How to deter domestic cats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Bossom-hen, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. Bossom-hen

    Bossom-hen Out Of The Brooder

    64
    8
    48
    Dec 31, 2013
    England, UK
    After several years of keeping pekin bantams (cochin bantams) free range in my tiny garden I have for the first time started having problems with the neighbourhood cats. In the past I have known my girls to chase all cats from the garden but we have some new cats in the area and they are definitely a threat to my newer chickens who, although full grown, are not as large and fiesty as my previous girls (two of which died last year of natural causes). I have personally chased cats out of the garden a lot recently and this morning I was luckily present to witness a serious attempt on my most dominant girl so I have had to shut them away in the run for safety.

    I do not know what to do now, I cannot reasonably get a cockerel as I live in close proximity to many houses. I only have 3 hens, I could probably add another 2 but there are no guarantees that the larger flock would be a deterrent. I have thought of adding a larger pair of hens but the best types for smaller gardens (and that won't bully my little ones) are pretty docile so may not do the trick either. I was thinking an orpington or brahma. Any advice welcome. I'd really rather they didn't have to be shut in all the time as the grass in the run will not tolerate it and they will soon be without a grazing area.
     
  2. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

    654
    83
    111
    Mar 25, 2016
    Southwest Virginia
    I would live trap them and take them to your local animal shelter - unless you know who owns them, then take them to the owner and explain that they'll be turned over to animal control the next time they're trapped. Many animal control/shelters have traps available for loan for just this very purpose. Too many people allow their cats to roam freely and realistically, the only legal options are 1.) the owner to control them by keeping them on their property (inside, invisible fence, fence, etc) 2.) Trap the cat and turn it over to animal control. Obviously there is a more lethal (and illegal) method of deterring feline interlopers... I'd try the first 2 methods to start with.
     
  3. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    210
    166
    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I wouldn't get more chickens to deal with the cat problem. The cat problem needs to be addressed before you bring in more chickens.

    If you know who the owner is, you could try talking to them, but in my experience this is what happens: the neighbor shrugs at you because he/she sees nothing wrong with letting cats roam freely and now they know you are the neighbor that has a problem with cats so if anything happens to their cat, you will be the number one suspect even if you had nothing to do with their cat's demise or disappearance.

    Threatening to trap the cat and take it to the animal shelter will make for bad blood between you and people you still have to live next door to after the cat is gone. That will make for a lot of tension between you and not only that neighbor, but any of the other neighbors that neighbor talks to.

    It's probably better to just deal with it on your own turf. I see cat deterrents and repellent advertised, but I can't speak to how well they work. There's a motion-activated ultrasound unit that supposed to send them scurrying away and there are motion-activated sprinkler heads that can be put near the perimeter of your property that come on when motion is detected, also sending the cat scurrying. Putting jars of mothballs around the perimeter is supposed to work. Poke holes in the jar lid so the smell can escape the jar but the mothballs can't be eaten as the mothballs themselves are toxic. It's pretty smelly when the wind blows your way, but you might only have to keep it up until the cats get the idea that your yard is not a good place to go.

    And of course, there's always the squirt gun. This method relies on you being aware and taking action when a cat enters your property. Aim and give it a squirt of water to send it running until it gets the idea that it isn't welcome there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  4. Bossom-hen

    Bossom-hen Out Of The Brooder

    64
    8
    48
    Dec 31, 2013
    England, UK
    Thanks guys, I did once have an ultrasonic cat deterrent which broke but now you mention it it was quite good, I think I'll get another one as long as the sound won't upset the chickens - which I need to check. It would not be appropriate to trap them here in Britain, the RSPCA would certainly have words with me if I used even humane cage traps on local folks pets [​IMG]. It is generally accepted domestic cats should be allowed to run free and I can't legally do anything other than chase them off. There are around 8 cats which visit my garden each day, all friendly and from very close by, they normally just pass through and it's never been a problem in 5 years - just a couple of them suddenly seem to want to try out their hunting skills. To be honest I like cats, just not when they try to eat my chickens. [​IMG]
     
  5. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    The motion activated sprinklers work great, both because of the spray of water and also the noise they make when they start spraying water.
     
  6. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

    406
    77
    101
    May 24, 2013
    Best method I've found is small pieces of lead traveling extremely fast....

    I've posted on this issue before cats are a big problem for chickens whether or not some people choose to believe it.

    I have to deal with drop offs, people think it's the country and its ok, obviously it's not. More than most are intact males and they are vicious. I had enough when my 3 year old was conered in our garage by a cat that ran in when the doors were open.

