cats waiting to enter yard

Even if you’re an animal lover, you may be researching how to keep cats out of your yard, especially if it’s causing problems with your indoor cats or the outdoor cats have started to destroy your yard or garden. Finding safe ways to keep felines out of areas they’re not welcome in can also be an important part of maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors. I’ve included many techniques and tools you can try, that can effectively deter cats from entering your yard and keep them off your property for good.

Are Strays a Problem?

How to keep cats out of your yard can be easy, if you know what you’re dealing with. Most cats are very independent. They often prefer to do their own thing. When it comes to ferals, this trait is usually magnified, since they were born and raised in the wild. However, it doesn’t really matter if the cats that are coming onto your property belong to your neighbors or they’re feral, since it’s your property and you have every right to say who is and isn’t allowed to spend their time there.

Cats that are unsupervised and wild can be a hassle to deal with since they can cause trouble often by attacking any animals on your property or by using your yard and garden as their own personal litter box. You may even find a litter of kittens on your property at some point. Because of all this, it’s perfectly understandable that you do not want any other cats on your property.

At this point, you may be very frustrated and wondering what you can do and how you can humanely and safely keep these invading cats off your property. The first step toward getting rid of these cats is to learn more about them. The type of cats they are can give you some help as far as choosing the right solution and technique to keep them out of your yard for good.

What Type of Cats are You Dealing With?

Even if you love cats, you definitely want to keep cats away if you’ve noticed they’re destroying your plants, spraying your patio furniture, or invading your planters.

The answer to this question can help you determine an effective solution. A cat may wander onto your property for many reasons, whether it’s a nice place to rest, they want to mark their territory, or they’re simply looking for a safe place to hide from predators.

Neighborhood Cats

If you’re dealing with the neighbor’s cat, or other cats from the neighborhood, then the solution may be simple or more complicated, depending on whether or not your neighbor becomes defensive when you speak to them about their pet digging up your lawn and defecating on your property. Some cat owners are more than willing to help you come up with a solution to their pet cats wandering onto your property, while other pet owners in the neighborhood are insistent that cats will be cats, which basically leaves it up to you to make sure they stay off your property.

Stray Cats

cat trying to enter yard

If you’ve recently moved into your new home, or a neighbor has recently moved away, you may find that an abandoned cat has decided to call your lawn home. This is a very sad situation for everyone involved, especially the abandoned cats. If you don’t have the space to take in these strays, look into local resources, such as cat rescues, who can give you great advice concerning what to do and whether or not they have the space to take in these poor cats.

Feral Cats

Feral cats come and go. Some neighborhoods have more ferals than others. These cats have never been someone’s pet and are pretty wild, which means you won’t be able to handle them. Ferals can cause issues if your cat is hanging out in the window and watching these cats move around on their property, or you have an indoor/outdoor cat who is constantly getting into fights with these cats.

Unfortunately, there are not many resources available for ferals, although there are some organizations that will take the cats and relocate them in areas where they’re needed for rodent control. Other organizations will capture them and neuter or spay them, then release them. Look up resources in your area to learn more.

If you’re determined to keep the cats out of your yard, regardless of what type of cats they are or who they belong to, then read on to learn some safe and effective ways to make it happen.

What’s Attracting Cats to Your Yard?

The first thing you should do is take a look at your lawn to determine the reason why cats are attracted to your yard in the first place. If the cats have access to certain creature comforts, such as a place to sleep, food, and water, then this could be the reason behind their frequent visits.

This is an important part of solving your problem, so you don’t want to skip it. The key to keeping cats out is to make your yard unappealing, whether it’s a matter of installing new fencing, adding some deterrents, or keeping your yard secure and clean.

Where to Look

During your inspection, take a look under woodpiles, under decks, even under the hood of a car you don’t drive often. Cats can make a home out of pretty much anything and are great at hiding.

If you’ve determined why cats are visiting your yard, whether it’s because they’re seeking shelter or you’ve been leaving food out for your dogs or cats, fix this issue immediately.

In other cases, a cat may just love rolling around in your yard because it’s a quiet place for them to rest, or they may be attracted to your garden and think it’s a great place to defecate.

Finding the Right Solution

So, what if you’ve made necessary changes and ensured that you’re not doing anything to attract these unwanted guests, but they’re still coming?

Below, I’ve compiled a list of techniques you can try that will keep these cats off your property for good. These solutions are all humane and safe and can be very effective if you’re consistent and follow these instructions closely.

How to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard with Sprinklers

cat sneaking to enter yard

Most people know how much cats hate water. Which is what makes water one of the best ways to keep cats away for good. Using motion activated sprinklers can be a great and safe way to deter cats from stepping foot on your property in the future. Your neighbor’s may not appreciate their cat coming home soaking wet, but if they’re not willing to help with the problem, this can be a great solution. These days, even large sets of motion activated sprinklers are affordable,

How to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard with Ultrasonic Devices

This is a great, affordable solution that many homeowners have had success with.

Ultrasonic devices are similar to motion activated sprinkler systems. These devices cover the area to be protected, using a type of infrared field. When the system detects the cat’s movements, it emits a high-frequency alarm that’s imperceptible to humans, but very annoying and startling to cats. An ultrasonic device can be used in all types of weather.

Do Ultrasonic Devices Really Work?

How effective this type of system is will depend heavily on where they’re placed on the property. Each system will have its own coverage range. Sound frequency and height can also come into play. Most people will mistakenly believe that the system doesn’t work, if cats continue to enter their property, but the issue is the system was installed incorrectly. Make sure you follow the system’s instructions closely in order to get the most out of this type of product.

