Be an advocate for outdoor catsPublished 9:15am Saturday, November 10, 2012
Column: Dee Amberg, Guest Column
There are ways to keep outside cats off your property if you’re not a cat person. If you are seeing cats in your neighborhood, first ask your neighbors if these are their cats. If they are, you can ask your neighbor to please keep them in the house.
This is also a good time to ask if they are spayed or neutered. If not, this is a good time to educate your neighbor on the importance of spaying and neutering and also the benefits of keeping their cat indoors. If these cats are stray or feral here are some tips for keeping them away from your property:
• Keep your property picked up with no food sitting out and trash cans secured.
• Make sure bird feeding areas are clean.
• Leave no garage doors open, fix holes in sheds and outside storage areas so cats can’t seek shelter.
• Buy a car cover if cats are perching on top of your vehicle.
• In gardens, scatter orange and lemon peels or spray citrus-scented fragrances. Or try coffee grounds, pipe tobacco or citronella. These are all deterrents to cats.
• Spray products like dog and cat repellents also work well if applied liberally around the property.
• Try motion-activated sprinklers.
If you’d like to help outside cats make sure to feed them only during daylight hours. Provide them access to fresh water. You can also provide shelter by allowing them to sleep in a shed or outbuilding, or you can build an inexpensive feral cat house. Directions can be found on the Internet.
If you can afford to spay or neuter an outside cat, that’s one option. Or you can donate to the spay/neuter program at the local Humane Society.
The single most important thing you can do is to become a voice for these cats. Educate yourself and your family and friends. Stand up to cruelty and abuse. Promote and practice humane ways of dealing with outside cats. For more information visit www.alleycat.org.
Dee Amberg is the unsocialized stray cat initiative coordinator for the Humane Society of Freeborn County.