    I called the police and animal control, they told me any animal threating people or livestock is fair game. The police straight told me to disappear them. All the cats we have trapped are completely not handleable we have tried, they are dangerous. Once they go into the trap they generally don't come out, we always give them a chance but it rarely works out in their favor.

    For all the naysayers I've seen a cat chase chickens 100 yards across a field trying to catch them, it happens.

    If I wanted cats of get my own, until then I have no need.
     
  7. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

    654
    83
    111
    Mar 25, 2016
    Southwest Virginia
    I hate cats (this coming from a vegetarian that for the most part, is pro-animal rights and such - bad roosters and free ranging cats are the exceptions to that rule) - they're a terrible nuisance in almost every case (responsible owners who keep them indoors excluded). They're generally harsh of most ecosystems and natural environments by way of the gluttonous killing of birds and small mammals (I get that predators hunt, but I see local free roaming cats kill and then leave their prey laying dead - all the while being overweight due to their ever full cat food dishes at home). Like slingshotandLAR, I live rural and there is an abundance of cats due to drop-offs and constant breeding. It's an unfortunate situation (for the cats and those they have an impact on) but it's almost impossible to keep up with them, even when using trap-neuter/spay-release programs because there are so **** many of them (feral and free roaming domestic). They're right up there with predatory raccoon, possum, foxes, etc with me and for the most part - they get the same treatment.

    - Rant off...
     
  8. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

    434
    64
    156
    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    The electronic animal repelling device is the most ludicrous farce ever perpetrated on the public. They don't run off mice, rats, dogs, raccoons, possums nor any other creature I've ever heard of. The sprinkler idea is equally ineffective.

    Just go ahead and try to discuss the problem with the owners of the cats. And, when one gets run over by a car, dies of natural causes or someone else knows how to rid themselves of a lurking killer, you will be blamed!

    A guy just up the road from my son complained to the owner of a dog that was caught red-handed killing chickens and horribly mauling a young goat his daughter loved dearly. He explained to the low-life that if the dog came back he was gonna call animal control. Within a week both of his dogs were dead from poisoning.

    I have not made many friends here with my stand for extreme predator control. I just don't understand why some people think that because an animal has predatory instincts embedded in their DNA, that my instincts to protect me and mine is inhumane. There is no more powerful instinct than to protect yourself and your family/stock. It is the predator's overwhelming desire to kill that makes the solution to the problem to eliminate the threat. This is a natural reaction and a very effective solution that is as old as mankind!

    Some how, it has become fashionable to believe that it is less cruel for chickens and stock to die an agonizing death to a predator, than for the predator to die.
     
  9. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    210
    166
    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I was hoping this wouldn't turn into a "shoot the cat; it's my right to protect my livestock" rant. If it were me, my livestock and my situation, I would shoot the predator. Heck, I don't leave the house without a gun on my hip because I live in a rural area that has native predatory animals that would not only go after my chickens, but are perfectly capable of hurting or killing me as well. If it's a choice between my chickens or a cat, the cat is screwed.

    That's not the OP's situation. Living in a residential area (or close to it: ..."close proximity to many houses") in the U.K., solving the problem by shooting the cats is not an option. Pontificating about our rights and how we'd handle it in our situation doesn't always help the OP.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah....totally agree. The OP has a totally different situation than we do in the US. I hope something out of the non-lethal suggestions works. I am rural also and extremely lucky at this point to not be over run with free ranging/feral cats. I do have one very large tomcat that lives behind us at my neighbor's hay barn. I was reading this thread with interest because I would just as soon leave him alone as long as he continues to do his job at the barn(rats and mice) but it will be game on if he decides to hang out in my yard once my coop and pen are occupied. :( Hubby and I have already discussed it....we will leave him alone as long as he doesn't bother the coop. But he probably will. :(

    For the record....I despise free ranging and feral cats. The havoc they wreak is very real and I have been on the receiving end of it too many times. I don't know what I would do if the prevailing attitude was that it was the cat's right to roam. Too many cat owners here in the US have that attitude but at least I have the right legally to do something about it. And my two GP's won't tolerate strange cats on their property. They make short work of them. Maybe OP needs a chicken friendly dog? Just throwing that out there since I would have no suggestions for that.

    Not to highjack the thread but where are you Owen? I am originally from SW VA and my brother who still lives there stays over run with stray/dropped cats. It is a VERY big problem. You can PM me that answer if you want. :)

    I absolutely understand the anger over roaming cats that instigates rants.....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by