Are you dealing with feral cats?
Because cats are often seen as sweet, cute, and domesticated companions to humans, dealing with feral cats can be difficult and even controversial.
There is a fine line between cruel and humane management of feral cats, and many people have a soft spot for these animals and attempt to help them in what must many assume must be a miserable life without human care and household comforts.
The truth is, feral cats are highly destructive and problematic in not just the United States, but also the world.
Though you may not be able to remove feral cats from your neighborhood completely, there are ways you can utilize cat repellent and other forms of management to help keep them at bay.
In today’s article, we are talking about how to control feral cats in the most humane way possible. We are also going to list some of the best feral cat repellent products available, according to experts.
But before we begin, let’s first take a moment to talk about feral cats.
What You Should Know About Feral Cats
Feral cats are quite common in the United States as well as the world.
Cats are considered the most prevalent domesticated species across the globe with an estimated 600 million felines living throughout the world.
Sadly, many of these cats are considered stray or feral. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 70 million feral cats living on the streets.
Because cats are such a popular and beloved human companion, many people take sympathy on these animals and not only attempt to help them survive, but often people will attempt to take in feral cats in and domesticate them.
Unfortunately, the domestication of adult feral cats is considered impossible and even cruel. However, it is possible, according to some experts, to take in and domesticate feral kittens when they are still very young.
What Is The Difference Between A Feral Cat, A Stray Cat, And A Domesticated Cat?
While cats are all of the same species, there is a big difference between feral cats, stray cats, and domesticated cats.
Feral cats are generally cats that have either been born feral or who were once strays that became feral. Feral cats are cats with very little or absolutely no socialization around humans. These cats are typically skittish of humans and domesticated animals, territorial, sometimes aggressive, and generally have short lifespans.
Feral cats are happy living outdoors and are typically able to defend and protect themselves from predators. If a person attempts to domesticate an adult feral cat, as we discussed above, this feral cat can become incredibly stressed, sick, aggressive, and destructive.
A stray cat, on the other hand, is a cat that was once domesticated or a cat that has had socialization with people but is now living on the streets. Stray cats are generally identified as looking more disheveled or unkempt, and they are often much thinner than feral cats as they are generally not used to fending for themselves.
Stray cats can become feral after some time, though it is possible to domesticate a stray cat if you locate one in time.
And last, of course, we have domesticated cats. Domesticated cats are some of the most popular pets in the world. There are both indoor and outdoor domesticated cats, and these are cats that have been properly raised and socialized with humans and who would generally be unable to fend for themselves very well on their own.
Are Feral Cats Dangerous To People And Domesticated Pets?
Though feral cats may look like domesticated cats, they are actually considered wild animals.
Though many of us are incredible fans of felines, and in spite of the fact that one in three American households is home to a domesticated cat, feral cats and domesticated cats are not one and the same.
Feral cats can indeed be incredibly dangerous to people and pets. In fact, feral cats are known to carry a number of zoonotic diseases that can be transmissible to people and pets including cat scratch fever, rabies, cutaneous larval migrans, rabies, plague, murine typhus, and tularemia typhus.
Cats are also carriers of a number of parasites including fleas and ticks, which they can bring onto your property and leave behind for pets or people to become exposed to.
Fleas and ticks are commonly known to spread other seriously harmful diseases like typhus, Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted tick fever, and more.
Aside from the diseases feral cats can carry and transmit, they can also be aggressive and territorial. Although feral cats are generally skittish of humans, they have been known to attack pets, and are especially territorial when it comes to other cats.
If you have a domesticated cat in your home that has not been spayed or neutered, that cat could also be at risk of leading to pregnancy that could exasperate the feral cat population in your neighborhood.
One of the most harmful parts about feral cats that many people don’t realize is the incredible detriment they are to the environment.
Both feral and domesticated cats are actually considered invasive species, and they have had a devastating impact on the environment and on wildlife. In fact, cats are responsible for the extinction of a variety of ground-dwelling birds, rodents, and other animals throughout the world. They are also responsible for the decrease and endangerment of a number of living animal species.
Feral cats can also lead to the destruction of gardens, lawns, and properties. For this reason, it’s important to try and manage feral cats around your property.
But in order to do that, you must first understand why feral cats are attracted to your property and neighborhood in the first place.
Keep reading to learn more.
Why Are Feral Cats Attracted To My Property?
Feral cats are attracted to food sources as well as shelter and water.
According to the humane society, feral cats are generally illusive and rarely seen by people. However, that doesn’t mean their presence goes unnoticed.
