Humane Cat Deterrents – Everything You Need To Know

Published by Annie Anderson
Last updated: April 1, 2024

Stray cats can sometimes be a nuisance to their surroundings. Thankfully, there are many ways to save yourself the trouble of having to deal with the damage they cause which are effective and also humane.

The first step in ending the problem of unwanted cats in your garden or home is looking into humane cat deterrents and seeing which one suits your needs the most.

In this article, we’re going to explain what humane cat deterrents are and also share some of the best options available.

What Are Humane Cat Deterrents?

There are many reasons why cat deterrents may be necessary, and there are many methods. Some of those are more or less harmful for the cats themselves, but they can also be hazardous for the environment.

Humane cat deterrent is an umbrella term for many different ways of keeping feral cats away from your property, animals, and children in a way that isn’t harmful to cats.

This makes them the best option for everyone. Luckily, there is no longer the need for poisons or harmful traps.

Why Do Stray Cats Pose a Nuisance?

Stray cats are cats of the domestic cat species, but the fact that they have spent their whole lives on the streets has left them lacking socialization and thus not acting in a way that allows them to coexist in a peaceful way with people in their area.

Furthermore, feral cats’ survival instincts are much stronger than those of house cats, so they will act on them more often and more aggressively.

Feral cats do not have a secure source of food and water, and for that reason are left to fend for themselves and find food and water however they can. Oftentimes, that involves getting into trash cans of nearby houses, rifling through gardens, and so on.

Knowing that the reason these cats act in such ways doesn’t diminish the damage they may do. But it allows us to understand that it is not because of their evil nature, but rather because of their need to survive.

So, since we know that stray cats most likely won’t change their behavior, it is our job to find ways to prevent them from ruining our property and posing a risk for our family members and pets. However, it’s important to do so in a way that also won’t harm the cats.

Luckily, there are quite a few efficient ways to do so.

Types Of Humane Cat Deterrents

Some of the most effective ways to keep feral cats away from your property are:

  • Using fragrant items that are repellent to cats and scattering them throughout the affected area (citrus fruit peels, organic citrus-scented sprays, citronella, lavender, lemongrass, or eucalyptus oils, etc.)
  • Using plastic carpet runners with the spike-side up covered lightly in soil, in gardens, flowerbeds, etc.
  • Using bungee cords to secure trash can lids, or covering them tightly
  • Getting a car cover to prevent paw prints if the cats have a habit of climbing onto cars
  • Using herbal rue in your garden
  • Covering exposed ground in flower beds with large river rocks to make it impossible to dig
  • Using lattice fencing material over soil or arranging branches in lattice-type patterns
  • Putting wooden chopsticks, branches, or pine cones into the soil with the tops sticking out about eight inches
  • Placing litter boxes in certain places to prevent them from using your backyard as a bathroom
  • Providing outdoor shelters
  • Feeding the cats on a regular basis
  • Using the Trap-Neuter-Return method

Outdoor Shelters

As previously mentioned, stray cats are looking for what they do not have. If we provide them with it, they are less likely to do it themselves.

Shelters are a necessity for any living being and cats are no exception. With unpredictable weather, traffic, and people of different intentions, stray animals need a safe place they can hide.

Providing them with something like this in a secret area – and away from the locations which are dangerous to cats – is a great way to prevent them from seeking refuge in your garden or home.

Food And Water

Even though it may look like a way to ensure the cats’ return, rather than to keep them away, it’s actually very effective.

The cats have already made the neighborhood their home and they will most likely stay there. So, instead of pointlessly fighting it, provide them with what they want under your conditions.

Setting up bowls with food and water regularly will ensure that the cats are taken care of in that regard, which will make sure that they are not searching for food in your trash or digging up vegetables from your garden.

Another advantage of doing this is the fact that through it, you will show the cats that you mean no harm. In turn, that will make them friendlier to you, leading to peaceful coexistence.


The most effective humane way of preventing the rise in numbers of stray cats is known as the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method.

The way it works is by capturing feral cats in humane traps, taking them to the vet to be neutered (sterilized/spayed), where they also get their left ear tipped to make it known that they have been neutered, and after that returning them to their previous location (or a safer one if necessary).

This way, the cats are no longer able to reproduce and also become much more friendly to people and animals around them.


It is well known that sharing a neighborhood with stray cats can be challenging, so it’s no wonder that humane cat deterrents are necessary. It is possible to live with feral cats in peace, but we need to make an effort. Thankfully, there are many efficacious options to ensure that is the case. 

Here is a quick overview of everything that we have gone over in this article:

Stray cats do not have all of their needs covered by their owners, so they are forced to take care of themselves. Sometimes, that also means causing some damage to people around them. Knowing that allows us to take care of this issue better. 

There are many ways of saving your garden from being dug up by cats, such as using repelling scents, using river rocks, putting up lattice fencing materials, and so on. 

Covering trash cans tightly or securing them with bungee cords should be effective in stopping the cats from rummaging through them. Making sure cats have food and water available to them is efficient in preventing them from searching for it where they shouldn’t.

Cat shelters are also a way of providing them a safe place and thus eliminating the need to find hiding spots in and around your house.

Finally, the Trap-Neuter-Return method is a sure way to limit the number of feral cats you’ll have to deal with.

Certainly, from the number of solutions available, there will be one to fit everyone’s situation.

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