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Cat intruders spraying my home daily

February 18th, 2008, 07:39 AM
I have a very friendly, half-feral, neutered black tomcat. Via his cat-flap, he spends half his time outside, playing with other cats who want to play, avoiding those who don't.

The problem I have is not with him, but with 2 unneutered tomcats who live close by, and come into my ground floor flat daily, either when I'm asleep or out, and spray their smell over everything. If I catch either of them in the flat (when returning home) they scarper, literally like a cat burglar - and if I prevent their escape they start hissing and growling at me. My cat, if he is in, does little to defend his territory, usually just sits there and does nothing.

I've had to wash my walls, carpets, shoes, trainers & clothes 5 times already (I'm trying to sell my property right now, and the smell does little to impress prospective buyers).

It got to the point last night that I decided to make my catflap outgoing only. No more intruders - but I was woken 3 times in the night with my cat trying to get in (the front door is next to the bedroom, so I hear him). I can't win.

So either I have to put up with a flat stinking of tomcat spray, or never have a peaceful night's sleep.

I am a cat lover, but that love is turning to hate where these two unneutered toms are concerned. I've sprayed them with water, hissed and shouted at them - and they still keep coming in. I now have a spray bottle loaded with water and washing up liquid, in the hope that it will sting their eyes if I get a good aim (don't have a go at me - my first choice was bleach!). And the way I'm feeling right now, if ever I get one of them trapped in the flat again, I will spray the whole bottle in it's face and then empty my deodorant spray all over it. I'm wanting to cause these cats pain and distress, which is not like me at all.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can deal with this problem without resorting to animal cruelty?

February 18th, 2008, 07:58 AM
Welcome to the board, DrMatt!

I have so little cat experience, but have you tried a half-and-half solution of vinegar and water. It stings eyes and nose temporarily but doesn't harm the animal. It works well on dogs...maybe it would also deter cats?

Are these two toms feral or do they live with someone? If they're feral, maybe trapping them would be possible? If they live with someone, have you talked to the owner?

I'm sure someone will be along shortly who has a little experience in things 'cat'. :o

February 18th, 2008, 08:20 AM
Thanks for the welcome!

Vinegar certainly sounds more humane than washing up liquid - I'll give it a go.
(They way I was feeling when I woke up from very little sleep, it would have been pure bleach...)

Regarding the other cats, they both have owners, but I know not who, and I don't know the neighbours. I am considering posting a note though every letter box on my street (150 houses/flats) explaining that if they have an unneutered tomcat who comes home soaked in vinegar and smelling of deodorant, they know why!

I don't understand anyone keeping unneutered toms as house pets - that smell... :eeew:

February 18th, 2008, 08:25 AM
Why don't you catch them and have them neutered? I had 2 male cats hanging around my house all summer and the stench was awful. I called my vet and explained the situation and he gave me a great price of $60 each - as soon as I would catch one I drove him over to my vet and he was in and out the same day! It was the best $120 I ever spent!!

ps they still come over occasionally for a visit but for some reason won't let me get near them :rolleyes:

February 18th, 2008, 08:29 AM
If you can get close enough to them, think you could attach a note to their collars (do they even have collars)?

February 18th, 2008, 08:41 AM
Welcome to the board.

I don't see that you have much options if you want to control the cats. Get rid of the cat flap and make your cat inside only or supervised outside play time only.

I don't believe in allowing any cat or dog to run at their own free will, shortens their lifespan in about half and disturbs neighbours (even if you cat doesn't start the fight, it is still around to be fought with). If your cat is being picked on, even more reason to keep him inside, it is up to you to protect him.

Even if you trap and neuter the toms (sounds like they are a little feral), there is no guarantee they will stop coming into your house to spray.

