What is a Community Cat?
“Community Cats” is a term used to describe outdoor, unowned, free-roaming cats. These cats could be friendly, feral, adults, kittens, healthy, sick, fixed and/or not fixed. They may or may not have a caregiver. These cats also may have 1 or more people in the community who feed and watch over them but are not household pets. This definition, the only outdoor free-roaming cats who are not community cats are those who have an owner. Strays are cats who were once owned and have become lost or separated from their owners at some point in time. Feral cats are cats who lack handling and socialization, feral is not a disposition. A lot of aggressive behaviors associated with feral cats are not due to lack of socialization. These behaviors are due to the hormones in cat’s that have not been spayed/neutered.
So, you’re seeing cats in your yard…
Like all animals, community cats settle where shelter and food are available. That means their territory is often close to people, where resources are abundant. We understand that not everyone enjoys having cats in their yards, so alongside Trap –Neuter-Return and regular colony care, we hope that these simple tips will help you keep outdoor cats away from certain areas in a humane way.
Trap, Neuter, Return is the humane and successful approach to addressing community cat populations. It saves cats’ lives and is effective in slowly diminishing population numbers by preventing the vacuum effect. TNR not only stops the breeding cycle, but allows community cats to continue protecting their established territories. TNR allows for peaceful coexistence between cats and humans in a shared environment.
With Trap Neuter Return, kittens are no longer born, cats’ lives and health are improved, and the population stabilizes and drops over time.
Trapping to remove or relocate cats is not only inhumane, but ineffective. Once the cats are removed from the territory, other cats move in to take over in a phenomenon known as the vacuum effect. The new cats take advantage of the available resources and create a costly and endless cycle.
To participate in our Trap Neuter Return program, please contact the Customer Service Department at (808) 877- 3680 ext. 3 for appointment booking.
Easy Solutions to Common Cat Behaviors:
Cats are digging in my garden and lounging in my yard.
EXPLANATION: It is a cat’s natural instinct to dig in soft or loose soil, moss, mulch, or sand. They will also remain close to their food source.
- Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus scented fragrances. Coffee grounds, vinegar, tobacco, lavender, citronella and eucalyptus also deter cats. Apply these fragrances around the edges of yard and tops of fences to keep from entering your yard.
- Plant the herb rue to repel cats, or sprinkle dried rue over the garden
- Obtain Cat Scat™ from www.gardners.com. This is non-chemical cat and wildlife repellent consisting of plastic mats that are cut into smaller pieces and pressed into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourage digging.
- Establish a litter box by tilling the soil or placing sand in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard, keep it clean and free of deposits.
- Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large river rocks to prevent cats from digging. The rocks also deter weeds.
- Install ultrasonic animal deterrent or a motion activated water sprinkler such as CatStop™ or the ScareCrow™. Available at www.contech-inch.com
Cats are sleeping under my porch or in my shed.
EXPLANATION: The cats are looking for dry, cool shelter away from direct sunlight and other elements.
- Block or seal the area the cats are entering in with chicken wire or lattice once you are certain the cats are not inside. Be sure to search for kittens before blocking the area.
- Provide a shelter. Or if the cats have a caregiver, ask the caregiver to provide shelters in secluded areas away from your property. Tips for building or buying shelters can be found at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery
Cats are walking on my car.
EXPLANATION: Cats like to perch on high ground.
- Gradually move cats’ feeding stations away to discourage cats from climbing on cars.
- Use a car cover.
- Use deterrents listed in the previous section.
Cats are yowling, fighting, spraying, roaming, and having kittens.
EXPLANATION: These are mating behaviors. They will continue unless the cats are spayed or neutered.
Trap Neuter Return stops mating behaviors. Neutered male cats are less likely to fight, spray, or roam. Spayed female cats stop yowling and birthing kittens. After spay/neuter, hormones slowly leave their system and the behaviors usually decrease or stop entirely within three weeks.
Low-cost spay and neuter surgeries are available by appointment at Maui Humane Society. Surgeries include microchip and ear tip so that the cat is permanently identified as sterilized. Call (808) 877-3680 ext. 3 to schedule an appointment.
To combat the urine smell, spray the area thoroughly with white vinegar products that use natural enzymes to combat the smell, like Nature’s Miracle ®, Fizzion Pet Stay & Odor Remover, or Simple Solution®. These can be found at most pet supply stores.
5 Easy Steps for Humanely Deterring Cats:
- Talk to your neighbors. Determine whether the cat is a pet, stray, or community cat, and if he has been neutered. If not, get it done!
- Apply nontoxic deterrents around your yard:
- Line the yard with fragrances or herbs that will naturally repel the cats.
- Block gaps in the foundation of all sheds and outbuildings.
- Move feeding stations away from property.
- Use a car cover.