Feral Cats - Still ruining my backyard

tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
edited April 2017 in Help / Advice Forum
So, a neighbor is an old cat lady in the sense that she feeds all the stray cats in her backyard, which is adjacent to mine. She doesn't live on my street but our all backyards are all connected with an alley between them for utility access or w/e. It's in the city. While they eat in her backyard they happen to crap all inside mine, including on the stairs that lead out of my basement. It is a continual thing. Getting her to stop feeding the cats isn't really an option. She puts the plates out there and she has names for them and specific places for each of them to go and whatnot. There's no collars on any on them and they are all feral.

Anyway, today when clearing out trash and sweeping and such, I happen to notice huddled in my basement landing there are two kittens. Really small ones. Fortunately, I did not discover them from opening the basement door. The slight chance of me doing so and having one of the cats run into my house keeps me from using that door. In any event, I need these kittens gone. I do not want to touch them as they are likely very young (visually looked to be less than a few weeks, under 12" eyeballing them), and they didn't respond much if at all when I went to move my trashcans and such (edit: they also did not move when I knocked on the door from the other side). When I came back a second time I did see the mother, which ran away, so I am assuming they are not abandoned.

While I have a cayenne spray and various other deterrents, given the age of the kittens my removing them would likely result in them dying. I do not want dead kittens in my backyard, nor do I want to deal with the complexities of removing said dead kittens. Assuming the mother cat decides that this is totally a safe place to keep her kittens, how long will I have to deal with them being there? Do cats move their kittens during the day or something so I can nuke the area while they're gone, would the mother cat still try and stay there? I'm thinking of using the coffee grounds.

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  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    If the mother doesn't think it's a safe place she will move them.

    Also don't worry about touching them if you need to move them, kittens are not like baby birds.

    Finally, you should probably call animal control and let them know the situation re: neighbor lady feeding the feral cat population. I understand you probably don't feel comfortable talking with her directly about it, but if you don't deal with it things will only get worse.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Could you not notify the SPCA and have them pick the kittens up?

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    The SPCA, in my experience, is absolutely and totally unwilling to do anything about feral cats anywhere.

    Around here, even the local animal control won't do anything unless you trap them yourself, at your expense.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Calling anyone in most places will mean the cats are killed. Is the inconvenience of the poop worth their deaths?

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  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Look online to see if there's a cat rescue society in your area. Cat people are cat crazy and will probably come and take them within the hour so that they can pat them a lot and maybe find them a new home.

    The fact that they are kittens makes them likely to be adopted. The mother perhaps less so.

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    I've talked to her about the cats before; it was not effective. Doesn't help that she's known me since I was a child, and my mother when she was one. When I mentioned the poop she pointed out that if I swept the dirt up back there then they wouldn't have any where to poop on. This was not true..

    While the poop is annoying, she also watches out for stuff all day too. Its just that I don't want the kittens to be right up against the threshold of the door. That's the first time I've seen them hanging out down there. Prior to that only the poop in that stairwell was the only evidence of their passing. I don't think she's the only one that feeds them either, or they have some other primary resting area they go to or however cat colonies* work.

    They're not going to meow a bunch or something either, right? I know nothing about kittens.

    edit: *I believe there are about 5-6 of them, plus the two kittens now.

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    I also can't call animal control on them because they arent sick or injured. Both stray and feral cats are considered "community cats."

    I can call for pricing on getting them spayed/neutered, but that's about it. It's not illegal to feed strays in my city.

    I can be ticketed for having a yard full of fecal matter though...

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  • MulletudeMulletude Registered User regular
    The cats are hanging around because they are being fed.

    I don't see meowing being an issue. The only time i've heard cats be loud is either when the fight or one is in heat. The also prob all meow in neighbor lady's yard when she brings out food.

    Tbh, I love cats. But tons of feral cats like that is not good for them or the local birds and squirrells.

    I'd recommend calling a local cat shelter if one exists. If not, call animal control. They will only keep multiplying

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  • Skull2185Skull2185 Registered User regular
    I also can't call animal control on them because they arent sick or injured. Both stray and feral cats are considered "community cats."

    I can call for pricing on getting them spayed/neutered, but that's about it. It's not illegal to feed strays in my city.

