How do I scare off cats without scaring off cats?
November 14, 2007 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Help me banish evil invader cat from my garden without scaring off the natives. Difficulty : it's my landlord's cat...

We live in the middle of a field in the fens. The other half of our semi belongs to our landlord's daughter. The next nearest house (200 yards away) belongs to our landlord.

The landlord's cat (a huge bruiser tom) has taken to following her down to visit her daughter - a route that takes them within 20 feet of our front door.

It now comes down on it's own, and gets involved in Mexican stand-offs with our two. Last night we came home to find one of ours backed into the corner by the cat flap, with bruiser less than 10 feet away.

Normally I'd leave cats to sort things like this out themselves, but our two cats probably weigh 10 pounds put together . They're terrified of this thing and one of them has decided she's rather crap in the dining room than face the tom.

Which all leads to the question, how can I help our cats push back their territory without harming any of them, or pissing off my landlord?

The land is flat and featureless fenland, with no fences, hedges or other natural boundaries between our house and the landlord. Our cats are both spayed females.
posted by twine42 to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
In a respectful manner, talk to your landlord. Maybe you can make arrangements about the time of day that the cats are outside?
posted by Sara Anne at 8:09 AM on November 14, 2007

Mark your territory with vinegar?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:11 AM on November 14, 2007

Try grinding up citrus rinds (we used orange and lemon) and scattering it around the area you don't want the cat to cross. Worked with getting our ferals to stay out of the flower beds.

I know there are other commercial repellents out there, but I've never used any of them so can't give any useful info about 'em.

I've also heard anecdotal evidence (from a friend who used this method to keep feral cats out of her yard) about using human urine (best is from a male, from what my friend said) and scattering it along a perimeter. It's along the lines of the 'bigger predator' theory.
posted by tigerjade at 8:20 AM on November 14, 2007

Attempt to sting the cat with birdshot ala Jimmy Carter?

Seriously, loud noises might scare off the cat, but shooting directly at your neighbors cat like the former president might not be the best way to keep your landlord happy.
posted by jrishel at 8:22 AM on November 14, 2007

Definitely talk to the landlord. Also, if you see the cats looking like they will get in an altercation, a spray bottle of plain water is a great deterrent that does no harm.
posted by misha at 8:44 AM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: Unfortunately the agreed playtime suggestions don't work - Cats in the UK (especially in the country) are almost more likely to be outdoors only rather than indoors only. Hell, I know some of the farmers around here leave their front door open while they are elsewhere on the X,000 acres...

Liquid sprays might just work... I'll see what I can sort out at the weekend.

Any more ideas guys?
posted by twine42 at 10:14 AM on November 14, 2007

Try spraying urine from a predator, such as a Fox, along the boundary between properties. I had great success keeping cats off of our roof (a gravel roof on top of a building in San Francisco) by using fox urine. You can get it at hardware stores, hunting supply stores, etc. Google turns up this site that seems to be exclusively dedicated to, well, predator pee.
posted by emptyage at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2007

Also, looking at that site, it appears that if you spray mountain lion or bobcat urine, that might just draw all the cats in the neighborhood to it. I don't know if it has to be canine urine, but as I said, fox urine stopped the cats from coming to our roof (and pooping there). We sprayed it all around the perimeter and the night-time roof-pooping dropped to zero.
posted by emptyage at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2007

How about a dog? If you get one as a puppy and teach it to be nice to your own cats, it'll still scare the little furry pants off the tom. Especially if you encourage it.
posted by pracowity at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2007

Is your landlord's cat neutered? Sometimes neutering a cat will make it less aggressive and territorial. There are places in most areas that will fix a cat or dog for very little or free. If your landlord isn't up with the idea, you could always trap the cat and take him yourself to have it done. Since it is a male, your landlord would probably never know.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:49 PM on November 14, 2007

Ixnay on the covert neutering. I've been around a lot of cats, and only once have I run into a fully grown un-neutered male. And it was *obvious* that he wasn't neutered. I think a change of state like that would be VERY noticeable, which may lead to things like the landlord wondering who neutered the cat, perhaps finding out who neutered the cat, and then maybe booting out the cat neuterers. And if that happened in the US, maybe even filing some sort of lawsuit for good fun.
posted by barc0001 at 2:55 AM on November 15, 2007

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