Outdoor Cats

Community Cat

Community cats is an umbrella term for feral, stray, alley, and/or otherwise ownerless free-roaming cats. Healthy community cats have a caregiver and may be valued by multiple residents of the neighborhood. In areas with substantial populations of unaltered cats, colonies will likely form. Colonies can grow drastically in number in a relatively short period of time. In seven years a pair of cats and their offspring can yield 42,000 cats.

Once fixed, these cats will be better neighbors. They will not be as likely to engage in problem behaviors like yowling, fighting, or spraying. Best of all, they will not be reproducing and increasing the number of homeless cats.

An intact community cat that is brought into the shelter to participate in the TNR Program is, at times, an indicator of a larger unaltered population. This acts as a flag for Animal Services staff to provide additional follow-up and support in the areas of our community that need it most.TNR is supported by numerous cities and counties as the only proven way to effectively control feral cat population growth.

TNR Program

In order to humanely decrease the stray cat populations, Grand Prairie Animal Services and volunteers coordinate a free community cat fix program called "Trap-Neuter-Return" (TNR).

The TNR program involves (1) trapping all or most of the cats in a colony, (2) getting them sterilized and (3) releasing them. Cats returned to the community are tipped on the left ear to identify them as sterilized.


Repelling Stray Feral/Community Cats from your Property

Regardless of whether you’re a cat person, In order to humanely decrease the stray cat nuisance we found a few useful tips. We don't want you to hurt them,  just keep them away, Read on to discover the best ways to secure the perimeter of your yard and garden so the neighborhood cats will leave you in peace. Grand Prairie Animal Services suggests the following humane ways to keep cats away from your property.

1. Sprinkle Scented Repellents in your Garden

Citrus, coffee grounds, and pipe tobacco keep cats away. Coffee grounds and tobacco also make excellent mulch, so they'll feed your garden while keeping the cats away. You do have to continually refresh these repellents every few days as the scent fades so they'll keep working.

  • Essential oils, such as lemongrass, lavender, citronella, or eucalyptus, are also good scent repellents.[1]
  • If you brew coffee every morning, save your spent grounds so you can scatter them in your garden once a week or so.
  • These smells also work indoors to control your pet cats! For example, wipe counters down with citrus-scented cleaners or spray furniture with lavender-scented fabric freshener.

2. Herbs that Cats Hate

Cats often avoid herbs with strong scents. There are some herbs, in particular, that cats tend to dislike more than others. If you're going to choose only one thing, go with coleus canina. Also known as the "scaredy cat" plant, it is almost universally detested by felines. Here are some others you could try:

  • Lavender  
  • Rosemary
  • Pennyroyal
  • Chives
  • Lemon balm

3. Place lattice fencing over soil

Set lattice or chicken wire into the ground to discourage digging. This is a good solution if you're having problems with cats digging up your veggies. Cats tend to stay away because they're not left with enough room to move their paws to dig.

  • If you're using chicken wire, tuck under the sharp points so the kitties and other critters won't get stabbed.

4. Cover exposed soil in flowerbeds

Smooth river rocks look pretty and deter digging. Despite how it looks, the neighborhood kitties haven't declared war on your petunias—they just like to dig in the soft soil. Scatter river rocks over it and they won't be tempted.

5. Try ultrasonic pet repellents around your yard

Cats won't stick around with an ultrasonic cat deterrent blasting. Stake these devices into the ground or attach them to a building, and they emit an alarm when they sense motion. People can't hear the sound, but cats can, and they hate it! They'll typically just go somewhere else to get away from it, but if they do end up in your yard, they don't tend to hang out for very long because the sound is just so annoying.

  • Cats get used to the sound after a while, so you'll have more success if you change the location frequently or combine the device with other repellents.

6. Install a motion-activated sprinkler system

Cats will avoid your yard if they get wet every time they enter. When a cat steps into the zone of the motion-activated sprinkler, they trigger a short burst of water, which will cause them to run for cover. They'll probably try from a few different angles, but they'll give up if they can't get into your yard without getting squirted.

  • These sprinkler systems work because the cat's movement sets them off every time. Trying to go after them yourself with a spray bottle or a water gun isn't as effective—you simply teach the cats not to come around when you're there.

7. String a wire across the top of your fence

There are repellents out there that replicate dog or big cat urine. If the cats smell a potential predator nearby, they’re naturally going to be dissuaded from sticking around for too long. Some of these products duplicate dog urine, while others contain lion or panther urine. These spray repellents are available from basically any big box home improvement store.

  • The downsides here may seem obvious, but a lot of these products don’t smell particularly great. You do need to reapply them roughly every week and after any heavy rains.
  • If you don’t feel like spraying all around your yard periodically, there are granular versions of these products that resemble little stones. You just sprinkle them into your soil.

8. String a wire across the top of your fence

A taut wire keeps a cat from balancing there. Set the wire 3 to 5 in (7.6 to 12.7 cm) above the top of your fence. If an agile cat wants to get into your yard by scrambling over the fence, they'll be unable to find purchase at the top.

