more effective than others.

In this blog post, we will discuss ways to get rid of stray cats and keep them out of your neighborhood for good!

3 stray cats lying on the ground that most people would like to get rid of if they are in their yard.

Why Do I Have Stray Cats In My Backyard?

There are a number of reasons why you may have stray cats in your backyard. One reason is that they are looking for food.

If you have an outdoor garbage can or pet food bowl, this can attract stray cats to your property. Another reason is that they are looking for shelter.

If you have a shed, garage, or other structure that provides shelter from

1. They’re Looking For (Or Have Found) Food

One reason feral and stray cats may be hanging around your property is that they’re looking for food.

If you have an outdoor garbage can or pet food bowl, this can attract stray cats to your property.

They may also have found a water source, such as a swimming pool, fountain, or birdbath. Even a leaky outdoor faucet can attract cats in search of water.

Cars may also hunt for other small animals to eat, including rodents, lizards, and birds. If you have a lot of these animals on your property, it may attract cats as well.

2. Your Neighbor’s Cats Are Visiting

It’s possible that the cats you’re seeing are your neighbor’s pets. Many cat owners allow their domesticated cats to roam freely, and they may visit your property in search of food or water.

You may be able to identify them as neighborhood cats by looking for a tag or collar. If you see this on a wandering cat, it likely has an owner, or may even be lost.

3. They’re Seeking Shelter

Especially in urban areas, it’s increasingly more difficult for stray cats and feral cats to find adequate shelter.

If you have a raised porch, shed, or garage, this can provide a perfect place for them to take refuge from the elements.

Feral cats will also create their own dens by digging under bushes or porches. If you see a cat den on your property, this is likely why you’re seeing more cats around.

4. They Lived There Before You Moved In

If you just moved into a new home, it’s possible that the cats you’re seeing are holdovers from the previous owner.

These cats may have been used to having free access to your property and may not have adjusted to the new ownership.

They could have migrated there on their own or even have been the pets of the previous tenants. Either way, they have a level of comfort with the property and aren’t deterred by new people.

5. Territories Have Shifted

Cats are very territorial creatures, and their home ranges can extend for several miles. If there has been construction in your neighborhood or other changes to the landscape, this could cause cats to shift their territories.

This means that they may start using your property as part of their new territory. If you have seen an influx of cats in your neighborhood, this may be the case.

6. They Are Mating

When it’s that time of the year, cats that aren’t spayed or neutered will try to mate. This can cause both male and female cats to roam further from home in search of a mate.

Not only will this result in more cats in your neighborhood, but it can also lead to fighting and noise as they compete for mates. This is one of the most common reasons for an increase in stray cats during certain times of the year.

7. A Litter Was Born Nearby

A stray cat with its kittens lying of the ground

 

If a female cat has given birth nearby, you may start seeing more cats around your property. This can result in kittens appearing on your doorstep or in your yard.

While they may be cute, it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and can be dangerous. It may also upset the mother if you handle her kittens.

The mother cat will also be looking for food to feed her litter, which can attract her to your property.

So you may see a pregnant mother cat around your home as well.

13 Ways to Get Rid of Stray Cats (Humanely)

Here are a few ways that you can get rid of stray cats safely:

1. Remove Any Food Sources

The first step to getting rid of cats is to remove any food sources that may be attracting them. If you keep your garbage can outside, make sure it has a tight lid that the cats can’t open.

Otherwise, consider relocating it into a garage or shed.

You should also bring pet food bowls inside at night so that they aren’t left out as an easy meal for wandering cats. If you have a bird feeder, this can also attract cats.

Consider taking it down or moving it to a location that the cats can’t reach.

2. Close Off Areas That Are Used As Shelter

Take a look around your home and find any areas that could be used as shelter by cats. This includes porches, raised decks, sheds, and garages.

If there are any gaps or holes, seal them up so that the cats can’t get in.

You may also want to trim back any bushes or trees that are close to your home. This will remove potential hiding spots for cats and make it less likely for them to approach your home.

3. Try a Cat Repellent Spray

Commercial cat repellents are made of natural ingredients that will deter cats without harming them. You can spray this around the perimeter of your property to keep cats away.

They usually include scents that cats don’t like, such as citrus or lavender.

You can also make your own cat repellent spray bottle at home using vinegar and water. Simply mix equal parts of each ingredient in a spray bottle and apply it to areas where you’ve seen the cats.

Just be warned that vinegar can also harm plants, so be careful where you spray it.

