A stray cat is visiting your cat because:
- A food source is attracting the cat
- You interact with the cats, and they like you
- A cat has sprayed or marked its scent outside your house
- Your house is conveniently located near the neighbors house it is coming from
- The community cat is using your garden as a litter box
In this article, I will show you the possible reasons why your neighborhood felines (also known as strays, outdoor cats, or community cats) have taken a liking to your cat, and are making it a habit to hang out nearby your home or windows.
In the second half of this article,I will also show what you can do about an unwelcome visitor. If the visits from a stray or strays has your own cat or cats feeling agitated, there are some actions that you can take.
Reasons Why You Have a Stray Cat Visiting You
1. You have a bird feeder or other food source that is attracting the outdoor cat
A food source could be the thing that is attracting your new feline friend. However, this may not be something as obvious as a container of kibble on your front porch — the food source could be something that isn’t even intended for cats at all.
It could be seeds that you use in a bird feeder, or bread that you throw out for the squirrels.
If you have been putting out food for any kind of neighborhood critters, it could be having an unwanted side effect of attracting stray cats who are on the prowl for their next meal.
2. You interact with the neighborhood cats, and they’ve taken a liking to you
Okay, so it may be every cat person’s dream to win the “Most-Loved Human” award in the neighborhood, but if this is the case, you may be dealing with some unsavory side effects.
Although it may seem like paradise to be beloved by multiple felines, it’s possible that your cat wouldn’t share the same enthusiasm.
Cats, by nature, are territorial — which means that they are protective over who enters their space. If your cat picks up another cat’s scent on you, they may respond with aggressive behavior or urine marking.
Unfortunately, this means that the attention that you’re giving the community cats may be causing them to come around your house looking for more — much to the chagrin of your own cat(s)!
3. A cat has sprayed or marked its scent outside your house
Ihave just mentioned that your cat’s territorial behavior may result in spraying or marking, but there is also the consideration that a stray cat has marked the area around your house.
Stray cats may mark the area around your home to show their possession of it — especially if they are trying to communicate to another nearby cat (in this case, your cat) about how they’re a big name in town, too.
If the area is marked with their own scent, it may be causing them to come back again and again.
If you believe that a stray cat may have sprayed an area around your house (one way to tell is if you smell cat urine), one possible solution is to scatter scents around your house that deter stray cats (like lemon or orange peels).
4. The cat is coming from a nearby neighbor’s house, and your house is conveniently located
When given freedom, many cats can travel very far afield — we occasionally hear those news stories about cats who have traveled hundreds of miles on their own accord — but, as we all know, cats can tend to be, er, a bit on the inactive side.
If you have a cat that often makes an appearance on your property, it’s important to cross off the possibility that it could be the cat of a close neighbor. Much like human children, the cat may just be popping in to see if their next-door neighbor is free for a playdate.
5. The community cat is using your garden as a litter box
The last possibility may also be the least desirable one. It may be possible that a community cat is using your lawn or garden as a litter box. The chances of this are of course higher if you have a large area of dirt or sand.
While this may seem gross — it’s hard enough to deal with one litter box on the inside of the house — try your best not to hold this against the cat. Chances are this cat is just following its instinct, as a cat knows to bury its waste by instinct.
How to Stop Your Stray Cat Visitors
1. Talk to your neighbors about keeping their cat indoors
This first option is also the easiest. Because of the high probability that your visiting cat friend may belong to a neighbor, it may be worthwhile to get to know the landscape of pet ownership in your neighborhood.
If you find that the source of bother for your cat is a neighbor’s cat, perhaps you can have a polite and civil conversation with your neighbor about keeping their cat indoors. There are many compelling reasons for indoor cats to be kept indoors, among them the fact that outdoor cats are responsible for the extinction of bird species.
2. Change your landscaping approach to one that deters outdoor cats
I mentioned earlier that a cat may be attracted to your lawn because it is looking for a makeshift outdoor litter box.
One easy way to make your outdoor area less attractive to cats is by changing up your landscaping with the use of large rocks or gravel. This will make your yard a less viable option for cats looking to bury their waste.
3. Provide covered shelter if another cat is seeking refuge under your window
If you have noticed that a stray cat keeps showing up under a window awning or porch, it’s possible that this cat is seeking a break from inclement weather. You can make this cat an alternative hideout and place it further away from your own cats, so that it will cause them less bother.
One popular option is using a storage container to make a mini “cat condo” for use during cold or rainy weather.
4. Ensure that your outside area is free from all food scraps
Earlier, I mentioned that it is possible that the stray cats may be attracted to food sources on your lawn.
One easy way of eliminating this possibility is by moving or eliminating all bird feeders and similar appliances.
5. Consider a TNR program — but do not attempt to capture the cat to take it to an animal shelter
It’s understandable if unwelcome guests in your living area have you and your pet feeling frustrated. However, one thing to take away from this article is that you should not let this frustration lead you to capturing feral cats and taking them to a local animal shelter.
Not only will this not solve the problem at hand (there will always be more cats), but many cats that live on the streets are not easy candidates for adoption, and are at risk of being euthanized.
Instead, if you are interested in controlling the stray cat population, you should look into joining a local TNR program. Your cat, and your neighborhood cats, will thank you!
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