Nuisance cats

Roaming cats can be a nuisance. There are a few things you can do to deter them safely.

The following information may help you deal with a nuisance cat while abiding by the law. Councils with cat by-laws often list 'nuisance' behaviours in their dog and cat management plan which you can find on their website.

Identify the nuisance

If you can identify the owner of the cat, discuss the issue with them in a friendly and practical way. Often, the owner will not realise their cat is being a nuisance. If you treat the issue as a shared problem and work on a solution together, you’re likely to achieve a good result.

If the cat is only a problem at certain times, you can ask the owner to keep the cat in during these times.

If it’s an adjoining neighbour’s cat, you might agree on a fence modification to keep them confined to their property. Check with your council before making fence modifications.

Seizing and detaining

It is illegal to seize or detain a cat that is identified with a collar and owner’s details or microchip. If you do, you must safely release it immediately in the area it was detained. If you do trap an unidentified cats you must surrender it to the RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League or a willing vet within 12 hours of capture. Your local council may have a facility in your area for surrendering trapped cats.

Deterring nuisance cats

There’s a few ways you can prevent cats from entering your property or areas they’re not welcome:

  • Cats will avoid cayenne pepper, mustard, vinegar, eucalyptus or citronella oil, so you can sprinkle any of these items where you don’t want cats. There are also over the counter repellent sprays available from pet shops.
  • Smear petroleum jelly (eg. Vaseline) on the top of fences and posts will prevent cats from getting a grip.
  • Cats don’t like having wet, muddy feet, so you can prevent cats from entering or digging at night by watering just before dark.
  • Cover children’s sandpits when not in use, particularly at night.

Cleaning up

Cat urine has an unpleasant odour that can be removed by scrubbing the area with a solution of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in water, followed with rinse of white vinegar. This method is environmentally safe and is an effective disinfectant, deodorant and cleaning agent. Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners as they have an old urine-type smell that will only encourage cats to urinate in the area more.

When nuisances persist

If you have taken all reasonable steps to deal with a nuisance cat, contact your local council.