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Problem with strays in yard

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi all

Here is our problem. We have a neighborhood cat who apparently gave birth to kittens this summer somewhere in our yard. Now the cats(we usually see 3-5 of them) will not leave our property

It is to the point where they sit at our front doorstep and meow. I feel bad for them but I can not take any of them in as my cat is skittish and hates everything and everyone. I need to get them out of our yard or I am concerned they will continue to procreate and our yard will turn into a huge litter box. I really do not want to call animal control as I know they will most likely end up putting them down. I really cant live with myself if that happens

Can anyone recommend safe product I can spray in my yard that will deter the cats from essentially living in it?
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmcl View Post
Hi all

Here is our problem. We have a neighborhood cat who apparently gave birth to kittens this summer somewhere in our yard. Now the cats(we usually see 3-5 of them) will not leave our property

It is to the point where they sit at our front doorstep and meow. I feel bad for them but I can not take any of them in as my cat is skittish and hates everything and everyone. I need to get them out of our yard or I am concerned they will continue to procreate and our yard will turn into a huge litter box. I really do not want to call animal control as I know they will most likely end up putting them down. I really cant live with myself if that happens

Can anyone recommend safe product I can spray in my yard that will deter the cats from essentially living in it?
I don't know of any products you can use....perhaps someone else has an idea...but that will only fix the situation temporarily. You are right to be concerned about them mating...they probably will once they are old enough...which is why I would also recommend getting them spayed/neuterered. If they were fixed and couldn't have anymore babies....and one of your neighbors was willing to feed them and try to find them homes..that would, I believe be a more appropriate solution. However, you are right...you have to get on this now. Since I don't know where you live, I can only provide you a link to groups that provide what is known as TNR: trap, neuter, return. I recognize that the "return" part is not something that you want..but while you (or someone else) is trying to find them all homes...it is the most humane approach for dealing with outdoor cats:

http://www.alleycat.org/visitor.html

TNR groups:

http://www.alleycat.org/orgs.html

Also, if you tell us the city and state you live in...we may have other members who have more localized suggestions for you.

Katie
post #3 of 17
You could also search your immediate area and see if you can find a no kill shelter... There are also vets who do lost cost spay neuter for stray cats.. Mine were done for 15.00 a cat.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the info. I live in a city just west of Cleveland, Ohio. I just know the cycle will keep happening and happening if we dont do something. The real issue will be catching them. They seem friendly enough but the problem is there is one little one(maybe 3-4 months old). I am concerned about getting it and then dealing with the mom cat. God only knows what kind of diseases these things are carrying.
post #5 of 17
You can also use http://www.pets911.com and click on Find a Local Shelter or Rescue (type in your zip code). Call around (usually works better than e-mailing) to see if there are any orgs in your area that can trap, socialize and rehome these kitties.

If you care about them living, it is important to ensure that any shelter is truly a no-kill shelter. Some promote themselves as no-kill, but what they mean is that if they determine a cat is adoptable, they won't kill it, but they automatically kill ferals.

Also, you can try http://www.bestfriends.org/nomorehom...ts/thenetwork/ this link. They have an e-mail address you can contact them with to see if there's anyone in their network in your area that can help.

Best of luck,

Laurie
post #6 of 17
If you're going to try to help the cats on your own, don't try to catch the cats. It really has to be done with a humane trap. Most shelters or some vets will be able to rent or lend you one.

Laurie
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmcl View Post
Thank you for the info. I live in a city just west of Cleveland, Ohio. I just know the cycle will keep happening and happening if we dont do something. The real issue will be catching them. They seem friendly enough but the problem is there is one little one(maybe 3-4 months old). I am concerned about getting it and then dealing with the mom cat. God only knows what kind of diseases these things are carrying.

Sarmcl....as far as diseases go....feral cats have a very LOW instance of FELV/FIV..so I wouldn't worry as much about that. You would need to borrow a humane trap and trap these cats so that they can receive the proper vet care they need. TNR is truly the most humane method to work with the outdoor cat population.

I found this organization:

A Snip In Time
Cleveland OH
216-651-7142
Pets and ferals.

Also, I know this group isn't in Cleveland, but they may have ideas of who you can contact:

Help get stray cats around your neighborhood fixed. They may not be your cats, but if no one takes responsibility to get them fixed, they will continue to breed and create more cats. Get them fixed before it becomes a major problem! Ask your neighbors to each pitch in a few dollars to help cover the cost. It will be a benefit to the entire neighborhood. If you are in Lucas County call Operation FELIX for help getting the strays fixed at 419-266-5607

Katie
post #8 of 17
On the disease issue, I just wanted to add that in the 20 some years that I have been working with strays and ferals, I have only dealt with infectious diseases (terminal ones) one time. I find more problems with shelter cats when it comes to transmitting diseases than I do with the ones that are surviving in the wild.

