You might be an animal lover—that doesn't mean you want your home to be an open house for the neighborhood's feral cats and strays. Free-roaming cats can be vehicles for diseases and fleas. And they don't care whether they're ruining your carefully-tended plants while strolling through your garden or going potty in your backyard. Cats are jumpers, so a fence often isn't enough to keep impostors away. You can employ several methods to deter local felines from entering your property, and you might have to use them simultaneously for the best results.
You can use various sound barriers to force cats to give your home a wide berth. Depending on how handy you are, you might want to create a homemade device that sets off an unpleasant noise when a cat disturbs it. Or fork out a little more for a battery-operated gadget with motion sensors. It will emit a high-frequency noise that chases cats away but won't disturb you or your neighbors.
Consider using scent-based tactics to keep potentially smelly cats off your lawn. Cats have 40 times more odor receptors than humans, and their olfactory abilities make them particularly sensitive to certain scents. Some of the best organic and non-toxic cat repellents mimic the smell of predator urine to keep stray cats at bay. You can spray these chemicals around your lawn once a week or more frequently if you live in a place with a rainy climate. Or you can sprinkle granules around your green space.
Add flora to the faux fauna and get some scaredy-cat plants for your odor barrier. Cats smell these plants, aka plectranthus caninus or coleus canina, and think they're getting whiffs of dog pee. Citronella, lavender, lemongrass, pennyroyal, rue, or rosemary are good alternative options, and some of them put dogs and deer off, all while smelling amazing. Wet coffee grounds can be effective, as can mothballs and bloodmeal. You could also use citrus rinds, and if you think they look unsightly, citrus essential oils can do the trick.
Cats aren't keen on walking on aluminum foil. In addition to having a great sense of smell, cats are good listeners, at least literally. They hear much more than we do, and the rustling sound of foil puts them on edge and irritates their sensitive ears. Also, cats hate getting drenched in water, and reflective foil sure looks a lot like water. Lay the foil down with something heavy to hold it in place. If you don't have foil, try bubblewrap.
We've already established that cats don't like water, so using motion-activated sprinklers to spray real deal H20 could be just the solution for you. The distinct sound of the system activating can be enough to send intruders scurrying away. But you'll need other deterrents if you deal with freezing winters because sprinklers will cease to sprinkle.
To ensure your backyard doesn't end up as a favored locale for stray solo cats or, gasp, a mating spot, you can use physical deterrents to block cats' entry or ease of movement. Fences should have spiky tops if possible. A humane electric wire fence works well if you've got room in your budget. You can also lay chicken wire atop your soil border. Or apply a stony mulch or other rough-textured materials and objects such as pine cones or eggshells to make cats think twice about where they put their paws.
There are viral videos showing housecats reacting instinctively to cucumbers on the ground. They jump out of their proverbial skin because they think the salad ingredient is a snake. Rubber toy snakes have a similar effect on stray cats and can send them packing. Just be sure that you don't scare any visitors or create harmful confusion if you live in an area prone to seeing snakes.
Does your yard have all the makings of a stray cat playground? Dirt, piled-up leaf waste, and nooks and crannies can attract mice and rats and turn your garden into a buffet for feline passersby. Cover holes that allow cats to nestle under your deck or hide in your storage areas, and clean up regularly.
Cats are appearing in your backyard because they find it attractive. Perhaps you barbeque often, and the meaty aroma or leftovers in your grill are irresistible to carnivorous mammals on the prowl. Maybe you're tempting hungry cats with bird-attracting feeders or a food-laden trash can that's easy to spot from outside your property. Whatever the drawcard, address it. If a cat does make its way into your abode, be sure to wash away any trace of its urine. This plot of land is your territory—it's just a visitor!
Accommodate stray cats with a sandpit they can use as a litter box. This solution isn't for everyone, but it might appeal to you if your biggest gripe is the random cat poop you find dotted around your sanctuary. A sandbox filled with soft sand from your local hardware store is ideal and will limit poop to one area. The sandbox should continue to serve its purpose if you clean it regularly.
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