Cats and can we play nice..

KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)January 23, 2013

My husband and I bought our house in October, the backyard is surrounded by an 8' privacy fence and the neighborhood is overrun by stray cats and our yard is the pick for squirrels...and here's why.

This house has only been owned 4 times, we are the 4th owners. The second owner of the house was a hoarder who had way too many dogs and an equally unstable number of cats. All the cats that are now strays in the neighborhood. Some of the neighbors took to caring for them, some have kept them as their own, but most stay outside and all of them still consider our house, theirs.

The second owner also had a habit of letting the squirrels live in the attic. We are going to be taking care of that situation soon as it's an easier fix than the cats, but I do worry about their interest in my bulbs and future garden beds. Any suggestions on keeping them out would be lovely- at our last rental we finally ended up building a framed in wire greenhouse to keep ALL animals out. Its location then was perfect and wasn't blocking the view of the yard.

So as far as these cats go, these cats who still claim our house and hassle my own indoor/outdoor cat, the cats that I chase off at any chance I get, how on earth can I keep them out of our yard and out of my garden? I know cats are exceptionally delighted at the idea of using gardens as potty boxes thanks to the soft dirt and are even more thrilled about the idea of catching birds from our feeders. I admit to being the kind of person who is unwilling to scare or upset animals, but they need to learn they aren't welcome in our yard and it's not theirs anymore. I also don't want anything that could potentially frighten my own cat either. That's the kicker..

Overall, my husband and I plan to have an edible landscape with wildflower areas and would like to protect our plants and wildlife from being destroyed by the local cats and squirrels. Any humane/nice suggestions would be lovely.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

feral cats.. will continue to range their territory.. until they die ... period ... not that you should kill them...

talk with your county humane society.. if nothing else.. they should be trapped and FIXED .... some vet colleges and vets will do it for free .. i think ...


    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I would be worried about the stray cats giving your cat an illness if that's possible, or fleas, cats aren't really my thing. I will be watching this also, I would love to convince the stray cats around here to stay out of our yard. Spraying them with the hose when the occasion presents itself has not been definitive.

Squirrels - you named the only sure option, fencing them out. Whether or not they sleep in the attic, you can't keep them out of the yard. You have to garden within their parameters. Well, you don't have to, but they will eat/mess up your stuff if you don't.

If you like the bulbs they like to eat enough to wrap them in wire balls before planting, go for it. There are plenty they don't disturb.

For digging in pots, you can put plastic forks in the pots, with the tines sticking up just a bit. If they can't step in there w/o getting poked, they won't dig (works for toads and cats too.) Covering exposed/newly disturbed surfaces in ground or pots with big/flat rocks can help.

They like to bite tomatoes that are just about ripe, frustrating! If you pick them a day or two early, that's usually avoidable. Putting a little water dish near my vines seemed to help a lot too, when I remembered to keep it full, and lent credence to the theory that they bite them for the moisture, as well as the fact that it doesn't seem to happen much unless there are drought conditions.

I've always had squirrels wherever I've lived and long as I don't buy them a known meal and stick it where they can get it, they're not hard to live with.

The bright side is you don't have bunnies (I hope!) Armadillos?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:33PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Thankfully we have no armadillos and in our area there has never been a single rabbit to be seen. Just squirrels, flying squirrels, birds galore, toads, and feral/stray/outdoor cats.

As far as our cats, everyone is kept UTD on shots and my eldest isn't allowed outdoors unsupervised. The neighborhood cats generally avoid the yard if we're in it. Fortunately/unfortunately the cats are cared for by the neighbors so having the county step in would definitely be a no go. I am unsure if all the cats are spayed/neutered, but I do know a few look to be and act intact. I'm also always unsure how to approach people about fixing their pets, there are those who are exceptionally touchy about the subject and as we're new, I don't wish to start making enemies.

I've heard of people planting bulbs then laying chicken wire, then covering with dirt. At least then the squirrels can't access the bulbs, so we could try that. I have noticed so far that the squirrels here, unlike in the last neighborhood, don't do a lot of burying or digging. If anything, the cats are the ones doing most of the damage by using the yard as their personal potty box, probably because it's all dirt right now.

I've somewhat considered the tack-tape or pigeon spikes to put atop the fence, but I'm a softy and any way that could injure an animal and not in the mood for legal trouble with some moron hopping our fence. I've also been interested in making cat-proof fencing along the tops of our fence too, using netting and poles.

