For various reasons, some people desire to keep stray or feral cats from their yards. Perhaps a cat is digging in a vegetable garden or flowerbed and using it as a litter box. Maybe a cat has been jumping on your car to snooze, and leaving dirty footprints on your windshield. Or, inside pet cats are becoming extremely distressed by seeing and smelling other cats from the windows, maybe starting to urine spray in the house in response.
Any repellent used needs to be safe for animals, humans as well as the earth. There are various products that can be used to repel or deter cats. Some are safe, and some are not. One should chose a humane deterrent product.
It would be a kindness, though, to first try to determine if the stray cat in your yard is a lost indoor only pet cat. Please try to get a good look at the cat, and then look around for lost cat signs that may be posted. Ask the neighbors. Escaped house cats can get lost easily once outside, not knowing the area due to having been indoors all the time.
Shake Away Cat Repellent is non-toxic granules that contain urine from coyotes, foxes or bobcats, animals that are predators of cats.
It gets spread out lightly around the area one wants to keep cats away from, and is said to be effective five feet from that line. It essentially creates a "fear boundary" when the cats smell it.; Cats can smell about 14 times better than humans, so even if humans don't smell much of the product, the cats do! But first, remove any cat eliminations you find in your yard and hose down the area as well as hosing off any areas where you smell urine spray , so the cat is not more attacked to it's own previous scent.
Each 20 ounce bottle will cover 600 linear feet. Dogs are not repelled by it, so it can be used in areas where dogs are walked or exercised. If you have indoor cats, don't use this product near your windows, as the scent will unnerve your indoor cats.
Shake-Away does need to be reapplied periodically and after more than a light rain. It is safe to use around children and pets (though pet cats won't like to go near it). It will not damage plants like some products will. Use as directed to get the desired results.
Liquid Fence® Dog & Cat Repellent is described as being made from natural plant oils. The active ingredients are citronella oil, eugenol, garlic oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, cinnamon oil, and geraniol. The other ingredients, composing 98.3%, are water and lime.
Note that cinnamon oil is toxic to cats if they ingest it or it gets absorbed into their skin. NEVER spray this product directly on an animal!!
Liquid Fence is based on using odors cats do not like to repel them from an area. It will also deter dogs. Available in one quart or one gallon. The quart size covers 500 sq. feet.
Orange and Lemon Peels. Cats do not like citrus smells, so one can try leaving orange and/or lemon peels in garden beds. That won't keep the cats out of the entire yard, of course.
Human Urine- It is said by some people that adult human male urine will repel cats. It would need to be fresh to have the best effect. But it would most likely only work to repel feral cats afraid of humans. It's free to try, but not really a good method for many reasons.
Motion Sensing Repellents
One can set up a sprinkler with a timer to start up at the most common times of day the cats come around, which is usually dawn and dusk. Cats do not like to get wet. Cats do learn schedules, though, so the timing should be varied once in a while or the cats will just learn to wait until the sprinkler is not going to wet them. Better would be to buy one of the motion activated water repellents as described below. Do note that some people were thinking the motion sensor water repellants would work well on very small animals, such as squirrels and small birds, but didn't, so gave the products bad reviews. When used for cats, dogs, and other animals those sizes or larger, such as deer, the motion sensor water repellents do work well.
Havahart® Spray Away works by sensing an animal with infra-red sensors that detects body heat and movement. The sprinkler's exclusive Adjustable Sensor Eye includes nine sensitivity settings, so you can target your specific animal and distance. Once detected, the electronic valve releases a three second burst of water from an attached garden hose. Water spray is broadcast up to 35 feet to protect a 1,000 square-foot area. One can turn the water pressure down from the source to shorten the distance of the spray range. The sprinkler has a 180 degree front sweep.
The adjustable sensitivity detector and random spray pattern prevents animals from growing accustomed to the sprayer. This eco-friendly training of the animal to avoid the area is consistent 24 hours a day, using short bursts of two-three cups of water per motion activation.
A nice feature is that The Havahart® Spray Away includes an extra garden hose attachment so multiple hoses can be strung between two or more sprayers if needed. Requires one 9-volt battery, which will last approximately 6 months.
