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Indoor/Outdoor Cat Battles!
May 9, 2006 2:59 PM   Subscribe

How do I stop a neighborhood stray from coming into the yard and antagonizing my indoor cat? The howling! The hissing! The fighting!

My girlfriend and I live in the ground floor of a three story house in Brooklyn that has a little fenced in area in the front and a walled-in backyard. There are a couple of stray cats that have taken it upon themselves to position themselves outside of our windows/doors and torture my indoor cat. If we leave the windows open our cat will fight with the strays through the screen -- and it's the most horific sound of all time. The past couple of nights we've been woken up by these sounds and any attempts to remove our cat from the situation usually results in serious injury. So how do we remedy this? We wanna leave the windows open for circulation but fear for all of our lives. There doesn't seem to be any way to keep the cats out of the backyard or front -- our landlords tried fencing off entryways but the strays are too crafty. Is there some kind of scent we can leave or similar tactic? Our cat is ever vigilant and cares too much for us to just ignore these filthy bastards.
posted by oldkentucky to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
 
Orange peel. Leave it lying around and also wipe down surfaces with it.
posted by fire&wings at 3:04 PM on May 9, 2006


How about keeping a squirt bottle or hose from the sink nearby and drenching any animal THROUGH the screen that's putzing around outside the window? This might discourage them from coming back. Cats hate to get wet.
posted by rolypolyman at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2006


Strays, if you're sure they are strays then use live traps and call animal control... or a pellet gun.
posted by 517 at 3:12 PM on May 9, 2006


give this a shot, i've also used a water bottle with red pepper/water mixture....good luck...and watch out for all the diseases they might have!
posted by killyb at 3:14 PM on May 9, 2006


You could get your cat a dog for protection. We inherited a cat a few years ago and the dogs think she's just a bizarre dog, have adopted her as part of the pack and go after any stray that messes with her. She didn't have much use for dogs at first, but the perks of pseudo-dogdom are winning her over and she regularly rewards the dogs with baby rabbits she catches. It's a win-win for all involved.
posted by buggzzee23 at 3:15 PM on May 9, 2006


I've had luck spreading cuttings from thorny shrubs like rose or barberry in spots in the garden I want to keep the neighborhood cats away from (because they use said spots as litter boxes).
posted by TimeFactor at 3:23 PM on May 9, 2006


It is possible to add a cat containment system for an enclosed yard that will prevent cats from getting in or out. It does work - I installed it at my previous residence. But you'll need to spend at least a couple hundred dollars (more if you pay someone to install it).

On a less expensive note: you might want to get a super soaker or similar delivery system rather than use a water bottle.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:25 PM on May 9, 2006


A super soaker works, but it's better to get a live trap and take them to the Humane Society. You can call them and they will help you out. Much more permanent, too.

She didn't have much use for dogs at first, but the perks of pseudo-dogdom are winning her over and she regularly rewards the dogs with baby rabbits she catches. It's a win-win for all involved.
posted by buggzzee23 at 3:15 PM PST on May 9


um
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:38 PM on May 9, 2006


I always used an AirSoft pellet gun and the strays always stayed away. Of course, within a week after I'd moved out of the house, my old roommates told me that the strays had returned.

Anything like that would require constant vigilance in order to keep the strays out. You should try the orange peel suggestion, though I've never heard of that being a cat deterrant it couldn't hurt to try.
posted by myodometer at 3:50 PM on May 9, 2006


thanks everyone!! i really appreciate all the suggestions. my girlfriend and i will now be getting to work rubbing, hurling, squirting, shooting, and fencing our way to a good nights sleep and to a more sane cat. keep the suggestions coming and i'll mark the ones that work for future reference!
posted by oldkentucky at 4:49 PM on May 9, 2006


These autosprinklers work great.
They are a little spendy for what you get, but they are the only thing I've found that will keep the strays out from underneath my windows.
I think they'd work great in a small enclosed area like you describe. Plus, you don't have to monitor it.
posted by madajb at 5:11 PM on May 9, 2006