    I can be ticketed for having a yard full of fecal matter though...

    Damn, that's some BS. You can get cited by the city for having a poopy yard, but the city wont come and take care of a feral cat overpopulation problem... yeesh.

    Maybe check around pet shops and such, there should be different types of cat repellant sprays or something. I've had to buy a spray to keep my asshole cat from shredding my carpeted staircase. Non toxic stuff, smells like lemons a little, so if there's sprays you can buy, it probably wont hurt the cats. Just spray down areas around your house like the basement access area, and that might help keep them away.

    Also, maybe go out there when you notice the momma and kittens gone and mop down the area with some kind of cleaner. The odd smell might make the cats not want to stay there anymore too.

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  • MulletudeMulletude Registered User regular
    I also can't call animal control on them because they arent sick or injured. Both stray and feral cats are considered "community cats."

    I can call for pricing on getting them spayed/neutered, but that's about it. It's not illegal to feed strays in my city.

    I can be ticketed for having a yard full of fecal matter though...

    Whelp, that sucks.

    Paying yourself to get them all fixed would be an enormous cost.

    You don't have a fence do you? If you do and it is tall enough you could try chicken wire to keep the bottom and gaps closed

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Yeah, they don't inspect or check on their own, but you can be reported by neighbors and then they will come to check/cite you. The same with litter/"debris" on your front. Though they do patrol for that. Municipal fines are a revenue stream and such, even in major cities. It's also a health hazard. Like, when I first bought the property it had been sitting a while. She's been feeding them for years. At that point, on a hot summer day if you were to go near the basement door from the inside you smelled it. Or if you were to go into the extension/shed area that is over the basement stairs, you'd also smell it. It was cleaned then when I had demo/reno work done, and I clean it now but yeah, annoying.

    The yard itself is all fenced in/cement. I live near a park, so the squirrels/birds/raccoons/possums/cats sort of come in waves. Then there's these groundhog/gopher looking things that meander about too at times. Given the population and her feeding them, if they were removed it would just unbalance that pattern, or introduce another group of cats. Animal control guys do trap/neuter/return instead of sheltering (unless they're sick/injured). So... there is some benefit to having the feral cats around. I just need to control where they do their business, and positively don't want kittens down there. Not just for the poop factor, but because if I would have opened the basement door and saw fur in my lower peripheral vision I may have reflexively attacked them.

    I know Cayenne pepper works, coffee grounds and I have critter ridder too; those keep my flower pots safe. But I don't know how effective it would be sprayed directly on cement. The dry stuff would just get washed/blown away. There's a battery powered "static shock pad" you can buy for indoors but I'm not sure how effective that would be, plus I don't think it'd last in the rain since water drains down the stairs and into a side drain. It's also why dirt accumulates on the stairs and under the shed extension.

    Like, if I put the repellent in a stocking would it still be effective? Are there like wood chips or something I can do that with, assuming the kittens are moved by the mother on their own?

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    This problem will only get worse as time goes on. Unfixed cats once they hit the right age can breed multiple times each year. I know she thinks that she's helping them, but she's basically continuing a cycle of starvation and disease that will not go away. The end result of this no matter what you do, lots of cats are going to die. Your best bet is to contact a not for profit in the area and ask them what to do.

    Edit: You can use a motion sensor and a hose to probably get them to stop showing up in that exact spot... but they will probably not move far from the food source. You're being very nice about this, in many places they'd just come out and poison / trap and put down the cats.

    It's really not fair to people who have pets that can catch disease/fleas because this lady wont stop feeding them. With regards to the local animal population being in check by the cats, I would argue leaving plates of food out for cats probably attracts more raccoons and rodents than the cats prevent. Raccoons especially don't give a shit about cats.

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  • Zombie HeroZombie Hero Registered User regular
    For the adult cat, you can look into seeing if there is a Trap-Neuter-Release nonprofit in your area that is willing to help. It's a better solution than having animal control pick them up in a lot of cases. Not sure what to do about the kittens though, except contacting local rescue\foster organizations and seeing what they have to say.

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  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    Stew and/or slippers.

