Dealing With Stray Cats

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October 25, 2020

Hi again, people! I've kind of been donated a cat. I've been feeding him for the past year. His owners live on my street,but he won't go home. The lady asked me today if I'd look after him as they are moving houses and he is an "outside cat" and refuses to be caught. I said I can't have him in as the dogs would go potty. He wouldn't come in anyway, I would have loved it if he would. She said that's fine if you could just watch him. I said I wouldn't see him go hungry,and she seemed happy with that.


Now I need ideas. I will have to make him a windproof bed in my entry for over winter. Any ideas? Wood might be best, my entry is under cover but the wind howls through. I will find a way but I just wondered if you clever people have any ideas? I have a cat too,as well as the dogs. Thanks for any ideas. xxx


October 25, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

Dear Colliepam, in response to your question re: sheltering your "donated" cat, this was our experience with a feral cat that we had begun feeding. (Once you feed them they're yours, of course!!). We have an unheated and screened porch which has a flap in the bottom portion of the door, and he would use that entry to come and go. We placed a number of blankets and old quilts on a chair and he would burrow under them at night.


Although wind and snow would blow through the porch we kept his bed close to the side of the house where he would be completely out of the elements. He stayed with us for about two years and seemed to thrive although we never could domesticate him. As long as they can burrow, and with their fur coats they seem to manage to keep warm I hope this helps you somewhat.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 425 Answers
October 25, 20201 found this helpful
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If you or a friend are handy with simple tools, you could build a wood house for the cat, where the entrance door comes in to an L-shaped alcove, before going into the sleeping area. Line the sleep area with an old blanket or some thick towels. To help block the wind from getting to the inside, screw/nail/staple a piece of heavy canvas or use a piece of carpeting over the outside opening as a wind-break. If a wooden structure is more than you can make, you could use a sturdy cardboard box that is big enough to glue or sew to the inside walls and floor, a thick towel, quilt batting, or piece of carpet--anything for insulation.


Also put a flap of something over the entrance into the box. then put the whole thing inside a big plastic tote with the entrance to the box pointed toward an end of the tote's inside...that way there is no direct wind entrance and the box will stay dry. Good luck, and thank you for being a kind soul to care for a feral stray. With time and patience, it may come to accept your presence and touch.

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October 25, 20201 found this helpful
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Bless your heart for helping out. There are several places on the internet that can give you suggestions for making a winter home for outdoor cats. Many organizations that help feed feral colonies have good experience with this. We had an outdoor stray cat that adopted us and we had to make him this sort of shelter. We used a styrofoam box with a fitted lid, the type that is used to ship food that needs to be kept cold, like meats, because they are made to be very well insulated. We lined it with blankets and some old wool sweaters that I was going to donate anyway.We cut a small opening in the side but not down too low so snow or water couldn't leak in.


We put it under the overhang by our back door on top of a piece of scrap wood elevated by two concrete blocks so it would never be sitting directly in water. I put a small plastic box in the corner that always had a bowl of water and food in there. On really cold nights I would put a plastic bottle of hot water all wrapped up in a towel under his blanket for extra warmth. We kept the fitted lid on the box unless we were putting things in or taking them out. He used that box all during the cold season and it was his home for a couple of years until the end of his life.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
October 25, 20201 found this helpful
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'Stray' cats can be very finicky about going inside almost anything so I hope this one will actually go inside something you make for him.


Last year a friend had a sudden need for a winter place/shelter for an orphan cat and this is what we fixed; not very substantial but it lasted all winter. We are in Florida so we only have weather in the 30's occasionally.
We found 2 medium large boxes and as it happened one fit inside the other which made it more sturdy. We placed a large kitchen bag over the box to make sure it remained dry. We had to tape the bag to the box because cats seem to be very frightened of anything 'moving' in the wind or making noise.
We then placed a baby comforter inside (but a large towel or similar item would work). Since this cat had been around for a couple of weeks we decided to place an item of 'worn' clothing inside so it would have a familiar smell.

We have a really nice Humane Society store near by and she purchased a heated cat pad (electric outlet was near by) and Ms. Cat was set for our winters.
We tried to put a curtain over the door but she would not use it that way so we worried but the cat pad worked great. This pad only gets warm when the cat is on the pad and the temperature is low heat and she loved it. This box was placed on the floor of a carport with a container on either side to make sure the wind did not move it.
The pads were kinda expensive last year but I see where these are very affordable now.
Here is a link if you want to take a look.

I hope you find a way to accommodate your new baby as it can be a true 'worry' if you think they are not warm.
Thanks for caring for one of these 'otherwise' lost babies.

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13 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 24, 2009

I am trying to help some stray kittens. One has pus in its eyes, runny eyes. One is blind. They are wild kittens. I have tried a lot of different medications. Is there something I can make at home to use? Meds are very costly when wild cats just keep coming.

We do not have a no kill shelter in Fontana or one that will take them. I am caring for 50+ cats, none of whom are house cats. The cost for food has wiped me out. If anyone knows of someone to help with food it would be of great help. Thank you for your help.

By diane dyer

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May 1, 2000

How can I keep stray cats out of my garden?

Gina from Philadelphia, PA


December 1, 20001 found this helpful

I sprinkle cayenne pepper in my gardens wherever the stray cats start to dig. The next time they start digging they get a whiff of the pepper and decide it might be nicer to dig at home.

