How to Keep Feral Cats Away from Your House
Neighborhood cats showing up on your doorstep might seem harmless, but when a feral cat decides your yard is a good place to camp out, it can lead to a number of issues. Your lawn becomes an open litter box, birds an easy meal, and your basement the perfect place to raise kittens.
In this article, we’ll go over how to keep cats away with safe and effective methods, including:
- Identifying stray vs feral cats
- Preventative measures
- Natural, non-toxic repellents
- Humane scare tactics
The first step is to identify whether you’re dealing with a stray cat or a feral cat.
A stray cat might be well socialized and well-kept, as they have been domesticated at some point in their life. In this case, it’s best to take the cat to your local vet or shelter to scan for a microchip in case they wandered away from home. If not, the shelter can find a loving home for them.
If you decide to keep them, check out how to train an outdoor cat to become an indoor cat.
On the other hand, a feral cat will be very skittish because they have never been socialized. They may look less well-kept and display aggressive behavior. It’s important to be cautious when dealing with a feral cat to keep yourself and any other pets out of harm’s way.
If you have a stray cat in your yard, we recommend calling your local animal shelter for advice. Many shelters will TNR the cat (trap-neuter-return) feral cats as a part of a larger effort to control feral cat colonies. They will likely release the cat back into an established feral colony in the area, or they will place them up for adoption as a barn cat.
One way to keep strays out of your yard is to avoid leaving behind scents that will attract them to your home.
Make sure to remove any food sources that might attract feral cats to your yard. Feeding your pets inside rather than out back keeps the yard scent-free. Cleaning fire pits and grills regularly control odors that can attract cats.
If you have bird feeders, try and clean the ground underneath regularly to keep the birds up high. If they hang around the ground to pick up leftover seed, they are easy prey for a hungry feral cat.
If you still find that feral cats are frequenting your yard, you can try DIY repellants to deter them. Here are a few to try out:
- Fill flower beds with eggshells or sharp pebbles to make them a less appealing place to hang out
- Fill compost bins with orange peels or other citrus scents to deter cats from digging in there for food
- If you notice a particular spot the stray cat hangs out, try covering the ground in that area with aluminum foil, which cats do not like to walk on
- Use homemade citrus sprays (some water and lemon juice should do the trick) to leave an unpleasant scent for cats on any furniture or areas they seem to frequent
If the above deterrents aren’t effective, there are a few other options to try out to keep feral and stray cats away from your yard. Try installing motion-activated sprinklers that go off when they sense movement nearby, this can safely scare away a cat searching for food in your yard.
You can also use bright, motion-activated lights around your house near trash cans, flower beds, or other areas that might be attractive to a stray cat. The bright light will likely scare away a feral cat who wants to stay away from people.
If you’ve tried everything above with no luck, one option is to use a humane trap to capture the cat and bring them to a shelter. Once at a shelter, they will be cared for and placed in the right home-- whether that be with a family or as a barn cat.Every Endura Flap Pet Door comes with a secure locking cover, which we recommend using at night, particularly if stray cats are an issue. If you are worried about stray cats coming inside through the cat door, you can try adding additional magnets to increase the resistance of the flap, making it harder for stray cats to use.