How to deal with pesky outdoor cats

Are the neighborhood’s outdoor cats bugging your feline? Here’s how to deal with them in a safe and humane manner.

Jamie has a three-year-old spayed cat named Rose who stays indoors. Unfortunately, there are two other cats in their neighborhood who aren’t as well supervised. One visits at night and urinates in Jamie’s garden bed. The other comes right up onto the porch when she knows Rose is watching and stares at her through the window. Naturally, Rose goes crazy, meowing and hissing, which is very disturbing at 2:00 a.m. Neither of the outdoor cats look feral but Jamie isn’t sure where they live. How can she keep them off her property and give Rose some peace?

This is a great question, because it’s not uncommon for free-roaming, outdoor cats to cause problems for indoor cats. The frustration Jamie’s cat is experiencing can cause her to urine-mark, attack another family cat, and even redirect aggression to the humans in her household.

If Jamie’s problem sounds all-too-familiar, it’s time to take action. More and more cities are enacting cat leash laws, so a good first step is to involve your local animal control agency. If you want to deal with the problem yourself, I’d suggest using a humane cat repellent. This sort of device meets the criteria for effective yet humane correction – it is immediate, consistent, doesn’t depend on your presence, and is intense enough to convince the cats to leave without harming them.

Another option is to write and home-deliver copies of a letter asking your neighbors to keep their cats on their own property. Your delivery area might be quite large, as these roaming cats could reside up to several blocks away. If the owners are irresponsible enough to allow their cats out at 2:00 a.m., your pleas will likely fall on deaf ears. Still, it’s worth a shot.

Lastly, you could discourage your cat from sitting in the window and watching the cats. Cover the windowsill with an upside-down carpet runner, whose stiff, plastic points should be sharp enough to deter your cat from sitting or standing on them.