According to a recent study, there are approximately 60 million feral cats in the US. To put those numbers into perspective, that is roughly 1/3 of the total human population in the United States. So, it would not be unusual if you do see a couple of feral cats invading your yard.
What Are Feral Cats?
Feral cats are simply cats which have reverted to their “primal”, undomesticated state. They may be cats formerly kept as pets that have been abandoned or the offspring of abandoned cats and were raised without any direct human intervention. Because they will reproduce near areas populated by humans, feral cats can be seen roaming about in rural, suburban and urban areas.
So, what is the difference between your domesticated kitty and a feral cat? Feral cats tend to be more vicious, will prey on small critters (especially birds) .Most are not neutered hence they can reproduce at an alarming rate. And since feral cats were raised without any care and support from humans, they have not been vaccinated and could carriers of the rabies virus.
Why Are Feral Cats Considered A Menace?
Feral cats feed mostly on birds, and considering their sheer
number, you can imagine just how many birds these cats can eat. In fact, the declines in the population of birds (which even include several endangered species) are attributed to feral cats.
Also, feral cats can wreck havoc on your lawn. They will scatter excrement, turn over garbage bins when they scavenge for food, and will prey on your small household pets, such as parakeets and hamsters .
Feral cats will not only claw and scratch when they feel threatened, they may also bite. As previously stated, some feral cats may be rabid so try your best to avoid directly confronting them.
So, How Do I Keep Cats Off My Lawn?
There are a few things you can do to get rid of cats from you lawn. They will frequently visit your yard for the simple reason that they need food and shelter. If you make it difficult for them to obtain those two things, chances are they will go somewhere else.
- Secure your garbage: Start off by keeping your garbage bins tightly closed. That will prevent them from rummaging through it to scavenge for leftover food. Do not keep a bird feeder, since birds will definitely attract them. Also, keep feeding trays for your pets indoors.
- Secure your outbuilings: If you have a shed, always keep the door tightly closed. Seal off any open gaps beneath your porch or any other opening underneath your house. This will prevent feral cats from making a den out of your home.
- Remove Scat and Spray: Feral cats can leave a nasty trail of scat and urine spray as they mark their territory. To the extent possible, remove scat left behind and rinse areas where they have sprayed to reduce their scent. In some areas, ammonia may be used where urine smell is strongest, rinsing thoroughly with water from a hose.
- Use Organic Repellents: Use organic animal repellents, like Shake-Away Cat Repellent. Although feral cats are predators, they do fear predators that are larger than themselves which can hunt them down them down. Feral cats are instinctively afraid of coyotes and foxes, so the odor of coyote and fox urine that is infused in Shake-Away’s organic granules will keep them at bay.
What Do I Do With Really Persistent Feral Cats?
Feral cats can sometimes be very stubborn, so if all else fails the next option is to trap them. There are several types of cat traps available made especially for this purpose. After trapping the cat, call an animal shelter and request them to pick it up. The cats are then either neutered and released, or are put up for adoption.
However, if you are fond of cats and you need an excellent hunter to keep rabbits, ground hogs and other small critters off your lawn, then you may wish to consider allowing the uninvited feral cat to remain on your property. To assure your family’s safety, make certain that any cat around your home is properly vaccinated.