In an answer to another question, it was mentioned that Germany has a law forbidding people from keeping their neighbor's cats from entering their yard.

Assuming that's true, are there any similar laws in the US that would restrict me from taking measures against having cats wandering about my yard?

If it matters, my concern would be that there are could be plants that are poisonous to cats in my yard, and if I don't take measures to keep them away, then they might eat some and die.

  • Of course, it not being illegal will not prevent your neighbor from bringing a civil suit against you. Don't do anything stupid; know whether what you're planting is likely to cause this outcome, and if it might, don't.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 1:19
  • 1
    I think you're referring to ony of my answers. Just let me elaborate a bit more: It's perfectly fine to use repellants and such, but you're (obviously) not allowed to use poison against cats and you can't call the police to force your neighbour to contain their cats or keep them away from your ground. Sorry in case my answer has been ambiguous.
    – Mario
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


Given that cat repellent products such as this (not a recommendation, just knew they existed and this is the first one I found to link to) are available in the US and marketed as such, one must conclude that they are legal to sell for this use. Same goes for other types of products such as sprays. Note that you will not find an air rifle marketed as a cat repellent (on any remotely reputable site).

Even American animal welfare charities offer advice on how to achieve this, and again one would assume that they have checked out the advice they are offering is both legal and in the animals' best interests.

The Animal Legal Defence Fund offers what looks like a detailed description of animal protection laws and how they vary by state. I don't think it is feasible to summarise into this answer, but for instance (and of course, I Am Not A Lawyer, etc), it seems that in New York if you knowingly used something poisonous to cats, you would be

... guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.

(Not likely, given your aim is to keep that cats away from something poisonous to them).


If the measures are passive and don't harm the cat, then no, there are no laws. Using deadly force to harm or kill cats remains a crime, even if it is on your property. It is cruelty to animals.

  • 1
    The OP did say they were trying to keep the cat from getting at poisonous plants in the yard, so presumably the whole issue is to prevent injury to the cat.
    – LG1
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 22:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.