Long Haired Domestic Outdoor Cat Lounging On Fence In California Neighborhood

How To Keep Cats Away From Your House: Tips & Tricks

Miranda Crace5-MINUTE READ
June 11, 2021

While many homeowners love and cherish their feline friends, not every cat that makes its way onto your property is welcome. Whether your neighbors allow their cats to roam freely outside or your neighborhood is home to a collective of true strays, their cuteness can often be overshadowed by the frustration of having to deal with the consequences of their actions outside of your house.

Fortunately, there are a number of precautions you can take to keep cats away from your home and out of your garden. We’ll review them in this handy guide.

How To Keep Stray Cats Away

Outdoor cats can present a number of problems to your home and its surrounding property:

  • They can create messes in your lawn, on your patio or in your driveway.
  • The noise they make – especially at night – can be a nuisance.
  • They can be aggressive toward the cats or dogs you keep as pets.
  • They can sometimes prey upon innocent birds, squirrels and bunnies in your lawn.
  • Their urine and fecal matter can not only be harmful to your home’s exterior ecosystem, but the scent can also attract even more cats to your property.

To avoid these issues and to keep the space around your home cat-free, let’s go over a few helpful tips.

Secure Your Garbage Cans

When the lids of your garbage cans aren’t securely attached and food waste becomes accessible to the outside world, you’re more likely to attract cats and other critters in search of a midnight snack to your property. If you store your trash outside or take it out for collection once a week, make sure all your cans are closed firmly and that no edible debris has fallen on the ground or is hanging out from the sides of the receptacle for cats to reach.

Clean Your Grill

Cats are carnivores, so if you enjoy cooking meat on the grill in your backyard during the warmer months of the year, make sure to properly clean up after each use to avoid drawing the interest of your neighborhood tabbies. Scrub away any burnt remnants on the surface of the grill, dispose of the ash if it runs on charcoal and sweep up visible food particles from the ground surrounding the area. If you practice good grill upkeep, you’ll be less likely to encounter wandering cats in that section of your property.

Add Fences To Your Home’s Perimeter

If there’s a specific access point on your property that cats keep coming through, it might be useful to put in fencing along the border of your land. Some cats might still make the effort to hop the fence on occasion, but adding a sizable obstruction to their path will deter many from continuing to enter your yard on a regular basis.

Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers In Your Yard

The stereotype that most cats hate getting wet is one rooted in truth, so an effective way to keep cats out of your yard and away from your home’s exterior is to set up a sprinkler system that’s activated whenever motion is detected on your lawn. The more times a cat gets sprayed, the less likely they’ll be to return to your property.

How To Keep Cats Out Of Your Garden

If you love gardening and tending to the landscaping at the front and back of your house, you may be especially protective of your flowers and shrubs when it comes to wandering cats. Here are a few ways to prevent the cats that occupy your neighborhood from entering your garden.

Surround Your Garden With Chicken Wire

If lining the perimeter of your property with fencing hasn’t been enough to keep cats from entering your yard, protect your landscaping by enclosing the areas that attract feline attention with chicken wire. Creating multiple barriers for cats to have to breach in order to access your greenery will increase the likelihood of them losing interest in your garden space and leaving your plants alone.

Add Rough Materials To Your Flower Beds

In addition to eating plants and flowers, cats can sometimes turn outdoor gardens into their personal litter boxes, which can be detrimental to the health of your plants and expose any fruits and vegetables you’ve been growing to bacteria that can be extremely harmful to humans.

To prevent these things from happening, consider scattering organic materials with rough or sharp textures – like twigs and pinecones – across the surface of your flower beds. Cats usually prefer to walk across soft materials like grass, soil and mulch, so if their desired path is littered with materials that are slightly harsher on their paws, they’ll be less likely to do damage to your garden.

Use Cat Repellents

If you’re worried about the roaming cats in your neighborhood trying to eat your outdoor plants – especially if your landscaping contains plants or flowers that would be harmful for cats to ingest – consider purchasing a cat repellent spray and administering it across the plants and mulch in your garden. To prevent them from even getting close to your garden, you could also install ultrasonic devices that emit frequencies meant to deter cats and other animals from entering the vicinity of your home.

There are also a number of natural cat repellent options homeowners can choose from. Organic substances like lemon and orange peels, coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, dried lavender and pipe tobacco all tend to be effective at keeping cats away when sprinkled throughout your garden beds.

Not Too Bothered By Neighborhood Cats? Care For Them At A Distance

If you’re an animal lover who would prefer to strike a balance between keeping outdoor cats that aren’t yours away from your home and making sure the cats are at least somewhat cared for, it might be wise to consider setting up a designated space on your property for passerby felines.

Choose an area of your yard that’s a moderate distance from your home without encroaching on your neighbor’s property, and decide on some of the things you would like this cat-friendly zone to offer. You might populate this area with bowls of food and water, a small shelter, a litter box (if you’re willing to clean it) and maybe even some catnip. Make sure that this area is far enough away from your living space that the cats won’t be enticed to come closer, and you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve given them access to sustenance and safety.

The Bottom Line: Cats Are Cute, But Not Always Your Concern

Simply put: Adorable as they may be, cats that don’t belong to you and their often pesky behavior should not be your responsibility. As a homeowner, you deserve to be able to keep the exterior areas of your home looking pristine if you so choose, and taking steps to prevent animal interference can make it easier for you to achieve that goal and to maintain the sense of pride you have in your home.

Cats aren’t the only creatures that can cause trouble for homeowners. For more critter tips, check out our article on some of the things you might discover during a pest inspection of your home.

Miranda Crace

The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.