How to Get Rid of Cats | 12 Easy & Effective Ways


Cats aren’t necessarily a nuisance until things go out of hand. With stray and feral cats, you run into the risks of a damaged and destroyed garden, something that most people don’t enjoy. However, if you are a pet lover and want to help out a stray cat that has probably gone without proper food and water access, you can help them before handing them over to a vet or a shelter.

However, the main question that many people have is how to get rid of cats in a humane way. Typically, there could be several reasons why you can’t have a cat nearby. It could be due to an impending allergy, or it could be due to other pets in the house.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Rabbits?

This article will dive into all the possible and effective ways to get rid of cats from outside your home.

List of Ways to Get Rid of Cats

1. Get Rid of Food Sources

Every stray or feral cat that you find on the periphery of your house comes around searching for food. So, if you leave open food sources around, the chances are that the cat will consider this a good place to return for some food every day.

If you don’t want the recurrence of the cat in your backyard or garden, you need to get rid of all the food sources, including an open trash can or even fallen fruits on the grass. Also, if you have a habit of feeding your pets outdoors, clean up after them, so there are no food remnants on the grass. 

Also, when you are clearing out the barbeque grills and the scraps, avoid putting the meat in the trash can. Instead, store them inside and directly throw them out when the garbage cleaners come around.

2. Use a Chicken Wire

Chicken Wire Netting
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It might sound like too much work, but if you want to keep the stray cats out of your home, you need to put up a chicken wire around the house. Although cats can jump pretty high, they don’t appreciate the sharp edges of the wires that poke out on the top.

So, even if they try to jump across the fence, any poke will get them to back out immediately. Also, a chicken wire prevents the cats from digging holes around the ground and the garden, which is always beneficial.

3. Get Rid of Possible Shelters

If you have it in your heart to help out a stray kitten, get them help by calling up a shelter. However, if you don’t want to take care of a cat full-time, you need to get rid of possible shelters around the house. If you have openings or warm and cozy nooks around the garden, fence them or remove them completely. 

Once they lack the warmth of the shelters, they will move ahead to the next spot that they find in the neighborhood. Typically, we’d recommend you look into some of the particular areas around the house where the cats frequent and seal it off immediately.

4. Introduce Discomfort

This might not be the best idea to consider, but this is a good alternative if you are frustrated with everything you have tried. Instead of waiting for things to eventually happen, you need to do the needful. Since cats like comfort and tend to relax in comfortable spots, you need to take away that comfort.

If you find a stray cat frequenting your house and sleeping around on the flower beds and such, we’d recommend that you find the best way to fill them out with stones and gravel. This will make the place uncomfortable, forcing the cat to find a better place to sleep in.

5. Get Motion-sensing Sprinklers

Lawn Sprinkler
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Another effective and easy way to scare off the cat is installing some motion-sensing sprinklers. The burst of water suddenly spraying down the cat will not just scare them off but also ingrain a bad memory in their mind, keeping them out of your home.

Since stray cats are likely to come out during the odd times of the day, we’d recommend you activate the sprinklers to go off during those periods. Typically, the afternoon and night time are the two best options that can help you keep these animals out.

6. Try Commercial Cat Repellent

Although the first mention of this might make it seem like a non-humane way to get rid of a cat, it isn’t. Typically, all of these commercially available cat repellents are formulated with a combination of smells that the cats find unpleasant. So, spraying the periphery of your home with this scent will effectively get rid of them in no time.

The cat might take some time to get introduced to the smell, so make sure you spray the entire garden and around the spots that the cats frequent more. Also, all of these repellents are non-toxic and completely safe, so you won’t have to worry about anything.

7. Keep the Temptations Away

If you have female cats at home who haven’t been spayed, those will serve as a temptation to a male feral cat. Especially when your female cat is in heat, the risks of attracting feral cats are pretty high. We’d recommend that you keep all such temptations in check. 

The best option would be getting your female cat spayed, so it doesn’t get heat. Since the cats release pheromones during their heats, not having the same will keep the risks of luring in male cats at bay.

8. Toss in some Citrus Peel

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This might not be as effective on its own. But, pair that with some of the other remedies as we mentioned, and you’d have no issues. Citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemon, and orange are some smells your cat despises.

So, throwing these peels at random around the garden will make the environment unfavorable to them, helping keep them away. Just ensure that you use some cat repellent as a backup, so the cats don’t enter the garden’s perimeter.

9. Call a Shelter

If you find that the number of feral or stray cats in your backyard is increasing consistently, the best way to tackle them is by calling a shelter or animal control. They can humanely catch them and transport them to the nearest shelter, so they have a warm place to spend their time in.

Typically, you’d have to call the nearest shelter if you can’t handle the cats on your own. Most people who want to get them help need to keep them distracted till help arrives. So, your best bet would be to distract them with some food till the shelter executives come and catch them.

10. Sprinkle Some Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper
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This is hands down one of the most annoying ways to catch a feral cat. Also, it is a hit or miss, depending on whether the cat steps on the line of cayenne pepper that you spread around. Typically, you need to spray and sprinkle the edge of the backyard and the frequent sites with some cayenne pepper.

Once the cats walk over it, they will want to groom themselves, and the spicy chili powder will act as a deterrent. When they pick up that the spicy powder is from your house, they will avoid stepping inside your house and its perimeter.

11. Check for Tags

Not all cats that walk into your backyard is stray or feral cat. Sometimes, cats tend to walk out of their homes without their owner’s knowledge. If you are good with cats and don’t mind picking them up and checking them for tags, do that.

If the cat is someone’s pet, you should be able to find a tag on their collar. If you can’t, contact a nearby shelter to check if they are microchipped. This will help you return the cat to its rightful owner. Typically, you should be able to take a look and tell if they are a house or a stray cat.

12. Use Smelly Plants

Coleus Canina
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Cats have heightened senses. Besides citrus, there are some unique plants and aromatics that they don’t enjoy smelling. So, if you want to keep them out, plant trees like Coleus Canina plants. These are called the cat scarers and will keep any strays out of the house and backyard.

Even sweet-smelling flowering plants like lavender and rue are considered unfit for a cat’s smell sense. So, plant those in abundance too. 

If you are wondering how to get rid of cats, we hope this article gives you an insight into the process. Just make sure you follow the right methods and check the traps you are using. Stick to humane tricks and traps. In case nothing works out, you can always stick to calling animal control to relocate them somewhere safe and warm where they won’t have to scrounge for food.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Moles in The Garden?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will Vinegar Keep Cats Away?

Vinegar has a very potent smell that the cats personally don’t enjoy. So, spraying the perimeter of the house with a strong vinegar solution can create an aversion for the cat and keep them out of your home.

Is Bleach a Good Cat Repellent?

No, bleach is not a good cat repellent at all. It can cause complications to the cat’s health and make them suffer. You might want to get rid of them, but there’s no reason why you have to hurt them in the process.

Does Chili Powder Deter Cats?

Yes, the strong aroma and the spicy flavor of chili powder will keep cats at bay. Sprinkle the perimeter of the house and garden with it.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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