    But on a serious note, my town has a terrible problem for feral kittens as well. It doesn't help that the restaurant under my apartment feeds them leftovers every night. Since we're in a rural area it doesn't really matter much in terms of feces since it's everywhere anyway. Set a few traps, catch the ones you can, drop them off at a shelter and they'll try to find a home for them. Alternately put an ad on craigslist saying there are a bunch of kittens for anyone that wants a kitten. There are a few ads on Kijiji for the kittens around my building and some have been picked up.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Calling anyone in most places will mean the cats are killed. Is the inconvenience of the poop worth their deaths?

    I guess it could depend on the area... SPCA in Texas runs no kill shelters.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Your view is probably a bit skewed. I believe Austin is the highest no-kill percentage in the country.

    I can understand the cats as a nuisance. If your city has a non profit to work with, give them a call and just see what they advise. Might want to also look at your local reddit/craigslist/ and see if people have organized anything.

    For the yard, these things are battery powered: https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-KIT19001-SSScat/dp/B000RIA95G

    You might be able to weigh them down and secure them where the cats like to enter the yard and where the choose to poo. I don't know how they'll stand up to the elements, but you'd need to keep it up for a while if it works, because cats can be tenacious little shits. You'd probably need someone to come scoop up the kittens and mom first, though.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    Yeah, most SPCA places are far from that benevolent.

    OP, you may want to find a place like this: http://www.spaynsave.org/
    It's my area's local "community cat" nonprofit that does spay and neutering of cats, no questions asked, and generally for free for cats that are wild (or at incredibly cheap costs). While Spay N Save are huge comparative to these resources nationwide, there are many similar nonprofit groups out there. The idea would be to spay the mother and then the kittens once they are of the right age and then release them back into the neighborhood. Having seen the operation on the front an back end during an assessment I did for graduate school, I can say they run a pretty amazing thing that helps a lot of people an animals.

    They might be able to refer you to their sister group in your area.

    Enc on
  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    On the matter of the old lady feeding them, she's around when it happens. She watches them and removes the plates after. So I'm fairly certain the other wildlife isn't being fed by her doing so. Like... the one time I observed her she was talking to them and has assigned plates and areas insomuch as one can do that with "community cats." If they are actually her cats, then they are dirty and wild looking and such. She's otherwise lucid so I don't think they are hers. But aggressively controlling the entire area just seems... unnecessarily hostile at this point in time.

    Shelter/take away isn't an option, it's pretty much all TNR stuff that I can find. If they were sick or injured I could get them picked up.

    The SPCA would have me pay for the TNR stuff, though they did not post their pricing. There is a place that offers to "pay what you want", and other low prices but they seem to require proof that I am low income/on public assistance and I don't qualify at all. I'm not willing to ~45$ bucks per kitten when there are literally more of them out there that will just make more kittens. Plus all of these are ~20 a minimum minute drive from where I live.

    I also checked out the HSUS for information, and I can try to get a voucher to have them spayed/neutered or something but I would have to wait roughly two weeks, assuming there is still funding left. But you set the appointment after you receive the voucher and two weeks from now they may be mobile or gone and such.

    Controlling where they poop and keeping them out of that stairwell are my only goals here. These spray things look like they could work? I can attach one to the security gate, and another on the support columns for the extension itself maybe. Not worrying about poop or kittens on the steps would be a major victory.

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    I would recommend waiting until the kittens are older and then proceeding to make your back yard less pleasant for cats using the methods you were already considering. Feral cats become mobile rather quickly, and feral cat moms under environmental stress can wean their kittens in as little as seven weeks (I'm not suggesting you try to create environmental distress, that is just a time frame so you have something of an end in sight for "how long do I have to wait").

    I was reading a study on the subject of feral cat control just yesterday because the subject came up in a different thread. Unfortunately there is no easy solution, and realistically there might not be any solution at all. Feral cats will populate to environmental load rapidly. An estimated 20% of residents in the areas studied fed or otherwise intentionally supported the feral cat communities. Trap-Neuter-Release programs were ineffective as were kill programs. An estimated 70-90% of the population would need to be reached by any control program to bring reproduction below 1:1. That is simply an unrealistic target number for virtually any locale.

    Science!: https://www.avma.org/News/Journals/Collections/Documents/javma_227_11_1775.pdf

    It is frustrating that animal control and ASPCA and such won't deal with feral cats but it's not like no one has tried. The reality is simply that this is an environmental niche created by human habitation and nature has filled it with cats. It is the same with coyote eradication efforts. They fail every time and they always will. Finding ways to live with the nuisance is the only option since eliminating the nuisance is not realistic.

