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How To Keep Cats Away from Your Garden & Property

Whether you live in the city or the country, it can be difficult to keep stray cats from coming onto your property. Stray cats can bring fleas into your yard, which might get tracked into your home and onto any pets you might have. It can also tear up your garden, dig holes, and scatter dirt. If you have birdhouses, plants that attract butterflies, or other animals in your yard, a stray can kill them quickly. If you want to keep cats out of your yard, keep reading while we discuss several different methods you can try.

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Why Do Stray Cats Come On My Property?

There are several reasons why stray cats will come to your property.

Territory

cat_Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay
Image Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

Cats have a complex method of marking their territory. There is a good chance that the cats that visit your yard do so because they consider it part of their environment. A territory can be several miles long, so the cat can take more than one day to return. Some stray cats can even detect a cat in your home and could come to your property to challenge your pet for the territory.

Breeding

Many people don’t realize that a garden can provide a perfect place for cats to breed. The plants provide excellent cover, and if you don’t spend a lot of time out there during the day, they might feel as if they have the place to themselves.

Hunting

cat and rat
Image Credit: Nicholas_Demetriades, Pixabay

As we mentioned earlier, if you have birdhouses in your yard or a garden with plants that attract butterflies, they can attract cats looking for the hunt. Birds can provide a good source of food for a stray cat, and if your feeder makes it easy to get a meal, it will spend a lot of time in your yard.

Hunger

Besides birds and butterflies, stray cats can come to your yard for other foods, including mice, rabbits, or other rodents. It might also detect food in your garbage can that it is trying to acquire.

How Can I Prevent Cats From Coming On My Property?

cat and bird_Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova, Shutterstock

There are several steps you can take to help deter stray cats from coming onto your property.

  • Mice and rats will attract cats. If you have them on your property, setting traps to remove them will cause the cats to seek them elsewhere.
  •  Cats will eat lots of human foods that can end up in the trash, inviting cats to search your garbage cans. Keep the bags tightly closed, and if you have a can, make sure the lid is securely in place at all times.
  • Look over your yard to make sure there are no areas that a stray cat might use as shelter. Holes in the ground and tall grass in the corner make excellent hiding places that a cat can use to hunt for birds and other prey.
  • You can try calling the animal shelter or animal control to collect the stray cats around your home.
  • You can use enzyme cleaners like Bac-Out to destroy the pheromones that cats use to mark their territory. You can use this cleaner on your porch, sidewalks, and garbage cans to help remove your property from the cat’s territory. You may need to reapply the cleaner several times until the cat moves on to another area.
  • If you have bird feeders in your yard, make sure they are high enough that a cat can’t catch the birds while feeding. While the cat may still stalk the feeders, it should grow frustrated and move on if it cannot gather any food.
  • Placing pieces of an orange or lemon peel around your garden can help discourage cats from using it as a place to mate. The rinds can also help deter bugs and rodents from attacking your plants.
  • Planting herbs like lavender, eucalyptus, basil, and thyme will also help discourage cats from visiting your yard. Cats hate these plants and will usually avoid yards that have them.
  • Cedar chips are another scent that will discourage cats from visiting your yard. Cedar chips are inexpensive and make an attractive mulch that you can use to spruce up your yard while ridding it of the local cats.
  • You can also use coffee and vinegar to create a scent that cats will avoid. Coffee grounds in the garden work especially well.
  • Aluminum foil may look unsightly, but cats do not like to walk on it, so you can place it in key areas of your yard to keep the cats away.
  • Chicken wire is difficult to walk over, and they will avoid it when they can. You can place chicken wire where the cats are entering your yard to help keep them out.
  • Spending more time in your yard can help discourage cats from coming around. They are a routine-based animal that usually follows a strict schedule. If you stop it from coming into your yard a few times, it will find something else that it gets in the habit of doing.

What To Avoid

We recommend avoiding methods that can harm the cat, like poison or using a weapon. While there is a good chance the cat visiting your yard is feral, it can also be someone’s pet, and you could end up with a lawsuit by using these methods. Attempting to scare the cat can cause it to become aggressive, leading to it attacking you or your family members or causing more damage to your yard.

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Of the methods described above, we found that sealing up the garbage, raising the bird feeders, and using enzyme cleaners worked well to get rid of the cats visiting our yard. If the cats are persistent, we recommend finding out how they are coming in and placing cedar ships around the area with some chicken wire. After a few days, the cats should stop coming around.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found a few tricks you want to try out. If we have helped eliminate your unwanted guests, please share this guide to keeping cats away from your garden on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: Katarzyna Kosianok, Pixabay