If you don't feed, they will soon go away. Bottom line though, they need to trapped, neutered and released or relocated preferably to someone's barn. You can purchase from www.contech-inc.com a scarecrow. But ideally TNR is the best way to proceed
post #9 of 17
I live in a rural area. SPCA refuses to respond to stray cat reports and will not take strays into their shelters. No vet that I know of within 100 miles would neuter or spay a cat, stray or not, for under his going price. Even if there were such services, I would not pay to have strays spayed or neutered. I think a tax supported program to humanely euthanize them would be far better.

On another note, I have noticed that a good way to keep strays out of your yard is if you already have one or 2 cats of your own (that you've spayed/neutered and cared for). Your own pet cats, if let outdoors each day, will protect your property from other unwanted critters--wild ones and ones that irresponsible neighbors allow to breed and run wild.

A big dog helps too ... About 3 or 4 weeks ago another cat came into our yard and started attacking my daughter's cat, Gizzy. My son and I heard the commotion, heard Gizzy screaming, we jumped up and threw open the door, to find Gizzy being attacked right up against our house! Before it even hit us what was going on, Siku shot out like a flash and chased, growling and nipping the heels of that bully all the way into the neighbor's yard. Good dog! He doesn't let anything mess with his kitties ...and we haven't seen one hair of that cat in our yard ever since!
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcribbs View Post
You could also search your immediate area and see if you can find a no kill shelter... There are also vets who do lost cost spay neuter for stray cats.. Mine were done for 15.00 a cat.
Is that possible?
post #11 of 17
Quote:
I live in a rural area. SPCA refuses to respond to stray cat reports and will not take strays into their shelters. No vet that I know of within 100 miles would neuter or spay a cat, stray or not, for under his going price. Even if there were such services, I would not pay to have strays spayed or neutered. I think a tax supported program to humanely euthanize them would be far better.
Trapping and killing has been tried unsuccessfully for decades. And I truly question how killing cats that simply live outdoors is humane when there is a proven program called TNR that has been around for over 10 years.

You can read about TNR success stories here:

http://www.bestfriends.org/allthegoo.../ferals2_3.cfm

http://www.alleycat.org/wheretnr.html

http://www.cimeron.com/html/project_bay_cat.html

Why Feral Eradication Won't Work:

http://www.feralcat.com/sarah2.html

Quote:
On another note, I have noticed that a good way to keep strays out of your yard is if you already have one or 2 cats of your own (that you've spayed/neutered and cared for). Your own pet cats, if let outdoors each day, will protect your property from other unwanted critters--wild ones and ones that irresponsible neighbors allow to breed and run wild.
Spaying/neutering the existing stray cats will do the exact same thing. And the benefit is that you have stopped the breeding of these cats. It's a shame that around you there are no low cost options...I volunteer with a TNR group that has a monthly clinic and it is a suggested donation of $20 per cat. We fixed and released over 673 cats/kittens last year. That is 673 cats/kittens that are living under the care of a caretaker and can no longer add to the overpopulation.

Katie
post #12 of 17
That's all fine and well, except you are asking people to pull $15 out of their own wallets every time a stray cat comes across their path. It is unfair to lay that upon an innocent person and perhaps cause them to feel guilty enough so they go behind on their bills or not feed their children. Most people are pretty good at heart and don't have the money to do that sort of thing, so it is wrong to even suggest it to them. They could become collectors or they could end up feeling like they were responsible when they couldn't scrape together enough money to neuter and release a stray that just happened to find their yard.

This lady here just asked if there was a way to keep strays out of her yard, like most people she said she felt sorry for them, yet you pounced right on her and said she should pay to have them neutered. Most people don't have the funds to do that and I don't think anyone should expect them to!
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizzysgrandma View Post
That's all fine and well, except you are asking people to pull $15 out of their own wallets every time a stray cat comes across their path. It is unfair to lay that upon an innocent person and perhaps cause them to feel guilty enough so they go behind on their bills or not feed their children. Most people are pretty good at heart and don't have the money to do that sort of thing, so it is wrong to even suggest it to them. They could become collectors or they could end up feeling like they were responsible when they couldn't scrape together enough money to neuter and release a stray that just happened to find their yard.

This lady here just asked if there was a way to keep strays out of her yard, like most people she said she felt sorry for them, yet you pounced right on her and said she should pay to have them neutered. Most people don't have the funds to do that and I don't think anyone should expect them to!
We all "pay" for homeless cats...whether it is part of our taxes to house and then euthanize the cats or whether we attempt to humanely spay/neuter and release/adopt out these cats. I know loads of individuals who are on disability and still manage to find ways to neuter and spay the cats that they find in their neighborhood...it is about choices, and you are right..she doesn't have to TNR these cats. But given that this forum is about 'caring for strays and feral cats' and since TNR is the most humane way to 'care' for these cats and does in fact meet her goal of ending the cycle of pregnancies...then I did feel right in offering her options of groups that she could contact. Scaring off the cats so that they breed elsewhere does not help the cats.

