No, kitty, this is MY garage.
June 11, 2014 6:50 AM   Subscribe

A stray cat has apparently taken a liking to our garage. How do we stop this?

It began one day about two weeks ago when Mr. altopower left the garage open when he went to pick up our kids from school. When they returned, there was a cat in the garage that got scared and hid behind some boxes in the far back of the garage. Mr. altopower left the garage open to let the cat out and went in the house to make sure the cat wasn't too scared to leave. The cat left at some point, but he had already used the floor as a litterbox.

Last week, I saw the cat again when I was backing out of the garage. I quickly closed the door to prevent the cat from getting in because he clearly was interested in going in. We have been VERY careful about keeping the door closed and watching to make sure nothing is getting in.

However, last night, Mr. altopower left to go get milk, and discovered the cat in the closed garage sitting on the roof of our vehicle. We have no idea how long he'd been in there because neither of us had seen him, but he'd definitely been defecating and peeing in an innertube sled that was on the garage floor. The cat was scared by the opening garage door and ran out.

How do we keep this from happening again? We live in a semi-rural area in a small village...if we discover the cat in the closed garage again like last night we will call County Animal Control, but how do we (humanely, obviously) keep the cat out of the garage? We're closing the door quickly, we're not leaving it open, we have no idea how he's getting in without being seen. There are no holes he can be sneaking in.

posted by altopower to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's too late. The cat has decided that your garage is his territory, so you have two options:

1) Call animal control now and get it over with;
2) Decide to take it in as your own.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:59 AM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]

3) Get a water pistol. Every time you encounter it, hose it down and chase it away. It will soon get the message. Effective and with no real physical threat or violence. Possibly bad for your kitty karma though...
posted by jim in austin at 7:08 AM on June 11, 2014

Are you sure this is a "he"? Any chance there's a litter of kittens inside your garage?
posted by zadcat at 7:33 AM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]

There is a hole the cat is getting through. You just haven't found it.

Also, I agree with zadcat that you want to be sure that there are no kittens around.
posted by jeather at 7:39 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If he can be won over to be friendly to you, that would be great. Even if you can't keep him, it will make him much more likely to be adopted if animal control picks him up.

Sounds like he could be feral or nearly so. If that's true:

If you don't object to him being on your property, you could put up a feral cat shelter for him. If you set up a protected area with loose soil nearby, he'll probably choose to poop there instead.

Of course, you'll need to find how he's getting into the garage. If you're absolutely sure he's getting in while the door's closed, maybe if you move toward him, he'll seek to exit the garage using his secret entrance/exit.

There are resources (i.e. people) who know about feral cats, and if this dude isn't a problem for you, he could be fun to have around. Assuming your kids will be cool with it and won't try to "play" with him. You know your kids better than anybody.
posted by amtho at 8:11 AM on June 11, 2014

Stray cats deciding your car is a great place to hang out is a thing; cars stay warm after they are turned off, after all, and they are high up, and yours is in a nice safe garage. Unless you decide to adopt him and bring him indoors, you are going to have to find a way to get rid of him.

I would suggest a) cleaning up your garage so there are no hiding places (this will also help you find the hole, if there is one) and b) setting out a trap with tuna or something irresistable and then taking him to the shelter.

You have to do b), otherwise he's going to resort to darting in when your car is going in or out and you might end up with dead kitty (or trapped, snarling kitty) in your garage. Not good for him or you.
posted by emjaybee at 8:23 AM on June 11, 2014

And please check the engine and wheel wells before you start the car, or bang on the hood -- cats will hide out anywhere, and there are tons of stories about kittens going on wild rides.
posted by vickyverky at 9:07 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Check for kittens first, then get some powdered coyote urine. It's available on Amazon and is specifically a cat deterrent. And clean up all the cat's pee and poop well.
posted by Specklet at 9:37 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

(Sorry, I meant to say that it would be preferable if you could trap him or get him to a shelter somehow.)
posted by Specklet at 9:41 AM on June 11, 2014

If you have a friend who is a bit of an animal rescuer, call that person and have him or her attempt to capture Kitty with a humane trap and find it a home. If you don't have such a friend, use Alley Cat Allies' Feral Friends Network Connect. You fill out that form and they send you a list of sympathetic people in your area who have experience trapping and rehoming cats. This is more likely, on average, to result in a home for Kitty than the animal control/shelter route, and it's not significantly more difficult for you.
posted by jocelmeow at 10:02 AM on June 11, 2014

A girlfriend had this issue. The cat got in the garage and brought her litter of kittens with her. They were hiding behind some old boards on the floor and were old enough to be very hard to catch.

We called animal control who provided us with a live trap to catch the mother. I then had to remove the hiding places and catch all the kittens.
posted by wrnealis at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2014

I am simultaneously more and less freaked out right now. So, thanks for that, I guess. :)

I spoke with our downstairs neighbor this afternoon (we live in a 4-unit building)...they leave their garage open all the time, so I asked whether they were having problems with this cat. He said the cat's around all the time and goes in their garage but didn't seem to have any problem with it as the cat is apparently not using *their* garage as a litterbox. The neighbor seems pretty sure the cat is male, and we are too, but admittedly we have nothing in the way of proof.

Adopting the cat is out of the question. As much as we love cats, our current cat (who is 14 and already stressed out for other reasons) would not go for that at all.

I don't think he's feral in the sense that he's hostile to humans. He's skittish, but I

So, it seems like the best bet is to try to "trap" him (either ourselves [we are fairly experienced cat people] or the Alley Cat people) and get him to a shelter. Is that the consensus that I'm seeing?
posted by altopower at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2014

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