Cats, cats, cats galore... what to do about it?

14 Replies

The neighbor of one of my rental properties has about a dozen cats.  Evidently, with that many cats, litter boxes are not practical, so unfortunately, these cats get kicked outside to their "business".  As it turns out, they seem to have decided that the front yard of my rental property is the proper place to take care of this and while the yard is big enough to accommodate the occasional "transgression", 12 cats generate a huge amount of waste - to the point where there is a permanent stench at my front door.  The neighbor on the other side of my property has told me that the folks with the cats are very defensive when approached about any problems related to their felines, so I have not yet approached them directly.  Before I do, I wonder if anyone here knows of any ways to "discourage" the cats from using my front yard as a bathroom.  I suppose I could run a fence between the properties but cats can be very stubborn and they will, of course, find a way to get around it.  I also could call the animal control people (I believe it's actually against code to let cats roam in the city - though nobody tends to enforce it), but that probably won't endear me to my neighbors much.... 

Don't get me wrong, I love cats, but this is out of control....  Any thoughts?  @Brandon Turner  ?

Could be worse.  I just looked at a house that could best be described as a 1400 sq ft, 3 bed, 2 bath litter box.  I almost "lost it" two steps into the house.  RE Agent wouldn't take me through.  Said, "I'll stay here (deck out back) and make calls.  I have appointments later and I can't smell like a litter box at them".

Joe Villeneuve
REcapSystem
A2REIC

I'm not sure how practical it would be for a yard but I have used moth balls in the past.  I once, actually I still do, had a cat that liked to use the large planter in my foyer.  Moth balls took care of it.  I have also used the wooden/spring type mouse traps to discourage my pup from jumping up into the couch. The snap scares them off.  Good luck.

Dangers just outside your door

  • Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals. 
  • Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to some animals.
  • Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.
  • De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options include doggie boots with Velcro straps to protect Fido's feet, and making cats indoor pets.
  • Cans and garbage can pose a danger when cats or smaller dogs attempt to lick food from a disposed can, sometimes getting their head caught inside the can. To be sure this doesn't happen, squeeze the open end of the can closed before disposing.
  • Traps and poisons Pest control companies frequently use glue traps, live traps and poisons to kill rodents. Even if you would never use such methods to eliminate rodents, your neighbor might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning).

cayenne based hot sauced mixed with water in a pump sprayer works all the time.  I use it for dogs, cats, fox, and all kinds of other animals that try to snack on my vegetable garden.  

First thing - check with your city/town as to how many animals are allowed per household. Then see if they have to be licensed (in many cases, they are). And look into the "unrestrained" situation. I'm betting these folks are in violation of at least one of these ordinances.

And then act on it. These tenants are turning your yard into a turd factory.

BTW: I have (too many!) cats myself, but I live out in the country. And it's my house.

Thanks everyone!

@Bryan N.  

 - Yes, I'll check with the city but I'm pretty sure you are right - roaming pets are against code (although everyone - including myself - tends to ignore it).  The city recently ditched the registration requirement because only 10% of pet owners actually complied (I was one of that 10%) and it was too expensive to go after that many delinquents for an annual fee of 10 bucks.  Again, the problem is not one or two pets per house - most of my properties sit on a quarter to half an acre of land, so a couple of cats don't make much of a difference.  However, with 12 or more cats in the same place, problems arise.....

So, it's not my tenants who own the cats - it's an owner-occupant next door.  In fact, my property is turning over right now which is why I'm spending time fixing up the yard and which is why I noticed (smell, plus cat poop on my shoes anywhere I step).  The previous tenants never complained about it, but I'm concerned that it may negatively impact my ability to find a good tenant. 

I do it every couple days.  I'm sure rain decreases the effectiveness to some degree.  It works wonders around my vegetable garden.

http://youtu.be/iGh5aE5VGoI

Will solve the cats coming to your yard. But they will find another yard.

Originally posted by @Alex Kvasnikov:

http://youtu.be/iGh5aE5VGoI

Will solve the cats coming to your yard. But they will find another yard.

 Well, true, but I hope it would steer them toward their OWN yard......  that might cause the owners to re-evaluate whether they really need 12 cats.....

Originally posted by @Jassem A.:

Dangers just outside your door

  • Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals. 
  • Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to some animals.
  • Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.
  • De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options include doggie boots with Velcro straps to protect Fido's feet, and making cats indoor pets.

Someone would have to be a pretty pathetic human being to want to kill animals because of their irresponsible owners......but I guess those type of are out there.

@Andrew S.  We have a similar problem with too many cats in a neighborhood. Our rental duplex sits between two houses with cats. But the worse was a rental house two doors down owned by an absentee landlord who had not properly screened their tenants. At one point kittens were seen coming and going from under the fence. We don't know how many dogs and cats were there, heard about it after the fact. We are continually fighting cats using the front flower beds to do their "business". The best solution for us was to lay chicken wire down and cover it with cedar chips. The tenants can still use the spot by placing container plants on top or cutting a whole in the mesh to plant something. If a cat scratches in the area, their claws catch on the wire and they quickly learn to leave the area alone.

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

Call the city first. If that doesn't work, set out traps.