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    That's a pretty interesting read. I ordered the aerosol spray, but it won't arrive until Friday.

    Checked after work and the kittens are still there, however they have seemed to move a bit into one corner of the doorway. The mother is still nearby, though she runs away and just watches. No worries about me trying to mess with them, but yeah.

    They did separate a little and I was able to get a better assessment of their lengths and such. With the power of google research, they're probably around 2 weeks old? Their eyes are open, and one of them at least was somewhat mobile, like crawling around, wobbly motions or whatever. The other one just... pawed at the air while lying on its back. It does seem that is where they are going to stay for now. None of the other cats that I would normally see were around either.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    When kittens are that young they require stimulation from the mother to defecate. They shouldn't be making too much a mess. If anything the mother may be keeping the area free of additional adult feral cats.

    When I had a similar situation in an apartment complex I brought them all inside, fed them and found homes for them through people at work and then kept two. It was very fortunate, but it turns out a lot of people are willing to adopt kittens.

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    When kittens are that young they require stimulation from the mother to defecate. They shouldn't be making too much a mess. If anything the mother may be keeping the area free of additional adult feral cats.

    When I had a similar situation in an apartment complex I brought them all inside, fed them and found homes for them through people at work and then kept two. It was very fortunate, but it turns out a lot of people are willing to adopt kittens.

    Feral kittens can be domesticated and in many cases are adoptable, yes. There are simply more cats (and dogs) than takers though. Unfortunate but that's how it is. Adult feral cats are not really domesticatable or adoptable. At most they become familiar with and trust certain humans (such as the neighbor in this instance) but they cannot be converted into happy indoor cats, at least not as far as I am aware.

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  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    One thing I haven't seen you mention is the usage of citrus and foil. Cats hate the smell of citrus and the feel of foil on their paws usually. There's exceptions but it's uncommon.

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Wouldn't citrus attract ants? Or would citrus fragance bars of something have the same effect?

    Didnt know that cats don't like foil either. Not sure how to implement that back there.

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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    you can make a pretty effective cat replant spray out of 3/4 cup vinegar, tbs of dried rosemary and a tbs of lemon or lime juice and then water to top off a spray bottle.

    Doesn't really contain much of any sugar so I can't see it attracting a tons of ants, and if it does ants are easier to remove than cats.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    Feral cats are an invasive species. Obviously kitties are awesome, and domesticated cats are loving pets, but feral cats are an invasive predator.

    Feral cats have an average of 1.4 litters per year, with an average of 3.5 births. So these may not be the only kittens you get this year.

    For every domesticated cat in a house, there's a feral cat. Literally half of the cats in the US are feral. While it's awesome to hope we could get them all adopted, there's just no way, and feral adults are not really domesticatable. No kill shelters won't want them because they'll never be able to place them in a home. Every feral cat in a shelter is taking up space that a domesticated cat or dog that might one day be loved by a family could have. So every saved feral cat pretty much kills a domesticatable cat or dog.

    Lots of groups advocate for "trap neuter return" which is where feral cats are neutered and then put back where they came from. It seems more humane, however:

    Invasive cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds in the US every year. They're the cutest horribly destructive force we've ever unleashed on the environment. (There are more destructive, sure, but not with that combination of cute.) They also kill 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals every year. All told, some estimates figure about a billion things die every night to feral cats. They've caused several complete extinctions of species globally.

    It's a pretty contentious topic of discussion with lots of advocacy groups defending feral cats. That's the reason you can't get anyone to deal with feral cats. It's a tough to solve problem, and it's hugely politically loaded. But what your neighbor is doing is considered pretty harmful to the local ecosystem.

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  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    Wouldn't citrus attract ants? Or would citrus fragance bars of something have the same effect?

    Didnt know that cats don't like foil either. Not sure how to implement that back there.

    only sugar attracts ants, if there's no sugar in the spray you'll be fine

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Adult feral cats are not really domesticatable or adoptable. At most they become familiar with and trust certain humans (such as the neighbor in this instance) but they cannot be converted into happy indoor cats, at least not as far as I am aware.

