Urban Cats

Feral and free roaming cats make their homes where they find shelter and food. We understand that not everyone enjoys having cats in their yard or under their porch. Together with catch and release and ongoing care, these quick steps can help you coexist with neighbourhood cats and divert them from certain areas.

Please contact us if you suspect there are free roaming cats in your area in need of spay or neuter services.

Deterring Cats from Your Yard and Garden

  • Scatter orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented fragrances. Coffee grounds as well as oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella or eucalyptus also deter cats. Use an aromatic spray product, such as dog and cat repellent.
  • Plant the herb rue to repel cats or sprinkle dried rue over the garden. Instal an ultrasonic animal repellent or a motion-activated water sprinkler.
  • Use plastic carpet runners spike-side up, covered lightly in soil. They can be found at local hardware or office supply stores. Or, set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with the sharp edges rolled under. Try embedding wooden chopsticks, pinecones or sticks with dull points eight inches apart set deep into the soil with tops exposed.
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large, attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging. Establish a litter box by tilling the soil or placing sand in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard. Keep it clean and free of deposits. Feral and free roaming cats are part of the city’s landscape.

Handling Conflicts with Neighbours

While most people support the concept of humanely caring for feral cats, conflicts can arise. One of the best ways to prevent them is to ensure that cats are spayed or neutered and feeding areas are clean and inconspicuous.

Here are the most common reasons people complain about feral cats and some ideas for addressing their concerns.

  • Wild animals. Feed cats during the day and pick up any leftover food once the cats have eaten.
  • Too many kittens. Spaying and neutering the cats in a colony is the best way to manage this. In some cases, feral kittens can be socialized and adopted if captured at a young age.
  • Cats use the yard as a litter box. Caregivers can place litter boxes in their yards and offer to periodically clean a neighbour's yard.
  • Spraying, fighting and howling.

Neutering quickly reduces or eliminates these behaviours.

Tips to Avoid Issues

  • Never leave food out overnight as this can attract unwanted wildlife.
  • Provide litter box areas. To keep cats from using neighbourhood gardens as litter boxes, build one or more litter boxes or place sand or peat moss in areas for the cats to use as litter. Do not use conventional litter, as it will be ruined in wet weather.


The City of Penticton, Critteraid, the Humane Society and Alley Cats Alliance are committed to helping with spay and neuter services to assist in reducing unwanted cat populations. If you wish to learn more, please contact our office at 250-492-3801.

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