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Wildlife Education - A Directory of Qualified Stray Cat Removal Professionals

How to Get Rid of Stray Cats



HUMANE HINTS: In some cases, you don't need to remove stray cats at all - just leave them alone! Never feed stray cats - that only causes dependence on people, and overpopulation. TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs have demonstrated success in some studies. If you must trap a stray cat, make sure you set the trap in the shade and bring the cat to the shelter or animal services as quickly as possible. NEVER attempt to poison stray cats. Read below for how-to hints.

If you need cat help, click my Nationwide List of Stray Cat Removal Experts for a pro, or for your city or county animal services near you.

In addition to the below general information about stray cats, I've also written these helpful articles:

Top 10 Most Common Problems Caused By Stray Cats
Should You Feed a Stray Cat?
How To Catch a Stray Cat
How to Adopt a Stray Cat
What Should You Do If You Find a Litter of Kittens?
How Many Stray Cats are in the United States

How to Get Rid of Feral Cats - In most areas of the world, there is a problem of an overpopulation of feral cats roaming the streets of urban and rural areas. Feral cats are cats that have either been left outside by its previous owners or have lived on the streets from the day they were born. Feral cats do not look any different than any other cat, except they may be skinner and dirtier. There are many reasons that someone would leave a cat outside such as they cannot afford to keep it, the cat is to aggressive to keep in the house or maybe they moved and couldn’t take the cat with them. None of these are good reasons for not taking a cat to the humane society, but it happens.

Feral cats present a problem to society because they reproduce very quickly. There is a very good chance that many if not all the domesticated cats that become feral are not spayed or neutered and that leads to an overpopulation of more feral cats very fast. Feral cats can be a nuisance to you and your pets by stealing your pet’s food. They can also get into your unsecured trash cans and leave a big mess for you to clean up in the morning. Feral cats are also at a higher risk for infectious diseases, parasites and fleas. If a feral cat should scratch you or your pet, you could end up at the hospital to treat the infections or diseases that are passed through their saliva and scratches. If you have a feral cat problem you should take action immediately before you or your pet gets hurt. Here are some suggestions for you to try to get rid of feral cats.
  • Do not feed feral cats. Do not leave dishes of food or water out for them, because they will soon learn that your house gives them food every day. They will then start coming to your house every day and bringing all their feral friends. This increases the chance of you or your pet coming in contact with the potentially sick animal.
  • If you notice that there are a lot of feral cats in your part of the neighborhood, please call animal control or your local humane society. These officers sometimes will take care of the problem themselves and bring traps to set around the yard and in the places the cats like to frequent.
  • Use predator urines like coyotes or fox to repel the cats away. This method is not the most effective way to keeping feral cats off of your property and you have to constantly reapply them. This is not the method you want to try if you live in an area that rains a lot.
  • You can buy a trap yourself and try to catch them. Be aware that a trapped feral cat is not something you want to mess with. Make sure that you are wearing thick leather gloves and sleeves so you don’t get scratched or bitten by a potentially sick cat. Once you catch them you will have to relocate them at least ten miles away, take it to a shelter or euthanize it yourself. Unless you take it to a no-kill shelter, the cat will probably be euthanized anyways.
  • Get a big dog that stays in the yard to deter cats from coming onto your property. As, everyone knows, dogs and cats do not get along and a dog is usually an effective way to keeping the cats out of your yard. But then again, if the cat scratches or bites your dog, you will have to take it to the vet to get antibiotics.

Stray Cat Information & Facts

Feral Cat Appearance: Stray, or Feral cats and domestic cats are the same species. The word feral implies that the cat has either resorted to untamed ways or was born into the world without knowing any trust toward human beings. The variety of feral cats is as numerous as stars in the sky, with cats of every pattern and color making up the population. On average, the cat is around eight pounds and two feet long, with a tail generally three-quarters the length of the body. Feral cats tend to have unkempt coats and scruffy appearances. They are lean and often lanky, their bodies riddled with parasites from a life spent in the outdoors. Male feral cats are often unneutered. This retention of masculinity affords them heavy fat padding around the face, a look affectionately termed ‘pumpkin head’. This excess of fat helps in territory scuffles, as the main areas a male cat will take on wounds are the face, neck, paws and hind quarters.

Feral Cat Habitat and Behavior: Feral cats almost always live in urban settings, relying on the small mammals that frequent human dwellings as a source of food. Because feral cats and housecats are the same species, homeowners often take to feeding the feral animal cat food from the supermarket. Unlike most pests which will leave when a food source diminishes, feral cats are no longer native to any particular terrain within nature. In fact, those few cats that roam the woods are often prey for foxes, coyotes, and owls. The feral cat needs the marginal safety of human settlements, and though feral cats are not friendly, they are not yet adapted to live in a wilderness setting. Cats do not burrow or create their own dens. A feral cat will search for the most opportune spot to live. This location can be under a porch, inside an abandoned building, within drainage pipes, in sewers, and inside the attics and crawlspaces of human homes. A dry, warm environment is ideal.

Like domestic cats, feral cats can vary on their social preferences. Unneutered males are largely solitary, though they may generate acquaintances if particular feedings grounds are visited by the same cats often. Male cats do not always seek a fight with another male unless food or females are involved. Vocalizations often establish a pecking order between feral cats communing around a food source. These animals are not grouped in a social aspect, but to be in close proximity with one another there must be a hierarchy established.

Female feral cats can have litters year round and as often as every four months. The kittens are helpless at birth and will be hidden by the mother until they are old enough to wander on their own. A mother cat will move her litter if she feels the location of the home is compromised.

Feral cats can be taken in by well-meaning people, but it is uncommon to domesticate a feral. It is not impossible, however, and would take significant patience and time.

Feral Cat Diet: Cats are naturally carnivorous, and it is only through processed pet food that they consume a variety of vegetables and fruits. When left on their own, cats will hunt rodents, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Cats rarely actively hunt fish, though they will not turn down a free meal if one is offered. A desperate cat will eat carrion or steal food remnants from garbage cans.

Feral Cat Nuisance Concerns: Feral cats will accumulate in number if a food source is plentiful and reliable or if a location (like an abandoned warehouse) provides good protection. When these cats gather, fighting is inevitable. When cats fight, they are very loud and very vocal and can often deal a great amount of damage to one another. Intact males will often spray a powerful liquid scent marker around homes and food sources. This smell is potent and hard to eliminate. Housecats can be upset or injured by feral animals, and an attack can result in disease transmission.

Feral Cat Diseases: Fecal cats are a known rabies suspect in most areas of the country. Aside from that deadly disease, cat scratch fever is the other well-known zoonotic disease. Scabies, a skin disease, is also present in the feral population and can be transmitted to humans. Family housecats are at the most risk for disease contraction. Feral cats can carry FeLV virus, otherwise known as feline leukemia. FIV, feline AIDS, is also prevalent in the stray population. Both these illnesses are ultimately fatal.

You're here to learn how to get rid of stray cats in your yard, in or around your home, or under your house. This site is intended to provide stray cat education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a stray cat problem. This site provides many stray cat control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of stray cat removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance stray cat.

© 2001-2014     Website content & photos by Trapper David     Feel free to email me with questions: david@wildlifeanimalcontrol.com