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Help with feral cats spraying/peeing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We have what I think are several feral cats in our neighborhood. A few months ago we noticed a horrible "cat pee" smell in our son's room (we moved into this house in March). Since then we have noticed this smell all around the outside of our house. First, how do you know if the cats are feral (none of them have any tags), and what can we do??? Will TNR stop them from spraying our house???
post #2 of 7
Hi...welcome to TCS. You are probably dealing with at least one unfixed male. Males "spray" to mark their territory. The first thing you can do is get to know your neighbors and find out if they have any cats that may be living outdoors. Your neighbors will also be able to tell you if at least some of the cats are neighborhood strays or ferals.

Alley Cat Allies has some great information on Feral Cats and a program called TNR:


You can also do a search on this forum...go to the Search feature at the top of the page and enter "feral cat spraying" or even "cat spraying" and it will bring up every post with those words.

Also..I found this article on spraying written by our very own Anne. These are the things to do:


Sorry to keep adding to this but I just found the page that has a really good diagram of how to assess whether a cat is feral or domesticated:


post #3 of 7
Actually Anne wrote the article on spraying. I would suggest that you purchase a black light, and some enzyme cleaner and do a complete search of your home and wipe out all glowing spots-


post #4 of 7
I stand corrected..thanks Mary Ann...I just always assume those articles are written by you and when I saw the "Anne"..well, I just didn't look closely enough.

Azcatfriend..I wanted to let you know that one of the feral cat board mods here lives in Arizona...her name is House of Cats and you may want to get in contact with the organization she volunteers with AZCATS:


They could probably provide you greater insight into your situation.

post #5 of 7
Hi, AZ...

I have very little experience in telling a feral from a stray other than what I've seen...

A stray is usually a former house pet whose interaction with humans has been decent. Ferals have not ever interacted with humans, or have reverted to the wild animal behavior that is instinctual to them.

One thing I've noticed with strays is that they're willing to come up and be petted within a short time of you feeding them and/or being seen by them (short being relative), whereas ferals hide away, or will only eat food if you're not present.

A great example is the difference between Charlotte and Penguin.

Charlotte would be willing to eat with me sitting on the porch, stroking her while she ate. Eventually she would allow me to lift her to my lap, and scratch her ears and chin. Finally, one night, she walked in my back door, and hasn't left since.

Pengy, on the other hand, I'd fed for nearly a year before deciding to trap her. She took an entire month to trap, and she came in my house a year ago. Only now is she letting me anywhere near her, and I consider that gigantic progress.

That's the best example of a stray v. feral that I can think of...

As for the articles and posts here, MA and Anne know their beans. They've helped me (and I'm sure many others) learn more about the wonderful furrbottoms we share our lives with...and they know their cleaning remedies! LOL

Best of luck -
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I guess I have some reading to do! I don't mind having the cats around, but the smell is awful!
post #7 of 7
Azcatfriend...I still recommend checking out the AZCATS website and see about getting these cats fixed (if they are not owned). Intact cats can have several litters in a year and having these cats fixed will also reduce the occurrance of spraying, fighting etc.

BTW..thanks so much for caring enough about these cats to come here and ask about what to do.

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