Dealing with "Problem Cats"

There is no law in the unincorporated County against cats being outside and we cannot respond to calls about loose cats. 

In most areas of Sacramento County, you may only have four (4) cats. If there is a home with a large number of cats, report to 916-368-7387.  

Before reporting, attempt to solve the problem amicably with your neighbor. Inform them of your concerns, and give them an opportunity to solve the problem, such as keeping the cat indoors.

*If there are feral cats in your neighborhood, learn more about what you can do.  

If the problem continues, here are some deterrent tips: 

  • Scatter orange or lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented spray around the area; cats generally dislike citrus.
  • Mix water and vinegar and spray at the base of trees and plants around the house.
  • Spray cat repellent (available at pet supply stores) around the edges of the yard,  top of fences and on any favorite digging areas or plants
  • Scatter pipe tobacco or coffee grounds in the area – cats dislike the smell.  Do NOT use cocoa bean shells; they can be poisonous to dogs and cats.
  • Try growing rue or scattering dry rue (an herb)- cats dislike the smell.
  • Soak strips of old towels or rags in perfume or cologne and keep near target plants.
  • Keep garbage cans covered to control rodents that may be a food source for feral cats.
  • Cover your child's sandbox when it's not in use.
  • Push chopsticks or plant stakes into flowerbeds every 8 inches to discourage digging
  • Try an ultrasonic animal repellent that are available in lawn and garden stores
  • Use a motion-activated sprinkler so that a cat will be sprayed, but unharmed
  • Spray the cat with a hose or spray bottle every time you see it in your yard.
  • Build a rock garden in the area the cats use – make the surface uncomfortable for cats. 

If all else fails, confine the cat when it enters your property, supply proper food, water and shelter, and bring it to the applicable animal shelter in your area. (If needed, use a humane cat trap. See below for a few local resources).

Note - there is no charge for bringing a stray cat to the shelter. The cat will be held for the required holding period and if no one claims the cat, or no owner can be found, the cat will be evaluated for adoptability and made available for adoption if it's a friendly/social cat. ​If you feel you have an issue with feral cats in your neighborhood, please learn how to effectively deal with feral cat populations.

Local resources for humane cat traps: