Sorry cat lovers, you're gonna hate me for this one.

I don't mind cats (or dogs, birds, etc.) but I very specifically don't want a pet in my household. Yet I have a problem that I'm unsure of how to deal with in a reasonable way. This is all in Denmark, so US laws and customs may not apply.

This year, a cat has been pooping in our garden and ripping out grass, or whatever else was around the scene of the crime, to cover it up. I obviously don't want this to continue as I would like my garden not to be ripped apart, and my two small daughters would also prefer it not to be contaminated by feces. It also has been leaving little vomitting residues around our cars in the drive way, which are quite disgusting too.

But how do I stop the cat? I have tried planting supposedly cat-repelling plants whose smells were supposed to discourage cats from coming near, but they didn't work. I have also tried putting down metal webbing in the flower beds (because I heard that they don't like to step on such things and/or can't dig in it), and while that worked, I can't extend that practice across my entire lawn.

Local law says that it's the responsibility of the pet owner to make sure that one's pet does not annoy others. This means I should go talk to the owner of said cat and ask them to keep the cat out of my garden. To which I would object:

(a) I am convinced that no cat owner would agree to confining their cat because it roams in places that other people don't want it to;

(b) I don't even know whose cat this is! I have caught a glimpse of one cat, and followed it to the garden of a neighbour who has a cat door in their front door -- I am aware that this says absolutely zero about whether it's their cat or not. I have obviously not been able to read the chip or tattooed number in the cat's ear either.

I am considering ways of capturing this cat, so that I can either have a proper talk with it, or drive it to a shelter. How would I do that without breaking too many rules and laws?

Edit, as more info about (my relationship with) the homeowners’ association was requested. We are 37 households, and only we and 2 others have (small) kids -- the rest are pensioners. We are talking with only two other households; there is not a lot of communal spirit here -- the first homeowners’ association meeting I attended, about a week after we moved in, made it clear to me (in ways I shall not go into here) just how hostile, ludicrously infantile, and petty these people are (even towards each other, not just "newcomers"). Later, I requested that the run-down communal play area receive a bit of maintenance, only to be shot down rather rudely. I am decidedly not in good standing in their minds, and that is why I cannot think they would be very inclined to help me avoid their cats' poop in my garden.

Update I did not want anything water-driven, as just tonight the temperatures went to 6 degrees below freezing. But I've now installed a pair of these ultrasonic cat repellers, hoping they would work. There's a number of such devices, and common for them all is at least 40% one-star reviews and a minority of 5-star reviews; these ones are one of the few models with the "best" (which does not imply good) reviews.

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    Is a shelter appropriate for "owned" cats?
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 19:21
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    It is appropriate for any animal that uncontrolled. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 19:22
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    i think it is best to try other options before you try to capture the cat or cats,i do understand that cats can be a pest for some people but there is options to keep cats out of your area and not causing any harm to them. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 20:27
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    @trondhansen please tell me about these options! I have tried plants and webbing, but putting up walls or fences is (for several non-negotiable reasons) not an option.
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 20:52
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    The degree of puking you describe is really not normal for a cat. If you do find the owner, letting them know the cat is obviously unwell might itself be a solution to the puke at least, since they (hopefully) would seek medical care for their pet.
    – Meg
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


You say you're "convinced that no cat owner would agree to confining their cat," and so you won't even entertain talking to your neighbors. You should talk to them. Consider that in many places, indoor-only cats are already extremely common (and tend to be healthier and longer lived than their indoor-outdoor counterparts), and are becoming moreso. Perhaps, instead of assuming the worst about your neighbors and stealing their pet, you could instead try looking at the benefits of indoor-only cats and approaching them with information on how to protect their pet.

If your neighbors are not convinced to keep their cat indoors, your best bet would be to look into animal-proof fencing that will discourage the cat from entering your yard. Keep in mind that, whatever you choose, it will need to be tall enough to prevent the cat from clearing it with one jump, and that you'll need to avoid storing anything near it (waste bins, etc) that could allow the cat a "boost" to jump over the fence.

Capturing the cat won't help you in the long run. Abandoning it somewhere is inappropriate and possibly illegal, and taking it to a shelter will get it returned to its owner if it has any kind of ID. Furthermore, if any of your neighbors see you capturing the cat and hauling it away, you can expect any cat-loving or cat-owning neighbors will not be particularly amenable to any requests coming from the "cat hating pet thief," regardless of whether those future requests have anything to do with their pets or not.

You've already given yourself your own answer in your question: "This means I should go talk to the owner of said cat and ask them to keep the cat out of my garden." As mentioned in my first paragraph, do some research, and approach your neighbors in a friendly manner. Think about how you would want to be approached if, say, your child was digging up your neighbor's garden--you'd want your neighbor to be polite and friendly when asking you to control your child, and similarly they will be far more receptive if you are polite and friendly while asking them to control their cat. If you are concerned that your own feelings may lead you to come across as hostile toward them, practice the conversation or request that your spouse or another family member who is less upset about the situation have the conversation. If you just aren't sure how to approach them, the Interpersonal Skills stack could be a very good resource.

  • How do I learn who the owner is, without getting hold of the cat?
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 20:34
  • @KlaymenDK how is getting hold of the cat going to help you learn who the owner is? Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 21:38
  • Some cats have name tags. Also, all cats (in Denmark) are supposed to have a number tattooed into their ear, that you can use to identify the cat and its owner. I can't read the tag if all I see is a pile of crap though.
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 21:47
  • @KlaymenDK You already said in your question that you followed it to a house with a cat door. Take a photo of the cat, then start with that neighbor, and politely ask them if it's their cat. If it's not, ask if they know which neighbor it belongs to. Again, this all starts with talking to your neighbors.
    – Allison C
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 16:00

One of your options is to use a motion detector connected to one or more water spray devices, but this only works when there is no frost.

I guess this is mainly a problem in summer for you and your family. If you google cat repellent, you will get a lot of tips.

Here is a link to some options. There are a lot of possibilities to find a solution to your problem on the net.

Edit: here is a test of seven water sprinklers. I have not tried any of them I have no connection to any of the suppliers in this video.

Link two: Scarecrow test and review.

Sorry for the short answer, but hope it helps.

  • This was a problem today. The techie in me would love to tinker with motion detection and such, but I really don't want to expend the time or money on this nuisance.
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 20:35
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    @KlaymenDK These water sprinklers with motion detection work great. You don't even have to cover your entire garden, just where the cat usually walks through. You teach the cat that stepping onto your lawn yields a very bad (and wet) surprise. If you manage to install it before the frost sets in, your garden may be cat-free when spring comes.
    – Elmy
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 21:21
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    I would talk with owner. As you say it is their responsibility. It is possible the cat is ill, all the puking. The owner is responsible as you are for relaying the information. It’s ultimate good citizenship for us to communicate with each other.
    – M.Mat
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 19:36

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