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There are easy things that your neighbors can do, or that you can help them with, in order to live in harmony with the cats who have made their home in the neighborhood. The following list of natural cat deterrents and repellents addresses some common concerns and easy ways to modify the feral or stray cats’ behavior:
- Cover your trash cans tightly or secure lids with bungee cords.
- If cats are climbing and walking all over cars, a car cover can be purchased to prevent paw prints.
- To keep cats away from gardens, flower beds, or specific areas of property, scatter fragrant items that don’t appeal to a cat’s sense of smell, like fresh orange or lemon peels, organic citrus-scented sprays, vinegar, or oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus.
- Add the herb rue to gardens to keep cats out, or sprinkle dried rue over gardens or landscaping.
- Use plastic carpet runners, spiked-side up and covered lightly in soil, in gardens, flower beds, and other landscaping.
- Set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
- Arrange branches in lattice-type patterns or use actual lattice fencing material over soil, this discourages digging.
- Embed wooden chopsticks, pine cones, or sticks with dull points deep into the soil with the tops exposed eight inches apart.
- Pick up some Cat Scat plastic mats to press into the soil. The mats have flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but also discourage digging.
- Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large (and attractive) river rocks to keep cats from digging.
- Install an ultrasonic animal repellent or a motion-activated water sprinkler like CatStop or ScareCrow.
- Physically block or seal locations that cats are entering with chicken wire or lattice. Double-check that no cats or kittens will be trapped inside.
- Provide outdoor shelter. Shelters should be hidden to keep the cats safe, and placed in secluded areas far from areas they aren’t welcomed.
- Place “litter boxes’ (wood frames with sand or peat moss, not actual cat litter, which would absorb water) in strategic areas to give cats a bathroom option other than your neighbor’s yard. Be sure to keep these litter boxes and areas clean and change out the contents regularly.
- Combat cat urine smell by spraying the area thoroughly with white vinegar or products using natural enzymes, such as Nature’s Miracle®, Fizzion Pet Stain & Odor Remover®, or Simple Solution®
- If you or your neighbors are feeding the cats, be sure it’s on a regular schedule each day. This will ensure that the cats are well-fed and don’t search the neighborhood for their next meal. Food shouldn’t be left out all day and feeding areas must be cleaned immediately to prevent attracting other wildlife or insects.
- Of course, getting cats spayed or neutered as part of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) helps to resolve many issues related to cat behavior such as yowling and spraying.