The following are common outdoor cat nuisance problems with quick solutions for resolution. However, with spaying and neutering of a feral cat colony, these nuisance behaviors will be greatly reduced if not eliminated completely.
Cats Digging in Gardens
It is a cat’s natural instinct to dig and deposit in soft or loose soil, moss, mulch or sand.
- Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented fragrances, coffee grounds and pipe tobacco that deters cats.
- Plant the herb rue or sprinkle dried rue over the garden.
- Obtain a non-chemical cat and wildlife repellent consisting of plastic mats that you cut into smaller pieces and press into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals but discourage digging. Products are available online.
- Plastic Carpet Runners which can be found at local hardware or office supply stores can also be used when placed spike-side up and covered lightly in soil. Or, set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
- Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large, attractive river rock to prevent cats from digging.
Cat Sleeping Under Porch or Shed
The cats are looking for dry, warm shelter away from the elements.
- Physically block or seal the location the cats are entering with chicken wire or lattice once you are certain the cats are not inside. Be sure to search for kittens before confirming that the cats have left especially during kitten season (April through October).
- Provide a shelter (similar to a dog house) or ask the caregiver of the cat colony to provide a shelter for the cats. Shelters should be hidden to keep the cats safe and placing them well can help guide the cats away from unwanted areas.
Cats Getting Into the Trash
Cats are scavengers and are searching for food.
- Only place trash out the morning of collection. Exposed trash bags will attract wildlife as well.
- Find out of neighbors are feeding the cats. If they are, make sure they are doing it on a regular basis.
- If you don't find a regular feeder, start feeding the cats yourself at a set time during daylight hours in an out-of-the-way place. Feeding cats regularly and in reasonable quantities will help ensure they do not get so hungry that they will go through the trash.
Cats Leaving Paw Prints on Vehicles
Cats like to perch on high ground.
- Discourage cats from climbing on cars or other private property by gradually moving their shelters and feeding stations away from such areas into more secluded places.
- Purchase an appropriate cover for the car.
Cat Urine Aroma
Male cats spray to mark their territory as part of their mating behaviors.
- Spray the area thoroughly with white vinegar or with non-toxic products available at pet supply stores.
- The permanent solution is to ensure male cats are neutered which will reduce their urge to mark territory and make their urine less pungent.
Feeding Cats Attract Wildlife
Cats need to be fed under proper guidelines. Leaving food out can attract unwanted animals.
- Keeping the feeding area neat and free of leftover food and trash is of utmost importance.
- Cats should be fed only at a designated time during daylight hours. The cats should only be given enough food for them to finish in one sitting. All remaining food should be removed. If another person is feeding, ask them to follow these guidelines as well.
Cats Lounging on Porches or Yards
Cats are territorial and will remain close to their food source. Ensuring that cats are neutered will dramatically reduce their tendency to roam and keep them from unwanted areas.
- Apply cat repellent liberally around the edges of the yard, the tops of fences and on any favorite digging areas or plants. Cat repellent is available for purchase at pet supply stores and online.
- Install an ultrasonic animal repellent or a motion-activated water sprinkler available online.
Cats are Yowling, Fighting and Breeding Out of Control
These are all mating behaviors displayed by cats that have not been spayed or neutered and they will breed prolifically.
- Spaying or neutering and vaccinating the cats will reduce the sex drive hormones causing these behaviors. Male cats will stop competing and fighting, spraying and roaming. Females will stop yowling and producing kittens. After sterilization, hormones leave their system within three weeks and the behaviors usually stop entirely.