How to repel Stray or Feral Cats?

Though most of us like pets, and even stray animals (be it dogs or cats, etc.), sometimes we find ourselves in a situation wherein our love and affection for these cute creatures is severely tested. This is more often the case with stray/feral cats, as they often overstay their welcome and tend to create a lot of menace sometimes.

In this article, we are going to have a look at the issues that people sometimes face due to stray/feral cats, and how can they solve this problem in the most humane manner.

Table of Contents
  • Are stray/feral cats a menace?
  • How to get rid of stray/feral cats in a humane manner?
  • Difference between feral and stray cats

Are stray/feral cats a menace?

Yes, they may be. It depends on the kind of stray/feral cat, and their number. Cats are very perceptive creatures and they do get to know our intention pretty quickly. If you can communicate to them somehow that they are not welcome on your property, they may leave and not come back. However, some of them may prove to be more adamant than others.

But why bother chasing them away at all?

Well, it’s your personal choice. If you can manage to give shelter to stray animals, we applaud you. But you must be aware of some issues and problems these can cause. As this article is about cats, we will focus our attention on stray cats.

  • The first very obvious issue will be the mess created by them everywhere.
  • The second, and more important issue is the diseases and parasites many of these stray cats carry. As most of these stray cats may probably never have been vaccinated, you or your children may get infected by the numerous parasites and pathogens they carry.
  • Numerous studies have shown that stray cats may cause a lot of damage to your property. They bite, scratch, and tear apart things just for fun. Once a stray cat made home inside my car, with her three kittens. Initially, I let them be as I wanted to help the new mom. But soon I started seeing them scratching my car, and messing the wires and tubes beneath my car. They had all the porch and garden to live, but they choose the insides of my car!

So, sometimes you may be forced to take care of this issue even though you love animals. Maybe because of health issues, safety of your kids, or just to safeguard your property.

Even if you intend to take care of the stray cats, do make sure that you get them vaccinated, and maybe train them a bit regarding where to do their business, create as less menace as possible, etc. Once you start taking care of a stray cat, and feed it, you will soon see many stray cats coming to your doorsteps. Even if that doesn’t happen, she will sure bring her family and kids to your house. It may be ok with you, but your neighbours may not be ok with all this. So, do keep that in mind too.

However, if you want to get rid of such stray cats without harming them, you may do that too. Let’s discuss about that.

How to get rid of stray/feral cats in a humane manner?

Most people would like to get rid of stray/feral cats without hurting them. So, we have listed some non-lethal ways to go about it.

  • We can buy or create cat repellent solution and spray it in the area where we do not want the cats to go. Cat owners even do this with their pet cats. For example, a solution of lemon juice (or any other citrus fruit), and vinegar (dilute it by mixing water). Sometimes, garlic may work too. But it’s not a sure shot method. Its effect may vary from one cat to another. I used lemon and vinegar, and it did have some effect on a feral cat, but not much on her kittens.
  • You may also try to scare away the cat, without ever hitting or hurting it. For example, I used a wooden stick to scare away a stray cat once – I used to pretend to charge towards the cat and hit the stick hard on the ground so as to create a loud sound. Did it for a couple of days, and the cat got the message that it’s not welcome, and that my house is probably not a safe place for it. Stopped coming to my house thereafter. Do note that wild, stray cats are often pretty afraid of humans and will run away as soon as you approach them. You need not hit them or hurt them. Just the pretence will be more than enough in most cases. You may have to do it for a few days, but your patience will pay.
  • Cats do hate water. So, try splashing water on them. You may also install an automatic water spray system that gets activated as soon as it senses a movement and sprays water on that moving target – which more often than not will be a stray cat at the dark of night.
  • You may train the stray cat to stay away from a certain portion of your house. For example, I used to chase away the cat and her kittens when they used to go near my car. But never bothered them when they were in my garden. I did it for a couple of days, and they started to get the message. Started hanging more under my porch and in my garden. I had no issue with that. But later on, one day I saw the mother taking her kittens in her mouth (one by one) to another place, outside my house. Maybe she was apprehensive regarding the safety of her kittens. It was sad to see her leave. I and my family had started to enjoy the goofy things the kittens used to do. Wish they had stayed, just not in my car!

Difference between feral and stray cats

Stray cats are often lost or abandoned cats. While, feral cats are wild cats. So, obviously stray cats will generally be more comfortable with humans, while feral cats are more apprehensive of us (and so often more aggressive).

Though in general parlance, we often use these two terms interchangeably. The information provided in this article will be applicable to both.

A stray cat may over time lose confidence on humans (especially if it has been ill-treated), and so may end up becoming a feral cat. Though a feral cat will generally not become a stray cat on its own – maybe if the people in the locality feed it on a regular basis and take care of it, then it may.

It’s possible to adopt a feral cat, but it’s definitely not easy. Also, these cats would probably not be vaccinated and may carry many diseases and worms in them – so it’s rather risky to adopt them without taking proper precautions. Though it would be much easier to adopt the kittens of these feral cats.

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