A motion detector sprinkler, such as the Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler, works well, since the cats won't get used to a schedule of when the water will come on; there is no schedule. When it detects the motion of an animal, it releases a three second pulsating spray of water, using 2-3 cups of water per deterrence. Aside from the sudden spray of water, cats will be startled by the sound and movement.
It runs for months on a 9 volt battery and detects animals in a 1000 square foot area. The sensitivity can be adjusted to detect motion up to 35 feet (10 meters). The sensor uses infrared to detect temperature differences, distinguishing an animal from the background. Dogs, rabbits, and other animals, including humans, will, of course, be sensed and squirted. People can walk around the area set to be sensed to turn the unit off without getting squirted, though in the summer, children will have fun setting it off as a play sprinkler to cool off.
Allows you to mount the scarecrow on fences, posts, or walls. Includes mounting hardware.
The Contech CatStop Ultrasonic Outdoor Cat Deterrent uses ultrasonic sound waves that are not audible to humans to repel and deter cats (and dogs). It emits a piercing, high-decibel ultrasonic alarm for two seconds when its built-in motion detector senses motion. The cat soon associates the area with this unpleasant experience and should avoid the area in the future. The cats are persistent and at first, will not know that the irritating noise will always happen if they go to the area of the yard the device is aimed at. After a few times of the noise always happening in that one spot, the cats will finally realize not to go to that area, if they don't want to hear a dreadful (to them) noise. [Note: Will not deter deaf or hard of hearing cats!]
Covers 330 square feet with a detection range of 20 feet in front of the device in an 80-degree arc. For convenience, there are no controls or adjustments. Simply place the unit facing the area needing protection and install one 9-volt battery. The battery should last about nine months, which is an estimate based upon 4,900 activations spread over 245 days at an average of 20 per day. Another highlight includes weatherproof construction--the device can be left outdoors in all conditions, rain or shine. Measures approximately 8 by 3 by 18 inches.
Rue (Ruta graveolens), is a perrenial herb that grows 2-3 feet high, has an odor that is said to be hated by cats. The downside is that humans can develop a blistering skin contact reaction from it, so wear gloves when handling this plant. In addition, if eaten, it causes stomach pain, vomiting, exhaustion, confusion, and convulsions and may be fatal. Therefore, it is bad choice to plant in your garden if you have children.
See pictures of Rue and other purchase opportunities at:
Coleus Canina is a variety of Coleus in the Plectranthus family that produces lavendar flowers on a spike with a strong scent that repels cats, as well as rabbits and dogs. Coleus Canina is also known as "Scardy Cat" It performs best in full to partial sun and grows up to 12"-20"(30-50cm) tall. It is an annual, but cuttings can be kept indoors during the winter to then replant outdoors in the spring.
Cats love to dig in freshly dug garden beds to eliminate, so putting mulch on the bare soil areas between plants can help. Nice, soft, small particled mulch would be liked by cats a lot, so use mulch made of larger, harder pieces that will not feel soft and comfortable for cats to dig in. Large gravel, rocks or pine cones could also be used.
You can put chicken wire or screening under the mulch to keep cats from digging.
An alternative is to make a spot in your yard cat friendly for eliminating, so they will hopefully go there instead of in your flower or vegetable garden beds.
There are chemical deterrents sold, but many of them are toxic, being unsafe to use around humans and some animals, as well as being damaging to some plants.
One dangerous repellent sold is Repel II Dog & Cat Repellent. This product can result in severe and chronic health effects, and can enter the body through skin contact, via the eyes, mouth and from inhalation. This is a product to avoid.
Mothballs are not a safe thing to put outside in the yard. They are highly toxic to animals, people as well as the environment. The toxic chemicals will leach into the soil. In addition, the fumes are toxic to breathe. Mothballs will also repel benficial insects needed to control pest on plants.
Advice from Best Friends Animal Society http://www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/pdfs/cats/unwelcomecats.pdf#search='deter%20cats%20eliminate%20garden'
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