Cat-Proof Fence

A fence that is specifically designed to contain cats can also be used to keep them out. Instead of pointing the slanted top of the fence out, point the top of the fence in. This type of fence is somewhat expensive, but if you’re not on a tight budget, you’ll find that cat-proof fence material is very effective. You can purchase it as a standalone fence or as an extension for the top of your existing fence. If you have a large property, measure it carefully and shop around to determine if the cost of a new fence is feasible.

How to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard Using Cat Repellents

angry feral cat

You’ll need to do a little experimenting with cat repellents, since not every cat repellent will keep cats out or work the same for every animal. However, the right smell can keep cats away and your garden beds safe.

The right cat repellent can be used to deter cats from coming onto your property in the future. These cat repellents often take the form of plants, pellets, and sprays. Unfortunately, they won’t work for every cat. Cats hate strong scents, however, some cats have a more sensitive sense of smell than others.

Location is Important

The effectiveness of scent repellents can be maximized by spraying or placing them around the edges of the protected area, in your garden beds, and any areas the cat enters your property. This will include the tops of fences and any spots in the yard that the invading cats seem to favor.

Critter Ridder is a cat repellent made by Havahart that’s made out of capsaicin, piperine, and black pepper. It’s meant to be sprinkled on the ground and can protect your flower beds and plants from diggers. The product’s strong smell can keep cats away for good.

Digging Barriers Using Scat Mats or Chicken Wire

Are you driving yourself crazy trying to keep cats out of  your yard, garden, or plants? Then this solution can help.

Most cats love to dig in soft soil, which is why they seem to be so attracted to flower beds, potted plants, and gardens. If you want to deter cats from digging in your garden you can use a cat scat mat, which is a thick plastic mat that has plastic spikes that point upward. This will discourage a cat from digging, but will not harm the cat.

Other Ground Cover Options

You can also try rough surface rocks, which can be utilized as ground cover and spread throughout your garden around your plants.

Some people also recommend scattering coffee grounds around garden plants to deter digging, since cats hate the strong smell of coffee.

Before you plant your garden, you can also lay down some lattice fencing or chicken wire, then place the seeds and flowers in the openings. Chicken wire is a more affordable choice than lattice. Additionally, the texture of chicken wire makes digging around plants very uncomfortable for cats.

Make a Litter Box for Outdoor Use

If you’ve tried everything and you continue to find cat urine and feces in your garden, then try making an outdoor litter box and set them in the problem area. You can also create a large pile of peat moss that measures eight inches deep and four square feet and place it near your garden, or you can fill up a storage bin with a few inches of sand, cutting a door that’s eight inches by eight inches in the bin, right above the level of sand. You can use regular cat litter, but sand is more affordable.

You can attract cats to this bathroom by placing their feces inside it and setting it by or in your garden.

Give Stray Cats and Ferals a New Home

outdoor cat house in winter

Using the best outdoor cat house, you can provide shelter for cats who are homeless. This will be especially important and kind during the winter months. Place the shelter in a quiet location, far away from your house and any noise. This will help feral cats and stray cats survive a challenging winter. These houses are often very affordable, so you can place more than one house on your property and give these cats much-needed shelter from the elements. They will then defecate and urinate in their small area and not wander around your property.

Trap Neuter Return

If you want to get a handle on the feral and stray cat population, contact a local organization that handles trapping and neutering ferals and strays. This can reduce fights in your yard, can prevent litters of feral kittens being born on your property, and can help improve a feral cat’s quality of life.

Other Tips to Deter Cats

  • If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, you can’t leave a dish of food outside for them. Avoid leaving food outdoors since this will attract cats and wildlife to your yard.
  • Remove any cat poop promptly and water down the area to help prevent a cat from returning to the same spot
  • If you barbeque, wash any dirty grills to remove the odor of food.
  • If you have any shelters on your property, such as sheds, make sure you secure them properly to prevent a stray or feral cat from taking up residence.
  • Wash down your yard. A cat will spray areas on your property to mark their territory. Hose down those areas to eliminate their odor.
  • Use motion activated strobe lights to scare off skittish ferals. The strobe lights will turn on as soon as the cat walks onto your property or sets a paw in your garden. This may be enough to deter homeless and feral cats.
  • Avoid growing catnip on your property.
  • Use pine cones or lemon peels on any problem areas in the yard to prevent cats from digging
  • If you have a sandbox on your property, keep it covered. Cats love to dig around in a sandbox and use it as their own personal litter pan.
  • Call animal control as a last result, if the invading cat is constantly starting fights with your pet or you feel unsafe
  • Use predator urine to scare cats away. Spray the urine on problem areas and repeat the treatment once a month.
  • Secure and cover any trash cans where a stray or feral may find a free meal
  • Keep an eye on bird feeders in your garden and place them out in the open where a cat is not able to surprise or stalk visiting birds.
  • Hang up noisemakers and place foil in areas of the garden that cats visit frequently.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to keep cats out of your yard for good is possible, if you get a little creative and first determine what’s drawing them to your property.

If you’re determined to keep cats off of your property, then at least one of the solutions I’ve included here should do the trick. If the cats belong to your neighbors, this can be a very awkward situation, especially if the neighbor is refusing to help. If you’re dealing with ferals or stray cats, please reach out to local organizations who can offer helpful advice or solutions that are safe and not harmful to cats. The tips and techniques here are all safe ways to let cats know they’re not wanted on your property. With consistency and a little creativity you’ll be able to keep your yard animal-free.