How to get rid of feral cats
Feral cats are un-owned domestic cats (Felis catus) that live outdoors and constantly avoid human contact by not allowing anyone to touch them, and by hiding whenever possible.
Some of them may become comfortable with people who regularly feed them, but even with long-term attempts at socialization, they often remain aloof and are most active after dusk.
Feral cats are devastating to wildlife, especially to birds, and conservation biologists consider them to be one of the worst invasive species on Earth. Attempts to control feral cat populations are widespread but generally of greatest impact within purpose-fenced reserves(1).
We are directly responsible for the rise of feral cats, and as such, we must find a way to take care of both these animals and the ones who suffer because of them. But how to get rid of feral cats? Today we are going to discuss several safe methods of doing so.
Trap-neuter-return feral cats
TNR stands for trap-neuter-return. They are sometimes described as trap-neuter-release. The word “return” emphasizes that most feral cats are returned to their original locations under such a program.
TNR is a method for attempting to humanely and effectively manage free-roaming cats. The process is quite simple, it involves live-trapping the cats, having them spayed or neutered, ear-tipped for identification, and, if possible, vaccinated, then they are released back into their territories(2).
Some of these locations where they roamed may be considered unsafe or otherwise inappropriate, and thus the cats may be relocated to other appropriate areas (barn/farmyard homes are often considered best).
Often, the friendly cats and kittens who are young enough to be easily socialized, are retained and placed for adoption. Feral cats cannot be socialized, since they shun most human interaction and do not fare well in confinement, so they shouldn’t be retained.
The cats who suffer from severe medical problems such as a terminal, contagious, or untreatable illnesses or injuries, are usually euthanized.
A live cat trap is a good solution for capturing and caring for a stray or feral cat that lives in or frequents your yard. Some scenarios in which you may use a live trap include:
– If you identified the owner of a stray cat and wish to deliver it back home.
– You’d like to bring an unidentified stray cat to be adopted.
– You’re interested in neutering a feral cat through a Trap-Neuter-Return program to help manage the feral cat population in your neighborhood.
Different tactics to get rid of feral cats
Feral cats know where to go to forage for food or find a safe place to sleep. The less hospitable the outside of a home is for these cats, the less likely it is they’ll spend time in the home’s yard.
There are plenty of methods to do so without harming these animals, such as:
If the ground surrounding your home is less comfortable to walk on, it is less likely that cats will want to roam there. Coarsely cut mulch, for example, will not injure a cats’ paws, but it might make them turn around and walk away because it makes them feel uncomfortable when they walk upon it.
Products like Scram for Cats sprinkled on the ground helps repel cats without harming them. Vinegar and mothballs are also said to repel cats because they hate the respective smell. Other cat repellent sprays can be made home by using natural ingredients.
Motion-detecting sprinkles are great for scaring off feral cats. Besides the use of water, which cats hate, these devices also make a hissing-like sound upon activation that cats will respond to by fleeing.
Soaking cuts isn’t inhumane, however, it is effective and it keeps them away. Cats are very smart and when they realize that every time they walk onto your property they will get soaked, then they’ll most likely avoid your property altogether.
Some of these devices are available for purchase from websites like Amazon, for less than $100(3).
Cats can hear some noises that aren’t detectable to humans. Broadcasting sounds that make cats uncomfortable will keep them away without hurting them.
Many units are available that will sense the presence of small animals and automatically broadcast the noise to repel cats and any other small creatures.
The Solar Power Ultrasonic Cat Dog Repeller is an example of these units and costs around $15 per unit. They are placed in the yard and emit sounds when motion is detected; humans will not hear the noise at all(4).
Feral cat catch & release programs
It was founded in 1980 and it is dedicated to establishing and defending the rights of all animals. They hold on to the belief that trap, vaccines, spay/neuter, and thus release programs, are acceptable when the cats are isolated from roads, people, and other animals that might harm them(5).
Another important factor is the presence of people who will regularly feed them and care for their medical needs. The animals should also be situated in an area where they do not have access to wildlife and where the weather is temperate.
Alley Cat Allies
Founded in 1990, with a colony of 54 cats living in an alley in northwest Washington, D.C. – caregivers and new volunteers implemented TNR, and thus the benefits were clear.
Over time, the colony declined naturally and humanely. The cats were welcomed in the neighborhood and cared for by many of the residents.