Katie
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizzysgrandma View Post
I live in a rural area. SPCA refuses to respond to stray cat reports and will not take strays into their shelters. No vet that I know of within 100 miles would neuter or spay a cat, stray or not, for under his going price. Even if there were such services, I would not pay to have strays spayed or neutered. I think a tax supported program to humanely euthanize them would be far better. This type of thinking is rampant all over the United States. It generally comes from people who have not been educated on the feral cat problem and what to do about it in a humane, effective fashion. It is when people in the community band together with animal control, rescue groups and find others willing to back up spaying and neutering the stray population that the problem is on its way to be solved. But until that happens, the strays are treated much the same way as the homeless are. Only certain individuals reach out to help them, the vast majority of people simply try to believe they don't exist, or are not a problem. Humanely euthanizing ferals and strays does not work. Trapping, neutering and releasing does.

On another note, I have noticed that a good way to keep strays out of your yard is if you already have one or 2 cats of your own (that you've spayed/neutered and cared for). Your own pet cats, if let outdoors each day, will protect your property from other unwanted critters--wild ones and ones that irresponsible neighbors allow to breed and run wild. There is danger in this type of action. You open your own inside cats now let outside to all sorts of dangers- cars, dogs, predators, evil people. Not to mention that any tomcat wandering into the yard will easily fight any other cat, tearing them up in the process leaving the pet owner behind with a seriously injured cat, a stressed animal and a higher than average vet bill.

A big dog helps too ... About 3 or 4 weeks ago another cat came into our yard and started attacking my daughter's cat, Gizzy. My son and I heard the commotion, heard Gizzy screaming, we jumped up and threw open the door, to find Gizzy being attacked right up against our house! Before it even hit us what was going on, Siku shot out like a flash and chased, growling and nipping the heels of that bully all the way into the neighbor's yard. Good dog! He doesn't let anything mess with his kitties ...and we haven't seen one hair of that cat in our yard ever since!
If you have stray cats in your area you would be ahead of the game to keep your own cats inside where you can adequately protect them. Using a dog to keep stray cats out of the yard can get you in trouble if the cat in your yard ends up being owned by a distant neighbor and your dog kills it.

The stray cat population explosion started with people, not the cats. Stopping the breeding cycle and taking away the male cat aggression by neutering is the only proven way to successfully stop the process. If you don't understand this, you are not alone. Many people dig in their heels and demand that these cats be killed as a "solution." Organizations such as Project BayCat in San Mateo California, Caboodle Ranch in Tampa Florida, Feral Island in the Bahama's are a few among many projects that stands as testament that TNR and controlled feedings works for the benefit of the cats and the humans involved.
post #15 of 17
I think you are wrong. The best method is education. In my area we have very little problem of feral cats. Not non-existent but very small. Most people I know who have cats, even if they are poor and always complaining about money, have their cats neutered, spayed and given routine immunizations. There are a few idiots who don't but soon realize that the majority frown upon them and shame them into doing the right thing. The humane societies around here won't even take a cat from a person who just wants to get rid of it. The result is people have learned to think twice about impulse adoptions of kittens or cats and those that finally do get one or two, do so because 1) they are prepared to pay the money to have it fixed and get shots and 2) they get one because they want an indoor companion or they want a good indoor and/or outdoor mouser.

My 9 yr old cat is both. I got her, free from a friend of a friend, at 8 weeks old. When my daughter's cat Gizzy had 7 kittens last year, I was so overwhelmed with calls for them I stopped returning the calls. I even had one lady leave a message on my machine saying she knew I must have found homes for them but asking if I would consider letting Gizzy have another litter. There was such a demand for the kittens that every single one of them was adopted within TWO days of the ad (and the ad was free because the kittens were free). I was able to interview all of the people who wanted them. One of them called me 4 months later and thanked me and then came over with his kids and the kitten to show me how well he had grown and how healthy he was.

Same goes for dogs around here. Very few available for adoption. In fact, NH and other New England areas has a program with southern states to drive dogs and puppies up here from other shelters for adoption. That is not just some random coincidence. It is education. And people who don't get educated about proper animal care should be made to feel ashamed of themselves.

My cats, as well as almost every other person's cats I know, come and go outdoors as they please, have all their shots, neuter/spaying, and they live to ripe old ages...and in MOST instances, those cats are with people who are very poor and rural.

The benefits of cats who go outside frequently are that they soon realize that nature's litter box is a lot more preferable and healthy than the indoor one..and indeed a lot healthier to the person who has to clean an indoor cat toilet!

The added benefit is they leave nice little rodent "presents" on the walkway and doorstep, just to say I Love You to the people who house and feed them

I think the TNR program is more about money and tax grants than it is common sense and Education.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
I think the TNR program is more about money and tax grants than it is common sense and Education.
Then we can agree to disagree because I have personally seen TNR work. Due to my work with both rescue and TNR, I actually do a LOT of education of the public. I have also seen shelter stray numbers go down as TNR has become more accepted within my state.

You are welcome to hold a different opinion, however TNR is recommended on this site often.

Katie
post #17 of 17
...and that's absolutely fine. It's commendable you're trying to do a good work. I just wish you would not attempt to make a person feel like she has a personal responsiblity to fork over $15 a piece for every stray that comes into her yard.
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