How to Get Rid of Stray Feral Cats Permanently? (7 Ways)

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

how to get rid of stray feral cats permanently

Feral cats are determined felines that feed on whatever food is easily available. It usually avoids and stays hidden from humans but sometimes visits their yards. Are you curious about how to get rid of stray feral cats permanently?

The main answer is to eliminate everything that gives them comfort and safety. Stray, feral cats are attracted to food leftovers and tiny openings when seeking shelter. So getting rid of these temptations can keep stray cats away from your properties.


7 Ways to Get Rid of Stray Feral Cats Permanently


1. Remove Potential Food Sources

Removing any potential food source is imperative if you want to get rid of feral cats. You can achieve this by feeding your domestic pets indoors to avoid having leftover food in your yard. As a result, unwanted cats will not get easy access to a meal.

Aside from securing food waste, regular throwing and cleaning of trash bins will keep stray cats out of your yard. A feral cat’s sense of smell is stronger than humans and can detect scents at least 14 times the distance.

2. Eliminate Every “Temptation”

For feral cats, temptations can be in the form of food or the need to mate. Most unaltered stray male cats are drawn to females in heat. So if you own a female feline, getting your pet spayed is a wise option.

However, if you do not want your cat altered, it would be best to keep them indoors during their heat cycles as a precaution for wandering males. Doing so can help prevent unwanted cats around your house and your feline’s unwanted pregnancy.

3. Use Repellants

Because of their nose’s sensitiveness, cats may find strong odors extremely painful and overwhelming. There are certain scents that they can not bear, and you can take advantage of particular aromas to naturally and humanely keep them away.

There are plenty of cat repellents available to keep stray cats away. You can opt for commercial repellents, electronic repellents, or natural repellents to deter wild cats. Let’s find out how these three options differ.

  • Commercial Repellents

Commercial repellents can consist of all-natural ingredients, while others are composed of synthetic chemicals.

This type of deterrent spray will discourage unwanted feral cats from visiting your yard without causing them physical damage and without killing them.

  • Electronic Repellents

Unlike the traditional cat repellent sprays, electronic cat repellents require less maintenance. They are generally effective in getting rid of stray, feral cats. Some electronic cat repellents can detect motion and emit electronic noise to keep unwanted animals away.

You can also use motion-activated sprinklers or lights to scare them off. Cats can not stand being showered with water, so this is an effective method to keep them away from your home’s outdoor areas.

  • Natural Repellents

Using natural scents, such as citrus, citronella, and eucalyptus, is one of the best home remedies to deter stray, feral cats. You can make a natural repellent spray of these ingredients and sprinkle it over your yard.

Other natural ingredients you can use are vinegar, coffee grounds, lavender, orange peels, and lemon peels. Ensure to spray on your fence, flowerbeds, and any spot in your garden where unwanted cats feel comfortable.

4. Make Your Outdoors Uninviting

Generally, cats love to get into small spaces to feel safe and secure from possible dangers.

So if you have any openings where they can enter, they will likely grab the opportunity to find a place to settle, such as your porch or sewer.

Make your home less inviting by not giving them access to openings and sealing it. You can also create rough surfaces and include sharp foliage in your garden bed to discourage them from digging or stepping foot on your property.

5. Set Up Humane Traps

Some people would use poison to get rid of stray cats permanently. However, it would be better to make spring-loaded traps to catch them humanely and turn them over to local animal shelters.

After all, they are still animals that feel pain, and you do not want to cause them any harm intentionally.

Place the traps in areas where feral cats frequently go and lure them with food. But you need to be extra mindful in setting up these traps if you have a pet at home. Otherwise, they may be trapped inside.

6. Talk and Work With Your Neighbors

Feral cats are highly territorial felines that extend their territories between 75 yards to 1500 feet. This means that they might be wandering around your neighbors’ yards too.

Talk to your neighbors and encourage them to take similar practices to eliminate unwanted animals ultimately.

Even if you take extra measures to discourage feral cats from coming back, but your neighbor’s property offers plenty of temptations, your attempts are likely to fail.

7. Contact Animal Control

If you have a stray, feral cat that keeps coming back despite efforts to eliminate it, contacting the local animal shelter would be the best option. You should call animal control, especially if they are causing nuisance or trouble to you and/or other domestic animals.

Typically, local agencies will take action to catch the feral cat, while others will pick it up if you captured it yourself. Then, they are likely to be brought to shelters or euthanized as they are not socialized and can not be adopted to indoor homes.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I identify a feral cat from a stray cat?

Stray cats are socialized indoor felines comfortable around humans and other animals. On the other hand, feral cats are outdoor felines with no physical human contact and tend to be fearful and wild.

One of the most noticeable differences in identifying strays from ferals is their body language. Stray cats, like domestic cats, would typically walk with their tails up as a sign of friendliness. But feral cats are more likely to stay on the ground, protecting their body.

Can I hunt a feral cat on my property?

Hunting, shooting, or poisoning feral cats with Tylenol violates animal cruelty laws. Although some places permit these, it would still be best to opt for humane ways to get rid of feral cats.

Will feral cats eventually leave?

Feral cats will keep coming back to places where food and shelter are available. If you do not discourage them through the ways mentioned above, they are likely to visit your yard permanently and can bring health risks to yourself and your pets.

You may also check on platforms such as Reddit to connect with people who experienced having a stray, feral cat around their properties.

Can feral cats be socialized and adopted?

Adult feral cats who lived outdoors their entire lives are difficult to socialize with humans and animals. Thus, it is often impossible to get them adopted into homes.


Stray, feral cats are problematic animals that can cause potential danger, diseases, and parasites to humans and domestic animals. Their determination to acquire food and shelter might overpower your efforts to keep them away, but consistency is always the key.

Remember that despite being considered vermin, they are still living beings that you must treat with compassion. Now that you know how to get rid of stray feral cats permanently, you can ultimately bid them farewell from your property.

Read more: How to get rid of neighbors’ cats in my yard?

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