February 18th, 2008, 09:14 AM
I agree. Keep your cat inside at night, block the flap, and any view he might have of the area where the visitors hang out (such as glass doors). He'll raise holy hell at first but it will be worth it. Buy him some new toys and play laser tag to wear him out. Use earplugs. Without access to your house, the visitors may even get bored and drift away.
I would be worried about fights. One more cat in the nocturnal mix and your house could become a battleground. Also I doubt people who are so negligent that they fail to get their toms fixed would be rushing them to the vet if anyone got injured. So the whole situation would land in your lap.
If you are willing to go so far as getting the visitors neutered - even though they 'belong' to someone else - it could be done. Trap them in one room overnight (no food) and take them to the vet in the morning. Snip, snip, home for dinner. But as has already been pointed out, neutering will help the spraying behaviour but not necessarily eliminate it.

February 18th, 2008, 10:31 AM
It is possible to get an electronic device for the cat flap that will admit only your cat. Sort of his own mini garage door opener. A friend in the UK has one. His cat keeps the collar on and has had a few episodes where he got the device wedged sideways and could not enter the door. I've never seen it, it's actually the OH's friend. I cannot imagine any of my cats wearing the device, I can't keep any kind of a collar on them but you might want to look into it. I do favour the advice to keep him in at night. Could you set up a live trap at the door flap, inside, and humanely return the unwanted visitors to their own home with an explanation of their behaviour and maybe a bill for your cleaning supplies?

You are in the UK, aren't you? You will have to search the internet for that device, I don't know what it is just that it exists.

February 18th, 2008, 12:23 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I knew nothing of shortened life-spans if animals are allowed complete freedom. I've always been one to give my cats as much freedom as possible, imho, as full a life as possible. He only has me and his feline freinds.

I considered the 'note on the collar' idea - but these toms have no collars. And Nimo refuses to wear one - so the hi-tech Nimo-only cat-flap idea wouldn't work.

Financially, I'm not in a position to get them neutered myself, unless the PSDA (UK charity vet for people on low incomes - i.e. me) or RSPCA would do it for free. And I'm also concerned that I might be breaking the law in doing so, as these cats belong to other people. Anyone know UK laws regarding such matters?

The only workable suggestion is to 'keep him in at night and lock the cat-flap' idea - but I know that means he will be pestering me and waking me up all through the night. And if I shut my bedroom door (he's used to sleeping at the bottom of the bed) I can see him clawing up the carpet by the door trying to get in so he can sleep with daddy.

I feel very frustrated and angry that I'm in a position where I have to deny my cat his freedom due to the irresponsibility of other cat owners. I think I will do a door-to-door leaflet drop, explaining the situation, how irresponsible it is to have unneutered toms, and that if I catch either of them in my flat again, I will take them to the RSPCA, say they are strays, and let them deal with them as they see fit.

I'll keep you guys posted.

And thanks for such a nice welcome to the forum!

Re: Laser pointers - I've been after one for 3 years now. You can't buy these in the UK anymore because of the retina damage issue if shone directly into the eye. I've never known a cat look directly into the beam - it's the red/green/blue moving dot of light they look at and chase.

February 18th, 2008, 01:11 PM
I agree with the others that say to get rid of the flap and keep the cat inside. In the city it's only irresponsible cat owners that let their cats roam. Now, if you are insistent that he needs to socialize with other cats, rent a cat trap or catch them inside and take them to your RSPCA. If you want to be nice and do the leaflet drop, do note that you will be catching these cats on their next foray into flap and the RSPCA is where they will be found. I'm tempted to do that with a couple of local cats that use our front garden as a little box.

February 18th, 2008, 04:33 PM
So I am an irresponsible cat owner myself for letting my cat have a life in the outside world? I may live in a city, but I'm in a very quiet area on top of a hill with green land all around me. I don't know anyone who doesn't let their cat outside. There are many cats living in my street - because I see them all out and about.

So I live in a street, a city and a country full of irresponsible cat owners. I've only ever met and looked after 1 'indoor' cat - and he was the most irritating, unpleasant, depressed and unaffectionate cat I have ever known.