4. Use Motion Sensor Sprinklers

Cats dislike water and will usually avoid areas that are sprayed with it. Motion sensor sprinklers can be a great way to keep cats away from your property without having to constantly monitor them.

You can set these up around the perimeter of your yard and they will automatically turn on when they detect motion. The sudden burst of water will startle the cat and deter them from coming back.

Just be sure to position the sprinklers so that they don’t spray onto any public sidewalks or roads, as this could cause accidents.

5. Put Down Humane Traps

If you want to get rid of a stray cat, you can try using a humane trap. These traps are designed to capture the cat without harming it.

A spring trap is the most common type of humane trap, which uses bait to lure the cat inside. Once the cat steps on the trigger, the door will close and they’ll be trapped.

Once you have the cat in your custody, work quickly to contact animal services and control so that they can advise you on what to do next. They may also come to pick up the cat themselves.

Humane traps are available for purchase at most pet stores or online. You can also rent them from some animal shelters.

Keep in mind that other critters may be attracted to the bait you’re using, so be sure to check the trap regularly.

6. Use Predatory Urine 

Cats are naturally repelled by their predators and will usually stay away from areas where they sense these animals are present. You can purchase bottles of predatory urine, such as fox urine, at most sporting goods stores.

Spray this around the perimeter of your property to deter cats from coming near. The scent will also help to mask any other smells that might be attracting them.

Predatory urine can also be used to deter other animals, such as rabbits, deer, and squirrels.

You will need to re-apply this solution after it rains or it evaporates over time.

7. Try Out an Ultrasonic Device

You can use an ultrasonic device to keep unwanted cats out of your outdoor area. These work by emitting a high-pitched sound that is only audible to animals.

When the device is turned on, it will emit a loud noise that will startle the cat and deter them from coming back. It isn’t harmful to the animal in any way, so you can use it as often as needed.

Ultrasonic devices are available for purchase online or at most home improvement stores.

Just be sure to read the instructions carefully before using one, as they can also affect other animals such as dogs and birds.

8. Have a Conversation With Your Neighbor

If you suspect that the cat owner of this stray is your neighbor, it’s time to have a chat with them. Talk to them about the issue and see if they’re willing to do something about it.

If they’re not receptive to your concerns, you can try reaching out to animal control or your local police department. They may be able to help mediate the situation.

9. Protect Your Flowerbeds With Sharp Materials

If your cat is turning your beautiful garden bed into a litter box, you can protect this area by covering the ground with sharp materials.

Pinecones, chicken wire, eggshells, broken ceramics, and gravel are all great options. The sharp edges will deter the cat from walking on them and using the area as a bathroom since cats hate the sensation of them on their paws.

You can also try planting certain herbs and spices that cats don’t like, such as lavender, rosemary, and citronella. This is a great natural way to reduce the feral cat population in your backyard.

10. Keep Your Cats Indoors

If you have domestic cats at home, make sure to keep them indoors at all times. Outdoor cats are more likely to come into contact with stray cats and contract diseases.

They’re also more likely to get into fights with other animals or get pregnant if they aren’t spayed or neutered.

By keeping your cats indoors, you can help reduce the number of strays in your neighborhood and keep them safe at the same time.

11. Install Motion Activated Lights

If you have a problem with stray cats coming onto your property at night, try installing some motion-activated lights. These will startle the cat and deter them from returning.

It will also help to tip you off when they’re coming around, so you can take action.

You can find motion-activated lights at most home improvement stores or online. Be sure to position them in strategic places around your property so that they cover all of the potential entry points.

12. Make a Plan With Your Neighbors

It can be hard to get stray and feral cats out of your backyard when they’re in control of your whole block.

You can connect with your neighbors and make a plan to trap, spay/neuter, and release or relocate the cats together.

This will take some time and effort, but it’s worth it if you can get the population under control. You can also look into starting a TNR program in your neighborhood.

13. Call Animal Control

If you’ve tried all of the above methods and nothing has worked, it’s time to call animal control. They will be able to come out and assess the situation.

From there, they can help you create a plan to get rid of the stray cats.

They may also be able to provide you with resources such as traps or spay/neuter clinics.

Avoid These Techniques For Removing Stray Cats

You may have heard of the following methods for getting rid of stray cats, but we advise against using them. These methods are inhumane and can cause the animal more harm than good.

They may even be against the law in most cases.

