Roaming Cats

Keeping your cat safe outdoors

Roaming Cats

Monday, October 12, 2015 | NHS Behavior Department

Roaming cats in your yard can be a frustrating problem. They disrupt wildlife, dig in gardens, upset pets, and leave behind unwanted messes. Although their presence may be upsetting, it’s important to remember that they’re not doing it to be mean. Roaming around, hunting small animals and eliminating are all natural behaviors for a cat. If you’re having trouble with roaming cats in your yard, here are things you can do: 

Talk to your Neighbor

If the cat in question belongs to a neighbor, expressing your concern for their cat’s safety may motivate them to keep their cat indoors. 

Cat repellents

There are several commercial cat repellents that can be sprinkled around your home to deter cats from wondering in. These products will need to be refreshed periodically to remain effective. Check pet stores or garden centers for available options.

Spraying coyote urine in targeted areas can give the illusion that there is a predator in the area. While cats are excellent predators, they are also a prey animal and tend to be cautious of areas that may contain danger. This product can usually be found at hunting stores.


An effective way to deter cats is to make the area unpleasant for them to be in. Surprise devices work well, as cats do not like to be caught-off-guard. With a few repeat occurrences, they are usually quick to avoid unpleasant areas.

Motion-activated sprinklers surprise the cat with a blast of water. Both the noise and the result of getting wet will have a negative impression on the cat.

Motion-activated sound devices give out a high-pitched sound that cats can hear but people cannot. This sound can be enough to prevent the cat from returning.

Please note that these devices are not animal-specific and may also have a negative effect on other animals in the area.


If you’re having trouble with cats digging in your garden, try laying chicken wire down either at or just under the surface. Chicken wire is uncomfortable on cat paws and will make the area unpleasant for walking and digging.

Humane Traps

Humane traps lure cats in with food and contain them until they can be moved. Place the trap in an area that is sheltered in case of bad weather. Once caught, call our animal control department or bring the cat to the Nebraska Humane Society. 

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