Holly Monroe

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December 1, 20001 found this helpful

Re: the stray cat problem, there are some aerosol repellents sold at pet stores and garden stores that might work. Also, supposedly citrus peels in the garden keep the kitties away. You could try it. The cats probably like the soft mulch or nice soil of your garden beds. I have simply learned to live with the "problem" in my area, but I do plant my garden very thickly, so that once it's grown in, it doesn't make an inviting kitty litter. But one "plus" is that the cats often keep the mole and mice population down.

Ness - Lakeview, NY

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December 1, 20001 found this helpful

Gina if you are speaking of cats digging in your garden beds here is what you do. Lay chicken wire over the soil, the plants will grow through it. The cats do not like the feel of the chicken wire on their feet and will stay out of the garden.

Kathy Cohen - Northfield, Vermont

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December 1, 20000 found this helpful

This sounds terribly gross, but usually garden supply stores will have what is called 'predator urine' packets that you put around your garden. This alerts the cats, in your case, that there is danger and they will go away without bothering anything. (Don't think it is something that humans can detect, but the animals sure know what it is. Like cougar urine for keeping deer away, etc. Good Luck!


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September 4, 20040 found this helpful

Most of the time oranges will work, just cut them up and throw them out there in the garden.

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By Steve (Guest Post)
September 18, 20040 found this helpful

It may be a little bit of a hassle, but cats do not like, and will not dig in wet soil. I never have a problem if I keep the garden area wet.

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July 30, 2008

I have too many cats and don't know what to do. I have one inside female kitten who's been spayed, she's no problem. I have two female and one male indoor/outdoor cats who have also been neutered, they're no problem (although one doesn't get along with the others).

However, There are two outside male strays, presumably unneutered, although one has a flea collar on so someone owns him and may have had him neutered; two female strays unspayed, one with 2 kittens (male and female) unneutered. The outdoor females and kittens are not friendly enough to get near, they run whenever we go outside, but will eat food we put out for them.

My question is, if I can't get near them how do I get them neutered? If I don't get it done, we'll be absolutely overrun with cats and I know it has to stop before that happens. What do I do? Can someone please help?

Bonnie from Tuckerton, NJ,

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February 15, 2005

I have 4 stray cats that hang out on my back porch. I have a male neutered cat inside. Apparently, one of the strays is also a male (unneutered) and he has been spraying my house--gross! I have a 2 year old and I don't want him to go out and play when this cat sprays.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get this stray cat to stop spraying or to get him to leave? Help please! melissa in wv


February 15, 20050 found this helpful

Place white pepper powder in those areas. Cats always sniff and scratch before going to the bathroom. I have the same problem and it really works.

Also it won't hurt anyone, it will just annoy the cats until they find other places to go.

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By Linda (Guest Post)
February 15, 20050 found this helpful

Do the pet population a favor and trap him with a cruelty -free trap. Sometimes the local humane society will loan these out. Then get him neutered. There are feral cat rescues that can help with costs, but neutering is fairly cheap anyway.

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February 15, 20050 found this helpful

I've never known a cat that likes mothballs, and only one that can tolerate the smell of vinegar. You might consider spraying the porch and surrounds with undiluted vinegar. You'll have to redo every day or two for a while (or if it rains), but it's better than the smell of cat urine!
If this doesn't work, you may want to put mothballs by each corner of your porch. Good luck!


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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
February 15, 20051 found this helpful

Call you local rescue groups and ask them to pick the poor cats up. They are in need of medical care then they will be put up for adoption.

It is inhumane to force a cat to go outdoors, these kitties will be better off in a loving family.

Northern Virginia

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November 7, 2013

I let my cat out for her daily wander, but she keeps getting bullied by other cats. They are coming almost to our door. She is desexed. What can I do?

By Sharon V.

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November 19, 2009

My son and daughter-in-law just purchased a house and the cats around their house seem to think that it is their own litter box. Is there something that can be put out to repel them, without harming them.

By Jerry Kay from Greenwood, DE

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December 7, 2014

Mom has an indoor/outdoor cat. Recently a hungry stray has been hanging around and we have left food out for him. Now, he comes by all the time and that would be OK, but he started to attack mom's cat when she's outside. She won't go out when she sees that he is out there. Should I stop feeding him so he goes back across the street where I think he came from?

He is huge and eats twice as much as mom's cat! We were not prepared for this stray taking over our lives and bullying our own cat, that can't go on. Any ideas?

By Terry O.

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November 22, 2013

I have a bad cat problem in the town I live in and just discovered there are some living under my trailer. They are peeing, pooping, and spraying under there. I would block it off, but I have like 5 feet of snow and ice all around my trailer. They are also spraying my back door and all of these smells are starting to come in. Any ideas on how to stop it all would be so nice. Thank you in advance.

By Kala S.

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May 1, 2011

I hope you can help. First things first I like cats and dogs, but where I live I seem to attract the tom cats. They leave their calling smell (strong pee?). What's the best thing or way to try and stop this?

By tony mack from Liverpool, UK

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April 8, 2005

The neighbourhood stray cats have decided to use my gardens as their own personal litter box. I was wondering if anyone knew of a way to deter them. I found a product at Walmart, but it was quite expensive. I'm way too cheap for that.


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November 2, 2014

We have a year old spayed cat. She is an indoor cat at night. We've been finding lately that when we air our house out, we've got stray ginger cats coming in. They are spraying through our house, eating our cat's food. They're also fighting with our neighbor's cat, and we've all had enough.

By Sue H.

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July 20, 2016

This is a page about repelling neighborhood cats. Neighborhood cats can quickly become a nuisance, when they decide that your yard and gardens are their personal toilet.

Orange tabby kitten in grass and flowers

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