Easy Solutions to Cat Behaviors

Cats are Digging in My Garden.

Explanation: It is a cat's natural instinct to dig and deposit in soft or loose soil, moss, mulch or sand.

Quick Solutions:

  • Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus scented fragrances. Coffee grounds, vinegar, pipe tobacco, or oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus also deter cats.
  • Plant the herb rue to repel cats, or sprinkle dried rue over the garden.
  • Use plastic carpet runners spike-side up, covered lightly in soil. They can be found at local hardware or office supply stores. Or , set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
  • Arrange branches in a lattice-type pattern or wooden or plastic lattice fencing material over soil. You can also try embedding wooden chopsticks, pinecones, or sticks with dull points deep into the soil with the tops exposed eight inches apart.
  • Obtain Cat Scat, a nonchemical cat and wildlife repellent consisting of plastic mats that are cut in smaller pieces and pressed into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourage digging. Available at www.gardeners.com.
  • Establish a liter box by tilling the soil or placing sand in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard. Keep it clean and free of deposits.

Cats are Lounging in My Yard or on My Porch.

Explanation: Cats are territorial and will remain close to their food source.

Quick Solutions:

  • Apply cat repellent fragrances liberally around the edges of the yard, the tops of fences, and on any favorite digging areas or plants.
  • Install an ultrasonic animal repellent of a motion activated water sprinkler, such as CatStop or the ScareCrow. Available at www.contech-inc.com.

Feeding the Cats Attracts Insects and Wildlife.

 Explanation: Cats are to be fed under proper guidelines. Leaving food out can attract other animals.

Quick Solutions:

  • Keep the feeding area neat and free of leftover food and trash.
  • Feed cats at the same designated time each day, during daylight hours. They should be given only enough food for them to finish in one sitting, and all remaining food should be removed after 30 minutes. If another person is feeding, ask them to follow these guidelines too. For a more thorough list of colony management guidelines, visit www.alleycat.org/ColonyCare.

Cats are Yowling, Fighting, Spraying, Roaming, and Having Kittens.

 Explanation: These are all mating behaviors displayed by cats who have not been spayed and neutered, and they will breed prolifically.

Quick Solutions:

  • Spaying or neutering and vaccinating the cats will stop these behaviors. Male cats will no longer compete, fight, spray, or roam. Females will stop yowling and producing kittens. After sterilization, hormones leave their system within three weeks and the behaviors usually stop entirely.
  • To combat the urine smell, spray the area thoroughly with white vinegar or with products that use natural enzymes to combat the smell, such as Nature's Miracle, Fizzion Pet Stain & Odor Remover, or Simple Solution, available at pet supply stores.
  • You can find local resources and help at the Alley Cat Allies website: www.alleycat.org. To have a list of local feral cat expert-Feral Friend in your area emailed to you, use the request form at www.alleycat.org/Response.