I think it might me a case of different attitudes across the Atlantic. Bristol is hardly New York or Washington. I have always let my cats outside. To me, it seems cruel to keep any uncaged animal indoors - especially when it's half-ferral. Nimo really doesn't like being alone, and follows me wherever I go. We've become quite an attraction at my local supermarket, where the shop security guard looks after him outside whilst I do my shopping.

If I were to lock him inside all the time, I may as well take him back to Cats Protection and and back in the cage that I rescued him from.


February 18th, 2008, 05:28 PM
I know you're torn between freedom for your cat and being safe and non stinky. Just keep in mind that there are some not so nice people that do not so nice things to cats.

Imagine if your cat was wondering on a property of someone not as kind as yours and say the tom cats who were spraying were also doing so...and the not so nice person set a trap for your cat, carted him off somewhere or even worse. EEK It would worry me greatly.

You may want to contact some local rescues/shelters to see if they have low cost neutering and get the toms trapped and neutered so they don't spray anymore.

I've just rescued a very sick tomcat myself. Outdoor life isn't very friendly. Oh and if your cat is neutered the others that are not neutered will be fighting with your cat and he'll be in quite the state. Then you may be looking at some expensive vet bills with bite and scratch injuries.

If it were me I'd let your cat out while you're awake for a little while, then bring him in before you go to bed :thumbs up You can train him to come back for his last late night meal at a certain time then just maybe block the door off? So when you go to sleep you feel safe with him being inside and don't have to worry about any other cats coming in your house.

I don't know if you have skunks but hahahaha if that were here I'd worry about the skunk smell.
Welcome to the board by the way.

February 18th, 2008, 05:36 PM
I agree cats love to roam free and would prefer it. No argument there, but you have to do what is best for your kitty and yourself. Over here, in Canada it is much too cold to have cat flaps, the artic wind would blow right threw the house lol. You can't control your irresponsible neighbours that don't get their cats neutered, but you can control yours.

You asked for a resolution we gave it, get rid of the cat flap. I know your kitty will hate it at first but some ear plugs and a Tylenol Night Time will help you get your sleep should your kitty decide to insist upon going outside at night, and we all know how persistant cats will be:frustrated:.

Good luck.

February 18th, 2008, 05:39 PM
I should have added, that cats do like to go outside and I agree with that, but supervised, so they will be safe and get some stimulation too:thumbs up.

February 18th, 2008, 05:41 PM
Maybe cats in the UK have a safer environment to roam in than North America. Maybe there is less traffic in the UK?:shrug:I don't know but if you feel that it's safe enough for your cat to roam outside, then okay. Even though you've met 1 indoor cat, that one doesn't portray all of the other indoor cats. Many indoor cats are content inside, but that might just be North America.

Our streets have many cars(even sidestreets) where kitties can crawl under and they get terrified of traffic and usually run away. We want to keep our cats confined for the sake of the cat's health. There are many articles regarding why cats should be an indoor pet but I think they're mostly NA based. Oh, and I like Luba's suggestion.

(I'm using North America because you mentioned the US and I'm in Canada and I don't travel so I wouldn't know what it's like around the world:D)

And we don't want to spend money on injuries that could've been prevented:laughing:

February 18th, 2008, 06:09 PM
Yes the idiots drive horribly fast in my neighbourhood. I've had to do the disgustingly sad task of taking a shovel to the road to pick up cats who've been hit along with other animals. It's never a nice thing.

Some cats are more street wise that way then others. I've actually seen them look both ways, and wait for traffic to pass.

I know of some people who set out rat poison for rodents and if a cat were to get in that uh oh!

LOL at the arctic wind blowing through the house!!