    They can sometimes be converted to pet cats but you can't count on it. My parents have a couple of cats that used to be feral and sort of domesticated themselves by stages over time. They are in the rural UK where it is culturally acceptable to allow pet cats to got outside, which probably makes it easier. Just catching feral cats and putting them inside a house with no way out would not work, they would just hiss and go crazy.

  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    I've actually had lots of feral cats as pets. They can all domesticate just at different rates

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    As far as I can tell my neighbor has been feeding the cats in this manner for years. There's no laws against it, and most of the shelters and programs that mention feeders and or colony removal seem to suggest the only time they will aggressively intervene is if the conditions are unsanitary or people start to kill/harm enough of them. But for the most part, they are a necessary evil.

    The primary food source for city fauna is curbside garbage left out on non-trash days, or poorly secured garbage left in yards. The worst offenders being rowhomes converted into apartments (off-campus housing in particular). Most are reno'd without the proper infrastructure to support the population density... so there's no secure place to put their garbage outdoors and such. One can't truly say if it's due to negligence or necessity on the part of the people, but the garbage being an easy food supply for all wildlife is problematic, especially since in the city as there are few actual predatory animals. There's some birds of prey, maybe foxes in some areas but nothing else really.

    But the group of cats covers a broad area, and serve a function somewhat. Ecosystems adjust, and while feral cats may have been an invasive species at one point in time, for most major metropolitan cities they are an active piece of the ecosystem, particularly in the area of rodent control. They absolutely kill other stuff too, for sure. But my interest in cats begins and ends in them not doing anything in the immediate vicinity of my basement stairs and such.

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  • Skull2185Skull2185 Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    domesticated cats are loving* pets




    *varies by the minute

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    As far as I can tell my neighbor has been feeding the cats in this manner for years. There's no laws against it, and most of the shelters and programs that mention feeders and or colony removal seem to suggest the only time they will aggressively intervene is if the conditions are unsanitary or people start to kill/harm enough of them. But for the most part, they are a necessary evil.

    The primary food source for city fauna is curbside garbage left out on non-trash days, or poorly secured garbage left in yards. The worst offenders being rowhomes converted into apartments (off-campus housing in particular). Most are reno'd without the proper infrastructure to support the population density... so there's no secure place to put their garbage outdoors and such. One can't truly say if it's due to negligence or necessity on the part of the people, but the garbage being an easy food supply for all wildlife is problematic, especially since in the city as there are few actual predatory animals. There's some birds of prey, maybe foxes in some areas but nothing else really.

    But the group of cats covers a broad area, and serve a function somewhat. Ecosystems adjust, and while feral cats may have been an invasive species at one point in time, for most major metropolitan cities they are an active piece of the ecosystem, particularly in the area of rodent control. They absolutely kill other stuff too, for sure. But my interest in cats begins and ends in them not doing anything in the immediate vicinity of my basement stairs and such.

    Agreed, your concern here for the state of your back stoop is valid and you shouldn't feel bad for not wanting it covered in cat shit. Hopefully the deterrent measures discussed in this thread reduce the appeal of your apartment. It doesn't sound like there are any laws in your area against such measures, it's not like you're considering poisoning them.

    Just keep an eye out for when the kittens move out and then move in with your plan that day.

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    So tonight as I was coming up to my door I saw one of the bigger, uglier cats coming out of my alley that leads to the rear of my house and I feared my worst case scenario had happened.

    Fortunately, this was not the case. The kittens and mother are gone. Idk where they went, but it looks like they left peacefully. So now I can put the deterrents in place asap. Yay!

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    I'm glad you no longer have a problem but I do have to comment that I think you would have been better off looking for a shelter that would have picked them up, cause now you have 7 more feral cats living in your area and breeding more since they have not been fixed. Not the SPCA or Animal control, but one of the charity places like love a stray that would have tried to care for them and gotten them fixed and possible homes. "Feral" kittens that young are likely homeable.

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think it's safe to say that tasty understands all of your concerns about the feral cat population and has explored his options. You guys can leave that point alone.

    @tastydonuts let us know if the air canisters work, I've not tried them but I'm curious.

