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My neighbour’s cat comes to relieve itself in my garden: how do I stop it?

Whether you like cats or not, it is never pleasant to find the scent trails or droppings of an unknown feline in your garden. The latter, in addition to having an unpleasant smell, harm your personal environment, and can even present a health risk. This file takes stock of this particular situation, and gives you the different solutions available to you to prevent the neighbor’s cat from confusing your exterior with its litter box.

Why is the neighbor’s cat coming to my garden?

Before trying to prevent a foreign cat from coming into your garden, you still need to understand the reasons that lead it to behave in this way. These little felines are certainly territorial animals, but that does not exempt them from constantly wanting to push the limits and explore more of the outside world. Your official property boundary doesn’t actually mean much to your neighbor’s cat, who just sees it as another opportunity toexpand your hunting ground. This is especially true if your garden is home to wild animals, such as birds, insects or small rodents, which will delight a tomcat in search of prey. Moreover, a cat that enters your garden uses urine marking to signify to his congeners that this space belongs to him, both for hunting and for reproduction. Many of these cases of unwanted intrusion concern unsterilized cats. Once the feline and its owner have been clearly identified, don’t hesitate to ask your neighbour. Sterilization, in addition to limiting the risk of occurrence of certain conditions, thus makes it possible to reduce wandering and territorial marking in the cat, which will then stay much more willingly in your neighbour’s home or garden. Finally, if you own a feline yourself, it is possible that your neighbor’s cat enters your home with the prospect of challenge him.

What are the problems caused by a cat relieving itself in my garden?

In addition to their downright foul odors, cat droppings can introduce parasites or diseases harmful to you or those around you, such as toxoplasmosis. The latter is particularly dangerous for pregnant women or immunocompromised people. Urinating on plants or seedlings in the vegetable garden further harms their growth, as well as the cleanliness and aesthetics of your garden. Dung is also not useful for fertilizing crops or planters. If you discover feline faeces on your property, we advise you to pick them up and cover the affected area with soil. You can then spray it with a natural repellent (which you will find the list below); however, avoid the use of ammonia or bleach. This gesture will thus make it possible to temporarily erase the smell, but also to neutralize the pheromones deposited by the cat. If he returns to your home later, he won’t be able to feel his marks as clearly and may leave on his own, looking for a more familiar place.

Is this considered an abnormal neighborhood disturbance?

Abnormal neighborhood disturbance is defined on the Public Service website as “a nuisance that goes beyond the normal inconveniences of the neighborhood”. He must be repeated and regular to be recognized as such. In other words, the odors given off by the urine or excrement of your neighbor’s cat relieving itself in your garden, as well as the dirtiness and unsanitary conditions that these cause, may be concerned. The loud and frequent meows which often accompany the passage of the cat also come under the abnormal neighborhood disorder.

How do I naturally keep cats away from my garden?

If you want to repel your neighbor’s cat from your private space, there are many solutions available to you. We therefore recommend that you start with the most basic option: the use of a natural repellent. These come in a wide variety of forms. So you can plant certain plants whose smell is unbearable for many felines: geranium, lavender, lemongrass, thyme, sage, rosemary, eucalyptus or basil are for example known to exert a repellent effect. The herbaceous perennial plant Coleus canina is also famous for its nickname “anti-cat plant”. In the same way, other particular scents strongly disturb the sense of smell of felines. It is possible to have the citrus extracts (peels, peels or whole fruits) on your flowerbeds, or to rub these on the walls, the fences of your garden or the pots of the plants. This tip also works with pepper, vinegar or with coffee grounds, which create an uncomfortable and difficult to bear aroma for the tomcats. Keep in mind, however, that these recommendations will not necessarily work for all felines, as some have developed a resistance or increased tolerance to these odors. However, they remain safe, including for the inhabitants of your household.

We recommend that you test these different solutions one after the other, to determine if one of them will be more effective. Moreover, this method has a major drawback: it must be renewed regularly to maintain the intensity of the smell, which disappears quickly, and even more so in the event of heavy rain.

Arrange your garden to repel the neighbour’s cat

In order to gently counter any intrusion in your exterior, you can also try to apply some minor changes in this space. First of all, it is possible to slightly modify the texture of the ground, by adding solid chips, rock or a geotextile. Cats that scratch and dig to bury their excrement favor dry, soft places with a smooth surface for the comfort of their paws. Of the aluminum sheets left loose at strategic locations will also contribute to ground instability, when the fact to water your garden in the evening will allow the maintenance of a humid environment, unwelcoming for nocturnal intrusion. Having several water bowls in the garden can also help repel a strange cat, which normally hates to relieve itself near its food or drink sources. Also don’t forget to carefully cover the sandboxes children with a tarp or a cover, which looks too much like a giant litter for passing felines. In addition, place wire netting on your seedlings to protect them physically. Finally, it is advisable not to leave garbage bags freely accessible and to keep them in a closed container.

What are the legal remedies against my neighbor and his cat?

If all the solutions mentioned above did not work, it may be necessary to move on to the next step. However, we recommend amicable discussion before taking any legal action. A calm and collected conversation with your neighbor will surely allow you to think together about the various possible options, in particular the fact of the owner of the animal helping you to prevent this one from entering your home. The latter may also not be aware of the actions of his cat, or the extent of the disturbances that it causes in your personal space. The objective here will therefore be to find common ground with him. If the informal discussion does not work, then you must call a justice conciliator : this compulsory and free process will offer you a second round of amicable discussion, but this time with a mediator. In the event of a failure, the legal route will then be open to you. Here it will beprovide proof of abnormal neighborhood disturbance caused by the presence of your neighbor’s cat in the garden: photos, videos, witness statements in the neighborhood, or bailiff’s report. This could bring you before the local court, which is the competent legal entity for this type of situation.

In the same way, if your neighbor’s cat causes damage in your garden or in your vegetable patch because of its droppings, it is a material damage. The person responsible for this damage caused by a pet remains its owner, and you can turn against it to obtain compensation under your civil liability guarantee. Be careful however: you must imperatively provide proof of your statements before any possible compensation.

The techniques to forget to repel the neighbour’s cat

Finally, certain methods should be avoided to prevent a feline from coming and going in your garden to relieve itself there. This is particularly the case of cat poisons, which can not only cause poisoning or death of the animal, but potentially also those of your own companions or children who play outside, and are not aware of the danger. You should also know that the poisonous spray repellents pose the same risks to garden regulars, including plants. Finally, we do not advise you to try to scare the cat by banging on pots or throwing water on it: this is cruel and unnecessary acts, which are unlikely to have any long-term effects. Violence is never a good solution. The animal abuse is severely punished in France: any act of cruelty is punishable by 3 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros. When the facts result in the death of the animal, the penalties are increased to 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros.



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