February 18th, 2008, 06:39 PM
:offtopic:Well, let's just open up a big can of worms. I have two cats, live in the burbs and crime of all crimes allow my two cats to go outside. Do I consider myself irresponsible, nope, they are altered, chipped, vaccinated, wormed, well fed and loved. They both survived quite well on the street before they came to us. One, goes out for the property stroll as I call it. The other goes for the neighbourhood door to door visit, 3 neighbours, all cat lovers who call her over whenever they see her so they can give her a couple of rubs. Can something happen to them, yes it can but it can happen just as easily in the house by leaving a piece of string lying around that they can choke on or get wrapped in their intestines. They could leap, land the wrong way and break something. I equate not letting my cats out similar to saying to my two daughters, sorry, you can't play outside because you might get west nile virus and die. Sounds extreme but that's my view on it.The whatifs aren't worth it IMHO:offtopic:

For the OP, really the only way to eliminate the problem is get rid of the cat door or round the offending cats up and drop them at the pound. Otherwise, they will most likely just keep visiting.

February 18th, 2008, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the continuing suggestions (and apologies for my min-rant a few posts back) but I consider myself a very caring cat owner, and Nimo is far more than just a cat to me - he's a good friend.

When I first got him (at 6 months) I was told he had had no human contact (apart from a hand shoving left-overs under a door) and because of this and his half-feral nature, it could be months before he showed me affection, and that I should keep him in for 6 weeks.

After literally jumping into my arms at the Cat Rescue place, and being in my flat with me for 5 minutes, he was on my lap licking my face. The next day, he was scratching at the front door. I put up with it for a day or two, then went out with him - and all has been fine ever since (until the spraying toms...)

He follows me when I go out, waits at the end of the road until I come back, then escorts me home - with a smile on both our faces. When I go stay with friends/family, he always comes, and goes out to do his business straight away, and then he's back. So long as I am there, he knows he's safe, and has never got lost or caused me any worry.

He is a star.

P.S. Tonight, I've positioned and secured my cat box over the cat-flap, with the flap set to let in, not let out (with a sprinkling of catnip - these cats have stolen over 10 of Nimo's catnip toys so far...) One of them has already tried to come in 3 times tonight already... Maybe next time he won't be so lucky - we shall see... (and he'll be straight off to the RSPCA in the morning!)

P.P.S. Nimo has yet to have a fight - he usually rushes out to try and break up any feline ferocity if it occurs. He's so well natured - never gone for another cat, unless it's for a cat-chat and some fun and games.

February 18th, 2008, 07:06 PM
Can you can post a picture of him so we can see how lovely he is?:D

February 18th, 2008, 07:15 PM
I wish I could, was planning to, but I lost all pics of him in a HD crash, and have no digicam. Might be able to get them back from friends I sent them too. I'll keep you posted.

February 18th, 2008, 07:17 PM
and he'll be straight off to the RSPCA in the morning

I hope they don't euthanize.... you can maybe check for microchip or other identification then call a local cat 'rescue' if you need help.

Good luck and that's real funny with the catnip theft... maybe Nimo is just hiding them on you LOL:laughing:

February 18th, 2008, 08:17 PM

...I had just got into bed - and the trap was sprung! One cat caught - and he got really mad! I let him out (2am - not a good time for a visit to the RSPCA) and locked the catflap for now (need a reasonably undisturbed sleep tonight). But the trap will be sprung again in the morning... can't wait!

Thanks for all you guys and gals and your suggestions. This situation has been really getting me down - waking up every morning to an even stronger stink of cat spray - no more! Off to the RSPCA tomorrow, methinks!

:thumbs up

February 18th, 2008, 08:27 PM
Think about calling a 'rescue' for some advise in the morning.
Block the door and get some sleep.

Amy P
February 18th, 2008, 09:02 PM
I don't know if this will help but we had a few "wanderers" spray our back door every night!! So in the morning when we opened the door :yuck: !!!
I found this spray made by OUT! Cat and dog repellent. We sprayed the porch and door where they were spraying and they didn't come back. I'm not sure if it will deter your own cat from coming only lasts about 24 hours (I think) I haven't used it in a while. It might help to spray the door...however you might need to open and close the door for your cat for a while. Just a thought. (it also works if the neighbors dog is scratching at your door :D)

February 19th, 2008, 04:15 PM

Just to point out that it is quite possible to house cats outdoors in Canada. In fact, we are famous for it, thanks to the CAT MAN of Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, our nations capital.