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  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    If one wanted to address the issue going forward, they could put the neighbor in touch with a local shelter to have the cats spayed/neutered, and give the neighbor assistance in continuing to feed them. This is the recommended methodology for limiting feral cat populations and many shelters will have volunteers who come out with an Elmer Fudd-style trap as part of a trap-neuter-release program.

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Sure, I'll update this to let you know how the spray works once I get it set up. Probably going to do it over the weekend along with cleaning back there. Really tempted to set up a camera to see how it works. There were more than a few youtube videos showing the sprayer in action.

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    An update: failure, more or less.

    For a brief period the raccoons roved about and then there was nothing and now there are frozen turds beside the steps, and all along the alley. Cats seem to be sitting around my other neighbor's yard around the block and it's just as annoying. Also around the corner people leave out piles of dry catfood occasionally so yeah. It's either cats or raccoons. It's too cold for the older lady to be out rearming the cats with poop ammunition. People intentionally feeding them aside, other people have no concept of trash day, such is life in the big city!

    Anyhoo, I briefly used some Critter Ridder but then I came to find cat vomit in over my neighbor's backyard, though I can't really attribute it to the Critter Ridder, stopped using it.

    If I were to buy some chicken wire, frame it and then lay it down on the ground, would that work? Or perhaps an array of pigeon spikes, and then a chicken wire grate on the stairwell to keep them from getting down there? It's a pain to clean it because the basement stairs are under the shed extension and poop is solely now on the ground around the stairs.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Feral cats are an invasive species. Obviously kitties are awesome, and domesticated cats are loving pets, but feral cats are an invasive predator.

    Feral cats have an average of 1.4 litters per year, with an average of 3.5 births. So these may not be the only kittens you get this year.

    For every domesticated cat in a house, there's a feral cat. Literally half of the cats in the US are feral. While it's awesome to hope we could get them all adopted, there's just no way, and feral adults are not really domesticatable. No kill shelters won't want them because they'll never be able to place them in a home. Every feral cat in a shelter is taking up space that a domesticated cat or dog that might one day be loved by a family could have. So every saved feral cat pretty much kills a domesticatable cat or dog.

    Lots of groups advocate for "trap neuter return" which is where feral cats are neutered and then put back where they came from. It seems more humane, however:

    Invasive cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds in the US every year. They're the cutest horribly destructive force we've ever unleashed on the environment. (There are more destructive, sure, but not with that combination of cute.) They also kill 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals every year. All told, some estimates figure about a billion things die every night to feral cats. They've caused several complete extinctions of species globally.

    It's a pretty contentious topic of discussion with lots of advocacy groups defending feral cats. That's the reason you can't get anyone to deal with feral cats. It's a tough to solve problem, and it's hugely politically loaded. But what your neighbor is doing is considered pretty harmful to the local ecosystem.

    Just an important caveat to the kill figures:

    The rodent depopulation by feral cats is almost certainly a boon to human civilization, whatever you think of the ethics of that. No more rat or mouse plagues tracks remarkably closely with a decline in both large communicable disease epidemics & famines.

    No argument with the invasive species comments overall, though.


    To the OP: I second the opinions about asking around to see if folks are willing to adopt the kittens; it's a short term solution, but does immediately remove the animals without having to kill them. I can't think of much to be done about the mother, unfortunately. Older cats are difficult to adopt even in the best of circumstances (I don't suppose you live near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island? I'd go pick it up). :|

    For a longer term solution, all I can think of is trying to contact the city and talk to them about the problem. See if they can get you in touch with someone who might care about it. Even if the ordinances don't demand that the city do anything, sometimes (though not all of the time) you can get a surprising amount of help by calling or walking into city hall and talking about a weird / specific problem that the bylaws seem to overlook. There's a slim but real chance they may come up with a solution for you.

    With Love and Courage
    LovelyCambiataShadowfire
  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    Err... the kittens I was talking about are grown cats now, and probably have kittens of their own or however cats work; this post was originally written in August.

    I posted an update on the effectiveness of the sprayer—which is probably great indoors—but impractical for the area and dimensions of the region I'm trying to protect, and additional solutions.

    At this point, I'm simply looking for passive physical deterrents to keep them from pooping in a specific region of my backyard, and along my alley because I don't own pets because I don't want clean up after them.

    tastydonuts on
    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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