  • Plastic roll-up fencing or tubes on top of the fence will do the same thing, although they don't look as neat and attractive as a simple wire, which is barely noticeable.

9. Seal openings in fences with chicken wire

Find and cover holes or gaps in the fence to keep cats out. Cats don't understand fences and boundaries—if they see a place they can get through, they're going to go for it. Put up chicken wire or lattice fencing to close up any holes or natural gaps in your fence and the neighborhood kitties will walk right by.

10. Remove sources of food.

Secure your trash can lids and clean up spilled food promptly. You might not find food scraps very appetizing, but for feral felines, this is fine dining! It also attracts other pests, so keep your trash can lids tightly closed and locked down.

  • If you feed your own pets outside, only do this at designated times. If you just leave the food sitting out, the neighborhood kitties will treat it like a free buffet.

11. Set up a spot for the cats out of the way

Give them an attractive shelter near the edge of your property. This might sound a little like "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," but there's strong logic to it. The neighborhood cats are coming on your property looking for food, shelter, and a place to do their business. If you give them those things, they'll use what you've given them—and stay out of your yard and garden.

  • Plant catnip nearby to entice them to that area and they'll leave the rest of your yard alone.
  • Turn over some soil and spread sand to create an outdoor litter box.
  • If you feed the cats, do it near the shelter on a regular schedule. They'll become accustomed to going there for food and won't go searching around your yard for it.
  • Cats already made a litter box on your property? Soak the area in white vinegar to get rid of the smell so they'll stop coming back.

12. Make your own repellents at home

Essential Oil Cat Repellent

  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops wild orange essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 ounce Water

Vinegar Cat Repellent

  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1 part liquid hand soap
  • 1 part water

Citrus Cat Repellent

  • 2 cups (473 ml) water
  • 1 cup (96 g) orange, lemon, lime, and/or tangerine peels
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) lemon juice
  • Lemon-scented dish soap

Citronella Oil Cat Repellent

  • 20 drops citronella oil
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) water

Garlic, Pepper, and Lemon Cat Repellent

  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) cinnamon
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 3 to 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • Water







Stray Cat Eating Food

What can I do to help?

Be a community cat advocate!

The Community Cat Policy, per City Ordinance Section 5-61(d), requires that a resident feeding free-roaming cats makes every effort to ensure the spay/neuter status of those cats is verified, whether through veterinary record or ear notch.

* We encourage all Grand Prairie Residents to participate in this program by trapping community cats

Grand Prairie Animal Services provides traps when available. For trap availability call 972-237-8575, option 2, or contact The Grand Prairie Cat Crew, a 501©3, group found on Facebook.

Residents can bring Grand Prairie community cats to Prairie Paws Adoption Center for free spay/neuter. Trapped cats can be dropped off Tuesday-Friday 10am-5 pm and Saturdays 10-5 at the incoming door only. Please make an appointment by calling 972-237-8668 if you are dropping off 3 or more cats.

Once the cats have been spayed/neutered, the citizens can pick them up from our clinic (a text message with pick-up instructions will be sent) or our Animal Service officers can release them back to the community where they came from.  

The Community cats get sterilized, vaccinated for rabies and FVRC, microchipped and an ear tip.

Cats must be 12 weeks or older to go through the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program; underage kittens will be assessed for adoption. 

Spay/Neuter domestic cats

Residents are encouraged to spay or neuter all domestic cats. Low cost programs, such as Spay Neuter Network and Texas Coalition for Animal Protection provide transportation services from the Grand Prairie Animal Services Adoption Center.

What should I do if I find a cat wandering my neighborhood?

Stray Cat

If you find a cat that is alone, has a shiny coat, and seems well feed, it most likely belongs to one of your neighbors. Cats are very good at finding their way home and will eventually make its way back. There is no law in Grand Prairie against free-roaming cats, so please leave stray cats where you found them.

Ear-tipped Cat

Ear tipping is a surgical alteration showing that a community cat has been spayed/neutered. It’s part of TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return).

These cats should never be re-trapped or brought to a shelter, unless sick. Instead, they should be left in their neighborhood to provide cat population control. Studies have shown by just being there, they prevent other cats from moving into the area. And, because they have been fixed, they will never have litters of kittens. Even if you don’t like cats, TNR ear-tipped cats have an important job to do in keeping your neighborhood a nice place to live.

Cats that have been ear-tipped show that they have been spayed/neutered


Unless there is an immediate threat, leave kittens in place where their mother can find them, especially if they are too young to eat on their own. If you need to move the kittens, place them nearby where the mother can find them. If you must intervene with kittens, you can help by providing in-home foster care until the kittens are 8 to 10 weeks of age. Email gpasfoster@gptx.org for information on fostering.


Kitten Fostering

If you have a big heart and an uninhabited bathroom (easy space for cleaning), we can almost certainly find you a pair of temporary kitten house guests.

Start fostering