8 Best Cat Repellents | March 2017
- can be staked or mounted
- 26-foot motion detection range
- some frequencies reach human ears
- sprayer is fully adjustable
- up to a 30-foot range
- lets out 5-second bursts
- bright led lights help scare pests
- charges by solar power
- hard plastic construction
- comes in a two-pack
- works up to 500 yards away
- ideal for protecting gardens
- key fob included
- multiple mounting options
- weatherproof sealing
A Brief History Of The Common Cat
Human beings began the process of domesticating dogs approximately 15,000 years ago. The animal that would come to be known broadly as canis lupus familiaris is the oldest known example of a creature intentionally domesticated by mankind. Horses were not domesticated for almost another 10,000 years, for reference.
Anyone who has ever owned or is otherwise intimately familiar with cats, on the other hand, will not be the least bit surprised to know that cats were never fully domesticated by humans. Rather, cats chose to domesticate themselves. Those who know cats well will tell you that ironic quotation marks around the word "domesticate" may be necessary when it comes to discussing this decidedly odd animal that we now call felis catus.
Cats descended from a member of the broader felis genus known as the African Wildcat, an animal that remains not only extant but has a Least Concern status in the conservation community. Ostensibly, domestic cats first appear in Egyptian arts and artifacts dating back some 4,000 years, though other archeological evidence points to potential domestic human-cat existence several thousand years before this in areas as divergent as Cyprus and China.
Cats came to be revered in many cultures, including Ancient Egypt, by many early Muslims, and even by many Norseman -- the goddess Freyja, namesake of the weekday Friday, was often depicted riding in a chariot drawn by cats. While domestic house cats remain wildly popular as pets and as cultural memes in the modern world, feral cats can cause myriad issues. Cats are excellent hunters, killing as many as three billion or more birds and as many as 20 billion mammals annually in the United States alone. These figures seem staggering until one realizes that there are an estimated 80 million feral cats prowling the alleys, forests, and suburbs of America.
Not only are stray and feral cats a threat to wildlife, but they can be both a nuisance and a hazard for humans as well, overturning trash cans and spreading garbage, making noise while yowling or fighting, spreading certain diseases and parasites, and even attacking people, with children at particular risk.
Fortunately, while humans may never be able to fully master and domesticate this unique creature, we do have many ways of deterring cats from entering our property by using cat repellents.
The Olfactory Approach To Cat Repelling
There are two primary types of scent-based cat repellent formulas, and they can be broadly referred to as the pepper approach, or the citrus approach.
Many cat repellents use ingredients derived from black and red peppers, especially the powerful natural compound capsaicin, which is found on some of the hottest chili peppers. While enjoyable (for some humans) in foods in smaller amounts, capsaicin is a powerful irritant in higher doses such as those found in repellents, and can bother both the nasal passages and mouths of animals that come into contact with it so acutely that they will not only flee, but will potentiality never return to the source of their discomfort.
These repellents are usually found in pellet or granular form, perfect for creating a barrier line around your yard, garden, or other areas of your property. (These repellents are also effective for other animals, like skunks and raccoons.)
Citrus based cat repellents are usually found in liquid form, and are perfect for mixing in with the soil of a flower bed or garden that unwanted cats are using as a litter box or where they stalk harmless prey. Citrus repellents are a good choice for use around humans -- especially children -- as they are not nearly as irritating as pepper-based formulas should they come into contact with a person.
The Technological Take On Cat Repellents
Aside from the "biological warfare" take on repelling stray and feral cats, many devices exist that are capable or scaring away feline pests though the use of sound, light, or both. These units feature infrared detectors that will trigger ultrasonic noise when an animal draws near. The sounds they emit are too high in frequency for a human to hear, yet are unbearable for an animal, and apt to send them scurrying from your property.
Add in the bright, flashing strobe light that most units feature and you will equip your property with a two-pronged approach to keeping cats away. Note that while at first blush you might think that the longer the detection range of a unit, the better, in fact a cat repellent with a range of only twenty five feet or so may be better than one that "watches" an area reaching out much farther. If your yard is small, there is no need to also be patrolling the neighbors yard, for example, especially if they have dogs or cats (or kids) that are allowed outside.
You might want to consider a unit with a strobe light that can be turned off at night, however. While it might seem ironic to switch a light off after darkness, a time when it might be most effective, you have to balance the two-pronged approach (sound and light, e.g.) to repelling cats against interfering with your own sleep and/or the comfort of your human neighbors. The light will still be effective during the dusk and into the evening, and you can simply switch it off before bedtime.
And, as with the scent-based repellents, note that these units also work well at keeping away other animals.