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How to Keep Uninvited Cats Out Of Your Garden

 by simone on 26 Jul 2014 |
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What can you do when there are other cats in your garden - and you don't want them there!

Cats are experts at climbing fences, gates, trees and squeezing through small gaps. Trying to keep your neighbour’s or other uninvited cats out of your garden may seem like an impossible task, but there are measures you can take to keep them out. 

It’s more than likely other cats have noticed yours and simply want to interact, but you don’t want to risk any aggressive behavior between the cats. The aim is to deter other cats from entering your garden without interfering with your own cat’s enjoyment and comfort.
Both male and female cats are territorial. Unfamiliar or uninvited cats in your garden can cause your cat to feel stressed and upset, and may even lead to fights and injuries. If the intruding cat is not known to you, uncertainty about the cat’s health and their vaccination status is a big concern. Also, if your cat becomes scared or is chased by the other cat, they may escape the garden and be exposed to the dangers of traffic or become lost.
Neighbourhood visitors
If the intruder is a neighour’s cat, you should discuss the situation with your neighbor. They may not be aware that their cat is making themselves at home - at YOUR home! When you approach your neighbour be polite, friendly and collaborative and they will hopefully want to solve the problem just as much as you do.
If you can, observe what time the intruding cat arrives, what they do and how long they stay. Dawn and dusk are the times when cats are most active and are inclined to roam and hunt. All cats should be kept indoors during these hours, including yours. If the intruding cat is coming at a regular time each day, ask your neighbour to keep their cat indoors at that time.
You could also negotiate with your neighbour different times for your cats to be outside so that their cat is not tempted to visit your cat and vice versa. For example, they may let their cat outside for a few hours in the morning whilst yours is indoors, and your cat could be allowed outside during the afternoon.
If you think your intruder may be a stray or lost and it is tame and approachable, try capturing it and taking it to your local animal shelter. If the cat is very frightened, aggressive or you suspect that it is feral, call your local shelter or animal control organisation to capture the cat.
Removing temptation
Desexing (spaying or neutering) will reduce a cat’s temptation to roam but will also reduce their attractiveness to other cats, particularly males.
Don’t leave any food for your cat in the garden, instead keep their food bowl indoors. Any cat that is spending time outside should be provided with ample fresh water.
Make sure your family and neighbours are not feeding the intruding cats and therefore encouraging them into the area and to your garden.
Ensure the lids on your garbage bins are tightly secured and that any garbage can't be easily accessed by a hungry cat.
Discouraging and scaring the intruding cat
Water: Cats dislike water. When you see the uninvited cat, spray it with a water pistol or a garden hose on a gentle setting. After a few sprayings they should be deterred from coming back. If you are not going to be home, you can use a motion-sensing water sprinkler or a sprinkler on a timer. Move the sprinklers around so that the intruding cat doesn’t have a safe area. You’ll need to keep your cat indoors until the other cat no longer returns.
You can purchase ultrasonic alarms that are activated by movement. Again, keep your cat indoors for the entire time it takes the intruding cat to be scared away.
Fencing: Most fences are fairly ineffective when it comes to cats. However, there are a number of solutions you can adopt, just make sure you involve any neighbours who share your fence.
Attach a trellis to your fence to raise the height and block cats from entering.
Smear the tops of your fence palings and railings with Vaseline, petroleum jelly or any other slippery and harmless substance. Cats won't be able to get sufficient grip to climb and stay on. Plastic or metal piping placed along the top of the fence will have the same effect.
Run tight string or wire 10-15cm above the fence along its length so that cats find it difficult to jump up and balance. You could also erect an electric line along the top to discourage climbing and perching.
Strips of plastic spikes can be placed along the tops of fences to prevent cats and birds from walking or perching. Make sure you buy from a recommended and approved seller and check with your local council before laying the spikes in case there are regulations that need to be adhered to.
Plants: Placing prickly plants like cactus and berberis around the inner perimeter of your garden will make cats think twice about jumping down from, or climbing through, the fence. Pine cones or sharp rocks laid around should also do the trick.
A number of plants have scents that cats find unpleasant so will act as deterrents if positioned around the perimeter, leaving the rest of the garden for your cat to enjoy. Plants such as lemon thyme, geraniums, marigolds, lavendar, Coleus canina, pyrethrum and Pennyroyal are disliked by cats. You could also try spraying the essence or oil of lavendar, citrus, lemon thyme, oregano, peppermint on fences, gates or anywhere the cat is accessing your garden. Commercial cat deterrent sprays are also available. You will need to reapply every few days and after rain.
Dogs: Have a friend’s dog stay for a few weeks, or have the dog brought around in the morning and stay in your garden during the day. Keep your cat safely indoors for this period. After being chased away a few times, the intruding cat will think your garden is now a no-go place. 

Adopting some of these measures should discourage any unwelcome cat visitors and leave your cat happy, comfortable and safe in your garden.


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