Cats can most definitely be intimidated by other cats. It can get so bad that it stops them going out into the garden. This can seriously restrict their opportunities for exercise.
To begin to tackle this problem we need to look at life from a cat’s point of view.
Is your cat frightened by the sight of other cats in the garden? If this is the case your first consideration may be blocking the view of the garden by obscuring the glass. This may be done with a spray finish like the one achieved with a sticky plastic spray like Humbrol Glass Etch Craft Spray Paint. Alternatively you could resort to greenhouse washable/solar reflective paint or even an attractive window film. Of course, good old houseplants on the windowsill look good and block some of the view.
Having tackled the view from your home it’s time to seal the garden itself. Here it is imperative that you first ensure any holes in the fence enabling other cats to get through are successfully blocked. If you want to build an enclosure in the garden to keep your cat safe and secure you can find flat packs at www.omlet.co.uk.
As food left down for hedgehogs or birds may also attract other cats, make sure this is removed. Food for your own cat may also be attracting other cats so dispense with serving food outdoors.
If you have any dry earth and sand on the ground you may be attracting other cats who think it’s there for them to use as a toilet. If this has been the case clear up every single pooh and give the area a thorough wash with a biological washing liquid (mixed in a ratio of 1/10 with water).
To further prevent cats breaking in to your garden, it has been suggested you could employ prickler strips – anti-burglar spikes. However, these could be deemed illegal, as they may cause harm to a burglar or a child climbing into your space. They may also be ineffective for some cats who could easily hop over them. If you do choose to try these it is advisable to consult your local crime prevention officer prior to purchase.
It is much easier and safer to use spiny shrubs and trees, which have been used for many hundreds of years to create defensive barriers as hedging or by using a plant’s climbing and defensive properties to improve an existing boundary. These prickly plants include Berberis, Chaenomeles, Corokia, Crataegus or Elaeagnus. Any of these can be planted next to the boundary wall or fence and allowed to flourish.
The plant Coleus canina, which is marketed under various names, including Scaredy-cat and Pee-off, has a strong smell repellent to cats and other mammals.
Jon Bowen, an expert of inter-cat aggression at the Royal Veterinary College recommends making some high up sitting places, like a shelf in the branches of a tree, for your own cat to use as a lookout. It’s important these face away from the house so any bully cats can’t adopt them to spy on your pet.
Putting plant pots and garden furniture near the cat flap exit may help your cat feel more secure and giving it some protection. If these are ever sprayed on by bully cats give them a thorough clean with by scrubbing with biological washing liquid followed by surgical spirit.
Bowen also emphasises that it may help to make a series of cat latrines around the garden edge by digging a 2ft deep hole, filled with one third gravel and topped with a third of soft playground sand. With these devices you can flush away urine, although you will still have to scoop the pooh on a regular basis. If possible take some of your cat’s pooh and put it in these latrines to establish whose territory they are from the outset.
The Cats Protection charity suggests some form of scarecrow to deter cats. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is even more ingenious.
Their advice includes:
- Surrounding your garden with a fence that leans in the direction from which the bully cats Cats are unable to climb over this type of angled fence.
- Placing flimsy plastic roll-up fencing on top of your fence or wall to prevent unwanted cats climbing in.
- Fitting taut string wire or string about 10 to 15cm above the fence to make it almost impossible for cats to balance on the fence.
- Using an old gamekeeper’s trick of placing half-full plastic bottles in your borders, where the light reflection is aimed at deterrence.
- Threading unwanted mailshots and discarded CDs on twine with knots in between and stringing these across flower beds or hanging from trees, again so the light reflections deter unwanted cats.
- Spiking any tree collars to prevent climbing up trees.
- Applying vaseline or grease to any smooth poles you may have in or just outside the garden to stop cats climbing in.
- Placing clippings from thorny or spiky plants under bushes to prevent cats from using these areas.
- Applying scent like citronella as a deterrent to repel or like Silent Roar to mark territory . Alternatively lemon or orange peel can be used as cats are not keen on the smell of citrus.
If you are around then a bucket or water pistol full of water will help you to chase unwanted cats out of the garden and deter them in the future perhaps.
There are automated options, like the PestBye Jet Spray Repeller Motion Activated Animal Deterrent. It is attached to a hosepipe, and delivers a water jet when activated by a motion detector.
Cats that are frightened by neighbouring cats must have a litter tray indoors so that they do not have to go through enemy territory to eliminate.
There are plenty of places online where you can find ways of protecting your cat from unwanted attention. They include:
www.colourfence.co.uk (metal fencing painted like wood)