I need to convince a jerk cat to find another yard to inhabit.
December 1, 2019 11:00 AM   Subscribe

I live in a dense urban area with a lot of feral and outdoor cats. A particular tabby has started marking all over my back deck and yard, which is driving my indoor cats bonkers. I also have a very large dog who uses the yard, but that has not scared off jerk cat. Is there something I can do/use to keep cats, especially jerk cat, out of my yard, and that is safe for my dog and indoor cats?

Jerk cat is a young male tabby who has been hanging around for at least a year. He appears to be ear-tipped but still sprays? My yard is surrounded by a 6 foot tall wood fence, and has a deck adjacent to my back French doors where the jerk cat seems to spend the most time. He is not even a little scared of me. If I let my 100 pound dog out, he will run off, only to come back later. There are many other feral and owned outdoor cats around that sometimes wander into my yard also, as well as possums and other urban wildlife.

My indoor cats are neutered males, and this recent increase in marking by jerk cat is starting to cause them to pee by the door in what I assume is a territory thing. Feral cats cannot be relocated or surrendered to the shelter in my city, and I don't want to actually harm the cat. I do want to convince him to hang out somewhere else. I can't use anything that would prevent my dog or I from being able to enjoy the yard/deck (so no motion-activated sprinklers) or any chemical that he might bring in that would harm my cats. What solutions are out there?
posted by tryniti to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your own cats’ used litter may help. It will hold scent at levels detectable to the cat but not you for a long time. You can also buy coyote urine.

If you start manually squirting it with a super soaker, it will become afraid of you.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:03 AM on December 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Can you think of a specific place that would be better for him to hang out?

That said, motion-activated sprinklers are a common recommendation.

Also, you can do your own marking with canned deterrent spray.

I've seen (on videos) good results quickly from blocking the indoor cats' view - covering lower windows on that side of the house - so they don't actually see the interloper.
posted by amtho at 11:06 AM on December 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

motion-activated sprinklers are a common recommendation

and they are very fun when you forget about them and run out to the yard to grab something and get blasted at 15'. very fun. your dog might enjoy it too...

I think the used litter/coyote urine is prob way to go. you'll be telling jerk kitty to stay away in the language they best understand.
posted by supermedusa at 11:11 AM on December 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Motion activated sprinklers on a timer. Cats are also fairly nocturnal. You and your dog are typically not.

Hit jerk cat with a super soaker during the day, ideally from indoors via an open window. Or use the hose, but of course you just want to piss him off, not hurt him, so make sure the force isn't that strong.

For comedic relief, you could also try vacuuming the deck when jerk cat is there.... never fails to scare my cats off, anyway ;)
posted by cgg at 11:55 AM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I’d be hesitant to use your cats’ used litter as a deterrent—it might drive the cat to spray more, to dominate and cover up their scent. Coyote urine might be a different story, though, since it’s not another cat and cats ought to be afraid of coyotes. However, presumably your dog pees in the yard and the cat isn’t afraid of your dog....

In a similar situation (interloper cat lurking and spraying at the window of my basement apartment, making it stink and upsetting my cats), spraying the window surface with vinegar periodically did the trick. Doesn’t harm the glass, doesn’t harm the cats or other animals, no long lasting effects because eventually the vinegar smell dissipates. The cat really did not like the smell and immediately stopped lurking and spraying.

See what you can safely spray with vinegar around the outside of your house and yard—wash the windows of the French doors with vinegar, spray it on glass surfaces, rocks. Refresh as needed until the cat doesn’t come back.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:07 PM on December 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've heard that putting out citrus peels on the ground helps, though I've never tried it so I can't vouch for its effectiveness.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:20 PM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ha, actually came in to say that when we had a feral who liked to p00p in our garden, putting out a bunch of orange/lemon/lime peels on a semi-regular basis seems to have worked to keep it away. Anecdote not data, etc.
posted by General Malaise at 12:56 PM on December 1, 2019

Trap the cat and verify for sure whether it's neutered or not. Scoop out those balls if not. Alley Cat Allies might be able to help you find a local rescue to help you.
posted by schroedinger at 7:07 PM on December 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had success with using a hose - I think I only actually got water on the cat twice and it wasn't a strong stream or anything. It seemed to be just enough for him to realise my yard was not a fun place to be! If he comes back as soon as he hears me turn on the tap he runs away! Success!
posted by latch24 at 9:55 PM on December 1, 2019

Humane society usually has free/low cost tnr for ferals and will rent you a trap for $5/wk + deposit.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:51 PM on December 7, 2019

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