Thanks for the other tips, they are appreciated!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:13PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Fortunately/unfortunately the cats are cared for by the neighbors so having the county step in would definitely be a no go. I am unsure if all the cats are spayed/neutered, but I do know a few look to be and act intact.

==>> talk to your local animal control officer ... and file a complaint if the neighbor is harboring FERAL!!! .. cats ...

if you dont have one .. call your city office and ask for the CODE VIOLATION person.. and ask them who you should talk to...

the neighbor is a menace.. how do you 'play nice' with them ...????


    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 7:15PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i am playing devils advocate ...

but do use all the resources available to you ...


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Ask yourself......Do you want to get rid of the problem cats. If the answer is yes, they must be trapped, neutered, and adopted/relocated. If the answer is no, end of conversation. No other humane options exist.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:00PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Understandable, however I am currently not that desperate to make enemies with my neighbors and am neither capable of nor ready to discuss the issue with them. We are literally brand new, most owners have been here between 17 and 10 years, knew the original owners...

When I feel I know how to approach the neighbors, then I will consider discussion. Or flyers...

So, for now, I will just sit on my hands and try to figure out temporary alternatives.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:05PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i understand such.. but why not contact the city.. and at least find out about it all ...

i had a neighbor.. who decided that parking his 35 foot trailer across the front of his house.. was new landscaping..for 6 months!!!! ...

i called the code enforcement guy ... and lo and behold a week later.. it was gone.. [actually properly parked along side his house with the short end showing] ...

prior i had discussed with him.. that i didnt want it known that i was the guy who ratted him out .. and he laughed.. and said.. that really isnt the way it is done.. he wasnt going to stand on their porch and sing.. na-na-boo-boo.. and point at my house.. lol ...

knowledge is power.. so dont forego at least finding out what everyone's rights are ... that doesnt mean you have to take action immediately ....

in other words.. its not your duty to confront the neighbors .. its the city's.. if there is a code ...


    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:30PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Thanks, Ken.
I will re-educate myself on the local laws and discuss some options with my husband. I realize most adults are pretty mature, I guess I have been too unfortunate to deal with those are are on the lower spectrum and thus with each passing scenario I am less and less ecstatic in dealing with people ;) Too, I know it's not really "my" problem, but the city's, though being that we're the new people in the neighborhood and the cats have been here forever, I guess I worry they'll look to us as the culprits.

I do appreciate the follow-up, text can often "read" opposite of the writer's intention.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:39PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you know.. have you considered that though they feed them.. the neighbors might not be really all that happy about them???? ==>>> food for thought there ....

mom went thru this last year ... [BTW.. google cat rescue with your city name ... probably a great resource.. ] ... anyway.. neighbor friend behind.. was a concerned about her koi pond.. and a 3rd across the street was involved.. when they figured out the female was prego ... let her birth them.. then trapped them all .. momma was fixed and returned.. she is still around.. and the kittens were adopted out ... ma still feeds her ... its the generations that need to be stopped ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: interesting self concept for one so worried about kitties.. lol ...

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 2:08PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Lol, thanks for the link ;)

Sadly, the Milton Project here was totally lambasted by the GDA for releasing the cats back to their colony after being spayed/neutered. There are so many proponents for and against TNR that it makes this a really tricky slope, so GDA (Georgia Department of Agriculture) has pretty much stated releasing the cats is likened to abandonment. The cats were already abandoned or were never owned in the first place (depending on location of colony) so I don't see the logic in abandoning something already abandoned. I DO understand the issues with a huge colony laying waste to people's yards, gardens, wildlife, disrupting "the peace" with noise and smells, etc etc.

I admit to being a sucker for cats, aka my cats. I am not "nice" to the neighborhood cats in that I don't pet them and I tend to shoo them off our property, especially when they get into a tangle with my only indoor/outdoor cat- and that is to be expected.

I did contact the milton project though, which is when they gave me the news about being incapable to do their TNR, and they pointed me in the direction of another group. However I would have to be the one to front the money for the traps AND the spay/neuter. For what appears to be 16 cats, I don't have that cash. We aren't bad off, but we're not oozing money out our ears either, lol.

And about feeding them...I've honestly considered that thought myself. I know that a few of the neighbors have claimed a few of the cats, when talking to them they've stated it. But the one lady who feeds the entire neighborhood, still not sure about her full feelings on them.

(I kinda went a bit scatterbrained with this post, hopefully it makes sense!)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:46AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

well at least you are on the right track..

good luck.. sounds like a real PIA ...

i suppose this wasnt all in the purchase agreement..

do you ever wonder why the last peeps moved?? .. lol

good luck..


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:16PM
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