Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs are the single most effective method of controlling cat population growth. TNR is humane population control that makes life more healthy and pleasant for both people and cats. In Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, groups such as Fix Our Ferals hold free spay/neuter clinics for feral and stray cats, loan out humane traps at no charge, and will come to your neighborhood meeting to help organize efforts. Call their hotline at (510) 433-9446 for advice on dealing with feral cat issues in your neighborhood.
Here are some suggestions from Fix Our Ferals for neighbors who wish to keep cats out of their yards and gardens:
- Push wooden chopsticks or ten-inch plant stakes into flowerbeds every eight inches to discourage digging and scratching.
- Cats dislike citrus smells. Scatter orange and lemon peels, or spray with citrus-scented spray. You can also scatter citrus-scented pet bedding.
- Cayenne pepper and coffee grounds also work to repel cats. Some people have also suggested lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, and mustard oil.
- Spray cat repellent (available at pet supply stores) around the edges of the yard, the top of fences, and on any favorite digging areas or plants.
- Cover exposed ground in flowerbeds with large river rocks to prevent cats from digging. Rocks have the added benefit of deterring weeds.
- Plant the herb "rue" to repel cats, or sprinkle the dried herb over the garden.
- Try an ultrasonic animal repellent. These are available in lawn and garden stores.
- Use a motion-activated sprinkler. Any cat coming into the yard will be sprayed but unharmed.