If you don’t want to make your own smelly repellent, there are many commercial products that are designed to do the job such as ‘Get Off My Garden’.
Based on its atrocious smell, one product, Skunk Shot should be effective but I am not sure it is still available. Be warned – don’t open this product indoors! The above repellents are available from pet shops and veterinary surgeries.
Devious Dastardly Devices
On the electro-mechanical scene, there are various devices you can arm yourself with to make cats feel unwelcome.
Ultrasonic sounds will scare about 60 – 70% of cats. You may be able to locate a motion-activated ultrasonic device an Animal away. This device combines a motion sensor which detects the movement of a cat or other animal and them emits a short pulse of ultrasonic sound to scare the cat away. While it is very loud, the sound is not audible to humans. Movement activated devices will often false-trigger by detecting shadows and the movement of plants in the wind so use with caution.
Cats hate water. Hosing a cat will often scare it away but will cause no harm and, if your allowable sprinkler times permit, leaving a sprinkler running when the cat is most likely to visit.
Scented water bomb balloons are also useful. Place a few drops of perfume or lemon juice inside each of a few water bomb balloons and then fill them with water. Leave them in a handy spot and when you see a cat in your yard, toss one at the cat. It won’t hurt it if you hit it but even if you don’t, the water that is released will scare the cat away, and it will link the aversion of the water with the scent of the perfume. Now place the same perfume onto cotton balls, in old tea bags or mixed with tea leaves or cat litter and scatter that around the garden beds. When the marauding moggie next visits, it will recall its unpleasant experience last time it detected this scent and may choose to stay clear.
Cats are very territorial. The odor of another cat’s waste will often keep a visiting cat away. If you have a cat that uses a litter tray and you want to keep other cats from your yard, try mixing the soiled litter with a quantity of water making a delightful concoction we call ‘Sewerage Soup’.
Splosh that mixture around the perimeter of your garden. You won’t be able to detect the scent but visiting cats will. It will not affect your own cat and in fact is likely to make if feel more secure in its yard, but other cats are likely to be repelled. Be aware that some very territorial cats could also be attracted by this smell in an attempt to find out who is invading their perceived territory.
Driving Cats Off Motor Vehicles
Cats often sleep on the warm bonnet of a car and other cats seem to enjoy using the windscreen as a slippery slide, especially if they have muddy feet! To keep them off your car, try any of the repellent scents mentioned above but secure them with blue tack or glue to the inside of the cap of a small bottle, such as a tablet container or fruit juice bottle. When you park, place the cap onto the car bonnet or roof. Before you drive off, place the caps on their containers to keep the cotton wool from drying out and re-use them next time.
Mouse Trap Mayhem
Mouse traps can also be a useful deterrent to cats visiting vegetable patches. Set a trap and then place it upside down in the veggie patch. Cover it with a sheet of newspaper to ensure the cat won’t be harmed. When the unsuspecting puss-cat visits next time, the trap will explode into activity and the cat will have kittens! To make this device even more effective, inflate a water bomb balloon with air, (not water), include a drop or two of perfume before inflating it. Now use a drawing pin (through the knotted end) to secure the balloon to the edge of the mouse trap so that the arm of the mouse trap will burst the balloon when activated. No self respecting cat will stick around with this type of armory.
The trapping of cats is a controversial issue. There are humane traps readily available for hire but how can you be sure the cat you trap is not owned? The potential legal implications of trapping an owned cat can be a trap in their own right so it is best to leave trapping to those who are qualified.
Have you spoken to the owner of the cat? It is likely the cat owner doesn’t know his or her cat is a problem unless you tell him or her. My experience is that a polite letter gets far more response than a poison pen, threatening letter. There are many options to cure the roaming of cats including night-time curfews and sensible confinement strategies.