If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, you likely hear them fighting from time to time. You may have also noticed litters of kittens here and there, or even seen a feral cat or two jumping from fences or hiding in bushes.
Remember, feral cats are considered wild animals, and they can be aggressive to humans and pets. They are also quite destructive to the environment, and it can be frustrating for those living in neighborhoods with a high number of feral cats roaming about, even if you don’t always see them.
But why do you have feral cats hanging around your neighborhood or home? If you’re asking this question, you likely need some good cat repellent. But before you invest in cat repellent, you should also take a moment to understand why feral cats are attracted to your home or property.
Most feral cats are attracted to the same three things any other pest or animal would be attracted to. This includes food, water, and shelter.
If you notice a feral cat or feral cats repeatedly hanging around your home, chances are they feel safe in this environment. There is likely a good source of food nearby, as well as water and shelter.
Like other small, wild animals, feral cats will use what they have at their disposal for shelter and protection. They generally feed on small rodents, birds, lizards, and snakes, but feral cats may also be attracted to leftover human foods in garbage bins or dumpsters.
One of the main attractants to feral cats could be pet food or water left outside. This could include both dog and cat food
Feral cats may also be attracted to homes with overgrown lawns, yards, or shrubs. Homes with decks, trees, open sheds, woodpiles, and other forms of makeshift shelters can also serve as safe homes for feral cats.
Because feral cats typically live in colonies, attracting one could mean attracting several. This is why a good cat repellent will come in handy when getting rid of feral cats becomes necessary.
With that in mind, let’s now take a moment to talk about some of the best methods to get rid of feral cats and keep them at bay.
Best Methods To Get Rid Of Feral Cats, According To Experts
Because feral cats often live in colonies, a good cat repellent can help keep multiple cats away at a time.
There are several methods you can use when it comes to managing feral cats and controlling the population. However, one of the best methods is the trap, neuter, and release method.
It is not advised to attempt to relocate a feral cat, as this is considered inhumane. Instead, experts suggest trapping cats and turning them over to shelters or organizations that will spay or neuter them, clip their ear tips for identification, and then release them.
Although dealing with feral cats in your neighborhood can be frustrating, remember that you are likely not to encounter or even see these animals in your day-to-day life. Feral cats are quite skittish and illusive, and they tend to keep to themselves.
However, if you do wish to keep them away from your property and your domesticated pets, you can follow the below methods.
Use The Trap, Fix, And Release Method
Trapping cats should only be done by someone with experience in doing so or by a professional. Remember, feral cats can carry serious diseases and are even known to be aggressive.
If you are planning to trap and release a cat after having it spayed or neutered, we suggest doing so with caution and using one of our recommended cat traps. You can find a list of the cat traps we recommend you use alongside a quality cat repellent further down.
Clean Up Your Home And Yard
Your home and yard could be attractive to feral cats because you have an abundance of shelter, food, and water. Use a pest repellent year-round to help get rid of potential food sources like rodents, lizards, and snakes.
We also suggest keeping your yard landscaped and grasses and shrubs trimmed and tidy. Remove debris from around your property that could potentially make for an ideal shelter for feral cats, and keep garden sheds closed and locked.
You might also consider putting a barrier around your deck, especially if you know feral cats are rampant in your neighborhood. This could keep the animals from building dens below your house.
Use A quality Cat Repellent
Last but not least, use a quality cat repellent. Remember, getting rid of feral cats completely is a tricky concept, and you are likely to have better luck working to manage the problem by reducing the population over time.
To keep these pests from coming around your home and potentially harming your pets or spreading disease, we suggest using some of the best cat repellent products listed below.
Take a look!
Best Cat Repellent For Feral Cats
Cat repellent comes in many forms and is often environmentally safe and humane.
Cat repellent can come in many forms, and it’s important you consider your lifestyle and your own domesticated pets when using cat repellent on your property. If you wish to use cat repellent to keep feral cats at bay but you also have domesticated cats, you’ll need to be extra cautious about the types of repellents you use and how you use them.
Otherwise, if you do not own cats and are just struggling with feral cats, you can use any and all of the listed cat repellent products below.
Along with helping to repel cats, the below cat repellent products can also work for a variety of other pests. Many help to repel not only cats but also rodents, insects, spiders, bats, snakes, and more.
Homarden Cat Repellent Mat
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Cat repellent mats like the Homarden repellent mats above are often not considered when considering cat repellent products, though they are quite effective. These products are made of plastic and can help repel a number of pests including feral cats, birds, squirrels, and more.