Toxic or Poisonous Chemicals

Do not use any toxic or poisonous chemicals to kill or harm stray cats. This includes things like rat poison, antifreeze, and other harmful substances.

Not only is this cruel, but it can also be dangerous for you and your family if the cat sees you as a threat and decides to attack.

Inhumane Traps

There are some traps on the market that are designed to harm or kill animals, but these should never be used on stray cats. They can cause the animal a lot of pain and suffering before they finally die.

If you must use a trap, make sure it is approved by your local humane society.

Using Weapons

Do not shoot, throw rocks at, or otherwise use weapons to harm stray cats. This is inhumane and can cause the animal a lot of pain and suffering. It’s also illegal in most cases.

It’s usually only legal for stray cats to be euthanized in painless and humane ways in facilities that are authorized to do so.

Involving Household Pets

Some people think that by letting their dog or cat outside, they will take care of the stray problem. This is not only dangerous for your pet, but it’s also cruel to the strays.

Your pets could get hurt or even killed in a fight with a feral cat.

Additionally, your pet could contract diseases from strays if they come into contact with them. It’s best to keep your pets indoors where they will be safe.

How To Tell If a Cat Is a Stray Cat or a Feral Cat

A close up photo of a possibly stray cat that looks aggressive that people may want to get rid of.

 

A stray cat is a pet cat that has been abandoned or has lost its home, while a feral cat is a wildcat that has not been socialized with humans. Stray cats are often tame and friendly, while feral cats are usually fearful of people.

Of course, many felines have many different personalities and there is no sure way to tell if a cat is stray or feral just by looking at it. However, there are a few things you can look for that may give you a clue:

The easiest way to tell if a cat is feral or stray is by its behavior around people. A feral cat will usually hiss, growl, or run away when approached by a human, while a stray cat may be more curious or even friendly.

Another way to tell if a cat is feral or stray is by its appearance. A feral cat may have matted fur, an unkempt appearance, and look generally unhealthy.

A stray cat may also have some of these same characteristics but may not be as extreme.

If you’re still not sure if a cat is feral or stray, the best thing to do is to contact your local animal shelter or rescue group for assistance.

How Can I Tell If a Stray Cat Has Been Spayed or Neutered?

Photo of a cat with a tipped ear

 

In some urban areas, there are catch and release programs for feral cats. This means that the cat is trapped, taken to a vet to be spayed or neutered, and then released back into the wild.

If you see a cat that you think may have been part of a catch-and-release program, there are a few ways to tell if it has been spayed or neutered. One way is to look for a tipped left ear.

This is a universal sign that a feral cat has been spayed or neutered.

Another way to tell if a cat has been spayed or neutered is by its behavior. A fixed (spayed or neutered) feral cat will usually be less aggressive and more docile than an unfixed feral cat.

Do I Have to Get Rid of Stray Cats?

No, you don’t have to get rid of stray cats. In fact, many people choose to feed and care for stray cats instead.

However, if you do choose to feed and care for stray cats, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

The first thing you need to do is make sure the cat is healthy. You don’t want to attract disease to yourself or any indoor pets.

A sick cat is likely to be more aggressive and dangerous since it is distressed.

Next, you should make sure the cat is spayed or neutered. This will help to cut down on aggression, spraying, and other unwanted behaviors.

Look for the clipped ear tip as a sign that the cat has been fixed.

Caring for a stray cat can be rewarding, but it’s important to remember that they are still wild animals. Be sure to use caution when interacting with them and always put your safety first.

If you have any concerns, it’s best to contact a professional for help.

You can contact your local animal shelter or rescue group to find out more about caring for stray cats. They can provide you with resources and advice on how to best take care of the cat.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to get rid of stray cats. Try out a few of these methods and see which ones work best for you.

Remember to be patient, as it may take some time to see results. And always avoid using any inhumane techniques, as they can cause the animal a lot of pain and suffering.

Most importantly, remember that you are not required to get rid of stray cats. If you enjoy having them around or if you have the space and resources to care for them, there is no reason why you can’t keep them in your outdoor spaces.

If they aren’t posing much of a problem and are mostly just passing through, you may be comfortable seeing them around.

When you need support, always contact your local animal shelter or humane center for resources. They will be more than happy to help you out and guide you in the right direction.

Photo showing a cat with a text overlay that reads How to Get Rid of Stray Cats

 

About Emma

Hey there! I'm Emma. When I'm not wrangling kids I like to walk aimlessly around hardware stores and watch HGTV for hours on end.