Have you ever found a cat that you didn’t own wandering on your property? Using your garden as a loo, bothering your own pets, damaging your outdoor furniture, or making awful noises in the middle of the night? You’re not alone, around half of Tasmanians say that roaming cats are a nuisance in their neighbourhoods. We know how frustrating it can be. Eventually you reach breaking point and decide you need to do something about it.
Now, there are right and wrong ways to deal with nuisance cats. If you have one in your neighbourhood, read on, because we’re going to help you deal with the issue responsibly.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that it’s not the cat’s fault that it has become a nuisance. These issues normally come about when a cat hasn’t been suitably contained at home by its owners or properly trained. So, as much as you might feel frustration towards the cat, try to remind yourself that it has no idea that it’s a nuisance to you.
So, here’s what you can do:
Speak with the owner
If you know who owns the cat (this may take a bit of detective work), a simple approach can be visiting your neighbour and having a friendly conversation about the issue. You’ll probably find that the owner is not aware that their cat is roaming the neighbourhood and causing frustration and they will probably be a little embarrassed their cat has been a nuisance to you. Try to deal with the problem together, rather than getting angry at the cat’s owner. Remind them that it’s in their cat’s best interest (not just their neighbours’) that they keep their cat safe at home.
Need help with engaging with your neighbours? Have a look at these resources available on our website that could make it easier to start the conversation.
Don't feed the cat
Feeding any cat will only train it to visit your place even more, which is encouraging the cat to stray away from its home. Always avoid feeding a cat that is not your own. If you feel like a cat isn’t being properly cared for, speak to its owners or report it to the RSPCA.
Try “cat-proofing” your yard
Here are a few tricks to try at home which can deter cats from roaming around certain parts of your yard:
If the cat likes to poop in the kids’ sandpit, covering the sandpit at night will significantly reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises in the sandcastles!
To prevent cats from digging in your garden at night, wet your garden before bed. Cats hate getting wet paws and a damp garden should keep them away.
If you have a cat regularly visiting an area of your garden that you wouldn’t like it to, particularly the veggie garden, try installing a motion-activating water sprinkler, or an ultrasonic deterrent device. You can find these at your local hardware store.
Create a cat deterrent garden. There is a good list of plants with scents that cats don’t like and using these as a barrier in your yard can be a great way to keep cats out; try planting Lemon Thyme, Pennyroyal, Coleus canina (known as ‘scaredy cat’), and Lavender. Also try spraying some Peppermint or Citronella oil around your property – be sure to reapply every few days to keep the smell strong enough to keep cats away.
Always remember that animal cruelty is an offence and harsh penalties do apply. For the safety of the cat, and for your own sanity, it’s best to address these issues immediately before they get any worse. We hope with the information we have provided you can responsibly deal with a nuisance cat and get your backyard back to yourself!
Need more info?
Download our factsheet on Nuisance Cats here.
If you know of anyone struggling with their own cats roaming the neighbourhood and feeling unsure how to keep them at home, we have written a blog for cat owners on How To Love Your Cat Even More, focussing on keeping their cats inside but happy at the same time!