The mats are designed with spikes to help deter cats and keep them from roaming on roofs or fences. They can also help deter cats from snooping around gardens or along the perimeter of your home.
Careland Solar Animal Repeller
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The Careland Solar Animal Repeller above works to repel a number of pests from feral cats to dogs, to skunk, to deer. It is solar-powered and works using ultrasonic repellent technology as well as LED light to repel pests outdoors.
The ultrasonic pest repeller and light cat repellent include two adjustable knobs for different settings. It comes with a stake-like design that allows it to stand in your yard or garden and works using motion-activated technology.
The product is environmentally friendly, humane, and even weatherproof.
Cat Mace Cat Repellent
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Cat Mace Cat Repellent is a product you can use for both the management of rodents and insects as well as cat repellent for feral or stray cats roaming your neighborhood. The product is harmless to cats, though it is highly irritating. It is safe to use around people and pets and is made with all-natural ingredients like essential oils and other plant-based products.
When used as directed, this cat repellent can treat up to 15,000 square feet and keep cats and other pests away from your property for up to one year.
Best Cat Repellent Home Remedies
Cats are sensitive to a number of smells, one of those being citrus.
Using cat repellent doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, chances are that you already have a few cat repellent ingredients in your kitchen pantry or medicine cabinet that you can use to safely and humanely get rid of feral cats.
Use Orange Or Lemon Peels
Are you considering do it yourself pest control remedies for how to get rid of feral cats or how to make the best cat repellent?
Cats are quite sensitive to a variety of smells, and they are especially sensitive to citrus smells. You can use this to your advantage, especially if you have a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter.
The next time you eat an orange or slice a lemon for cooking or baking, toss the peels out in your yard. This will help to keep feral cats at bay as well as other pests like insects, rodents and reptiles.
Sprinkle Coffee Grounds Around Your Garden
One environmentally safe way to repel cats and other pests is to use coffee grounds. To repel cats, simply take old coffee grounds from your morning coffee and sprinkle them around your garden. Just as you would use orange peels as a cat repellent, you can use coffee grounds as a barrier to keep feral cats at bay.
We also suggest sprinkling coffee grounds around any decks, garden sheds, or shrubs you think could serve as shelter for feral cats.
Try Vinegar Spray
Vinegar is a potent product that can be highly irritating and repulsive to feral cats and other pests. You can also use vinegar and a mixture of alcohol to make your own family-safe cleaning solution to use inside your home!
To make an essential oil spray that will work as a good cat repellent, combine one part of apple cider vinegar with equal parts water. You can also add essential oils like some of those listed further down.
We prefer utilizing citrus oil or peppermint oil for this specific cat repellent recipe. We suggest using about one part essential oil to every three parts water when using this method.
Essential Oil Sprays
Cats are much more sensitive to certain smells than humans are, which makes the use of potent essential oils a highly effective way to repel these animals safely and humanely.
The best essential oils that serve as excellent cat repellent include:
- Lavender Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- And Eucalyptus Oil
To make your own essential oil spray, simply combine 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice in two cups of water. Add the mixture to a spray bottle and spray the solution around the perimeter of your home at least three times a week.
Essential oil sprays will not only help to repel feral cats, but they can also help to repel a variety of other annoying and potentially harmful critters like rodents, spiders, insects, bats and more.
Best Humane Traps To Help Capture And Control Feral Cats
Catching cats with humane traps can help manage the cat population due to ensuring the cat is fixed before releasing it back outside.
As we discussed briefly above, the best way to help manage existing feral cats in your neighborhood, aside from contacting animal control, is to utilize the trap, fix and release method.
Remember, you should only attempt to trap a feral cat if you have some experience in doing so and if you are intending to have that cat spayed or neutered.
While some people do attempt to relocate feral cats, there are several reasons most experts advise against this.
First, feral cats are experts at finding their way back, even if this endeavor takes months or years. Second, relocating a feral cat can be considered cruel, stressful to the animal, and harmful to the new environment in which the feral cat is released.
Relocating a feral cat should be an absolute last resort, according to most experts and shelters. Instead, what we recommend is that you capture the cat using one of the humane cat traps we listed below, and then turn the cat over to a shelter or organization that can spay or neuter the cat before releasing them.
Keep in mind that many feral cats that have already undergone spaying or neutering will have a clipped ear tip. If you do come across a feral cat with a clipped ear, simply leave it be and utilize the above cat repellent methods, home remedies, tips, and tricks that are listed in this article.