Borrow loquacious's crea cat for one night only, put it where your guy usually sits in the exact same position as in the photo ➔ guaranteed success.
posted by rob511 at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2006


I second the trapping. Cuts down on the stray cats in a more global sense.
posted by oflinkey at 5:25 PM on May 9, 2006


A squirt bottle with some ammonia. You want to create a hostile environment for these pests. It's easier than trapping, if it works. Also, I wonder if Coyote urine would work on cats?
posted by caddis at 6:42 PM on May 9, 2006


This product seems designed to do exactly what you want.
posted by underwater at 7:44 PM on May 9, 2006


Trapping feral cats is the only solution that will be anything like effective in the long run. Somebody in your area is feeding them, perhaps unintentionally, but the strays are finding food and shelter, and reproducing, and will continue to do so up to Malthusian limits. Trapping adults and sending them to shelters is the only way to significantly impact the breeding cycle in an urban setting.

Feral cats do not make good pets; they are, however, a valuable source of biological science teaching specimens, and animal control shelters can recoup operating costs by sales of carcasses to supply companies. By live trapping, and delivering the feral animals to responsible shelters, you can humanely reduce this urban problem, and provide resources for shelters.
posted by paulsc at 7:50 PM on May 9, 2006


It's possible to spay feral cats, or befriend them. (Not that befriending the cats is really an option in this case – just a counter to the categorical statement "feral cats don't make good pets.") Me, I'd focus on shooing 'em first.
posted by furiousthought at 9:16 PM on May 9, 2006


Adult feral cats can rarely be "tamed," and represent a growing public health problem in most urban areas in the U.S. Some cities have tried to establish "trap/neuter/release" (TNR) programs in attempt to create stable non-breeding colonies of ferals, to prevent re-colonization of trapped out areas by fertile ferals from adjacent areas, but these programs can't be shown to have had provable results in most areas, because they are very resource intensive and re-introduce only relatively small numbers of spayed ferals.

On the other hand, trapping one or two evenings a week in the summer time in my neighborhood, with 4 live traps of my own has pretty much eliminated the night nuisance barking of neighborhood dogs. I typically get 2 or 3 cats an evening, about 10% of whom are tame neighbor cats that have gotten out. It's quite easy to tell the tame pets from the ferals on approach while checking the traps, and I check and release tame animals with collars and license tags on the spot. Feral cats are quite viscous when approached in the trap, hissing and growling, and attacking at any opportunity. I wear leather gloves even to pickup my traps by their handles, as ferals will immediately try to claw and bite as soon as you touch the trap.

In two years of doing this, I've gotten about 150 ferals and 1 fat garbage raiding racoon to the county shelter. On three occasions, I've trapped pregnant females, and twice, I've caught kittens, and used them to later box trap their mothers. In conjunction with 3 or 4 other guys in the neighborhood doing the same thing, and talking to people about securing food supplies, and shelters, we've taken close to 1000 ferals out of this 300 square block residential neighborhood in the last 2 years, and see noticeably fewer cats. At the end of last fall, we began to see noticeably fewer captures in the middle of the neighborhood, and even some decrease in catch rates on the edges of our area.

Trapping can work, and it's not hard, or particularly expensive. Once you've got the traps, a weekend's worth of bait is only a $1.
posted by paulsc at 4:39 AM on May 10, 2006


Thanks for the thorough answer, paulsc. I'm sure it feels Sisyphean but that's pretty impressive.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:14 AM on May 10, 2006


Feral cats are quite viscous when approached in the trap, hissing and growling, and attacking at any opportunity. I wear leather gloves even to pickup my traps by their handles, as ferals will immediately try to claw and bite as soon as you touch the trap.

No shit, they're in a trap, and probably sense your attitude on top of that. Well, go on with your bad self, I'm sure bragging about all the kittens you've put in bags and thrown in the river will win your kind lots of zealous converts.
posted by furiousthought at 10:24 AM on May 10, 2006


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