We have no powers to deal with stray or feral cats. This is due to their transitory nature (as compared to dogs which are normally confined to a property). Therefore they are unlikely to be classed as a statutory nuisance.

Cats are protected by law and it is an offence to harm them.

It is irresponsible and illegal to leave a cat without providing proper care. If you can no longer care for your cat, you should contact a local cat rescue centre and sign the cat over for adoption.

Many people mistake owned cats as stray cats. You should not feed a cat you do not know, it could already be owned and you may harm the animal by feeding it something that it is allergic or not used to.

Stray cats are usually feral or semi-feral, this means they are shy, nervous, and even aggressive towards people and will not want to be handled. If you are unsure if a cat is owned or stray, you can:

Log what steps you have taken to locate an owner. As long as you can prove that all reasonable steps have been taken to find an owner you can then decide whether you can provide a responsible home for the cat or sign it over to a rescue centre.

If you are aware of an injured stray cat you are advised to take the cat to a local vets where emergency treatment can be administered or call the RSPCA on 0300 1234999.

Cat faeces can be a nuisance to neighbours causing flies and smells. Cat owners should be considerate of their neighbours and have covered cat litter tray in their garden to encourage their cat to toilet in this rather than other people's gardens. These can be bought from pet stores or can be made out of washing up bowls and placed under a shelter.

Some ways to persuade cats away from your garden:

  • Cat repellent sprays. Cat repellents aren't designed to last much longer than a day or two without degrading and losing their potency
  • Pepper – you can make a simple animal repellent with black pepper and chilli pepper. It's best to grind your own because the smell will be much stronger. Spread the powder on annuals and perennials to keep cats away
  • Citrus – cats don't like citrus smells. Scatter some orange or lemon peels to create no-go zones. Citronella Oil is considered to be a good cat repellent
  • Ammonia – Dogs and cats absolutely detest the smell of ammonia. Buy some cloudy ammonia and dilute with 10 parts water. Spray around the garden and yard but always do a small test before applying to plants
  • Ultrasonic noise devices. Cats and other animals tend to get used to the "sounds" emitted by these devices and may eventually find their way back onto your property
  • Cat repellent plants like Coleus canina, known by most as "Scaredy Cat". The plant itself may be used as a barrier for gardens or other areas of your lawn, producing a foul smell that cats hate. You might want to try using wild roses and bramble bushes as natural barriers
  • The Cats Protection League has claimed that lion dung is the best safe method of keeping cats at bay. The droppings are called "Silent Roar", and can be bought at garden centres and pet shops

For more information regarding cats, please visit the Cats Protection League website.