With all that noted, let’s take a look now at some of the best humane cat traps you can use when it comes to capturing, fixing, and releasing feral cats.
Life Supply USA Animal Trap
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Life Supply USA Animal Trap is a humane cat trap that you can use alongside cat repellent products to help capture and fix unaltered feral cats.
This product also works to catch and release possums, beavers, skunks, and other small animals that have become a nuisance around your property. The traps are made of alloy steel and are designed not to harm the cats as there are no ridges or sharp edges on the inside.
Havahart Easy Set Animal Trap
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We also recommend the Havahart Easy Set Animal Trap listed above. This trap is again made with quality alloy steel material and is designed to capture small animals like feral cats, groundhogs, armadillos, possums, and even raccoons.
The trap can be reused as often as needed and will not harm the cat once they are inside. It also includes a handle for easy transportation so you can help get the cat to a facility in which it can be fixed and then released safely.
Keeping Feral Cats At Bay – Tips And Tricks By Experts
Avoid feeding feral cats and work with your neighbors on a game plan to help repel feral cats in the future.
It is estimated that there are over 70 million feral cats roaming the streets in the United States. While many animal-loving humans take pity on these felines, the truth is that feral cats can be harmful to the environment and dangerous to people and domesticated pets.
Feral cats, as we have learned, can carry several harmful diseases that are transmissible to both people and pets. While there are several organizations committed to the reduction and management of feral cats in the United States, it is also likely that controlling them is going to take some time.
Unfortunately, capturing and relocating feral cats should be considered a last resort, as we discussed. Furthermore, killing feral cats is cruel and even considered illegal in many regions throughout the United States.
Instead, the best way to manage feral cats on your property is to use one of the cat repellent products listed above as well as to follow some of the below tips, tricks, and methods as recommended by experts.
Remove Potential Shelters On Your Property
Feral cats are small, and this means that there are a variety of things in their environment they can easily use as shelter. Cats will sleep below decks, in low-hanging shrubs, below trees, in tree hollows, in old fox dens, and even in garden sheds and on rooftops.
Because cats live in colonies, getting rid of potential shelters is a great way to keep a variety of feral cats from becoming a problem.
Keep Up With Routine Landscaping
Removing potential shelters and using a cat repellent could also mean keeping up with landscaping. Because feral cats are so elusive and skittish, they will feel safest in areas that have plenty of overgrown foliage in which they can hide.
Furthermore, overgrown yards or properties are also more attractive to potential prey for feral cats, which could in turn lead to an uptick in these pests on your property.
A great way to keep feral cats at bay, along with using the best cat repellent, is to keep your yard and garden well maintained.
Use A Pest Control Product Year-Round
Feral cats prefer to eat rodents, birds, lizards, and snakes, though they are known to dig into garbage bins and dumpsters from time to time.
To keep feral cats at bay, you should use a pest control product that helps control the animals or pests that might attract them. Rodent repellents, lizard repellents, and even insect repellents can help to keep not only pests from your property but also those pesky feral cats.
Do Not Feed Feral Cats
This may sound like a no-brainer, but many people have compassion for feral cats and will attempt to feed them. Remember, feral cats are quite different from stray and domesticated cats, and they are well equipped at finding food on their own.
If you do feed a feral cat, you are much more likely to wind up with that feral cat returning with other cats.
Not only will feeding feral cats lead to an uptick in these pests coming around your property, but it could also put you more at risk when it comes to contracting some of the serious diseases feral cats are known to carry.
Have Your Own Cats Spayed Or Neutered
If you have your own domesticated cats, be sure to get them spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough. Unaltered domesticated cats can attract feral cats to your property, and it can even compound the problem of feral cats in your neighborhood if your cat or a feral cat should become pregnant.
Work With Your Neighbors
Last, it’s best to be on the same page with your neighbors regarding how you plan to manage feral cats in your vicinity. If you are working to get rid of feral cats using the best cat repellent while your next-door neighbor is feeding these same feral cats, you are going to be going around in circles.
Instead, device a game plan with neighbors and help educate one another on the importance of managing and reducing the number of feral cats in the vicinity. Remember, feral cats are content and happy living outdoors and are capable of fending for themselves just fine.
However, they are also considered invasive species that are quite detrimental to a healthy ecosystem.
Luckily, if we work together to manage feral cats using the best cat repellent and methods of trapping, fixing, and releasing, we can strive to control the population, reduce feral cats, and ensure cats are domesticated, happy, and healthy in the future.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.