What To Do With A Stray Cat That Won’t Leave

Stray cats have it rough in the streets. They have to look for food and shelter just to stay alive. So if a stray kitty pops at your doorstep and refuses to leave, you’ll probably be confused about what to do. Knowing what to do with a stray cat that won’t leave isn’t really difficult. Just give them food, water, and a safe space where they can rest. But if the kitty still won’t leave after that, below are some of the things you can do.

Take note that stray cats already have it rough in the wild. While they can be annoying at times, you should understand their situation.

what to do with a stray cat that won’t leave

What To Do With A Stray Cat That Won’t Leave?

Regardless of whether you’re a cat person or not, never use violence to drive away a stray cat. Always remember that there’s a reason why this kitty is at your property. They want something that only you can provide. Also, the fact that a stray cat chooses to get near you is something else.

Once you feed a stray cat, expect that it will keep coming back to your place. You’ve established the fact that you’re a food source so strays will seek you to survive. 

If this is the case, you can do any of the following:

what to do with a stray cat

1. Take care of its basic needs

While you’re thinking of the best thing to do, feed the stray cat first. Give it some clean water, too. Others will go against this idea since it encourages the stray cat to stay. But as a conscientious cat owner, I just can’t leave a cat hungry and cold.

Take note that some strays won’t leave until they get what they want. Worse, they may try to sneak into your house to steal some food. Before that happens, I suggest feeding the cat peacefully.

2. Consider adopting the cat as an outdoor pet

If the stray cat is affectionate and gentle, you can consider adopting it as an outdoor pet. It’s up to you whether you’d want to formally adopt and register the kitty or just consider it as an unofficial pet. 

However, the challenge here is if you’re just renting the property. You’d have to ask your landlord about this first. Most of the time, landlords will require you to register the pet and provide a pet deposit on top of your initial payments.

3. Take the cat to a local shelter

If you can’t adopt the cat, the next best thing to do is to take it to a local shelter. There, the stray cat will be fed and taken care of properly. Also, the kitty won’t have to wander the streets to find a place to stay.

However, you should check if the cat is nursing a litter. If the kitty’s nipples are swollen and have signs of latching, you shouldn’t take it anywhere. Consider following its tracks until you find its litter. That’s the only point you’ll take the cat to a shelter together with its kittens.

4. Take the cat to the vet

If you don’t mind spending a small amount, you can take the stray cat to the vet. This is so you can get the kitty scanned for a microchip. Many strays are lost pets that can be easily reunited with their owners with just a simple microchip scan.

If the cat doesn’t have a microchip, the vet can recommend a shelter where you can take it. You’re also free to adopt the kitty if you want. However, make sure that you get the cat checked by the vet first to rule out health problems. You also need to pay for vaccinations before taking the cat home.

5. Offer it a home away from your property

Another thing you can do is divert the stray cat into a spot away from your home. You can do this by bringing food to this spot and making it safe for the kitty to sleep on. Some neighborhoods dedicate a spot for stray cats so they’ll have safe space to feed, sleep, and live.

Things you should never do to a stray cat

While stray cats don’t have owners or a proper home, they are still animals with feelings. Never treat them like trash. The following are just some of the no-nos when dealing with a stray:

Things you should never do to a stray cat

  • Adopting then releasing them. If you decide to adopt a stray cat, never release them back into the wild if you don’t want them anymore. This is brutal and will stress the kitty so much. If you can’t raise the cat anymore, bring it to a respectable shelter instead. 
  • Chasing the cat away. Kicking and throwing something into the cat is a violent way of treating a stray. This is unethical and you may end up being in trouble with the law. If you want to get rid of a stray, call a local shelter or rescue so they can collect the cat properly.
  • Poisoning the cat. This is probably one of the most brutal ways of getting rid of a stray cat that won’t leave. If you don’t want the cat on your property, you should take it to a local shelter. Never poison the animals because it’s outright illegal and heartless.

How to get a stray cat to leave?

If you’re not keen on caring for a stray cat, you can utilize safe but effective ways to send them away from your yard. The following are some of the best options:

How to get a stray cat to leave

  • Using an ultrasonic repellent. This is a device that produces an ultrasonic sound that cats and other animals find disorienting. Still, it will not cause any serious harm to them. However, this might be tricky if you have pets at home.
  • Use their sense of smell. There are scents that cats hate, which you can use to repel them away from your yard. Some of them are citrus, mint, pine, and spice. Just use a small amount so you won’t irritate the stray cat too much.
  • Remove attractants. Stray cats gravitate toward your property because of some items that they find appealing. It could be your birdbath, your cat in heat, or unsealed trash bins. Make sure that you fix all of these to reduce the likelihood of a stray cat trespassing on your property.
  • Scare the kitty. There are many non-violent scare tactics that you can use against stray cats. A motion-activated sprinkler is effective and it also works for other stray animals. A bell on the fence will also work if the stray cat keeps jumping into your property.

Will a stray cat starve if I stop feeding it?

will a stray cat starve if i stop feeding it

Usually, no. Stray cats are experts in hunting for food so they will surely find another way to quell their hunger. They can catch mice or other rodents for food.

However, it’s best to call a shelter or rescue organization if you can’t feed the cats anymore. This way, the kitties will not suffer back in the wild.

Also, a stray cat that’s used to being fed by humans will suffer from stress if you stop feeding them. This will put them in conflict with other felines and humans.

What is the difference between a feral cat and a stray cat?

I always get asked about the difference between a feral and a stray cat and the answer is pretty simple. Stray cats are felines that are well socialized. They don’t mind mingling with humans and will often visit houses to beg for food. Many times, stray cats are abandoned or lost.

Meanwhile, feral cats have very limited contact with humans. They are often aggressive, standoffish, and born in the wild. It’s possible that a feral cat was previously socialized and only reverted back to its wild state. It’s best to call your local animal control center to deal with the feral cat.

Both stray and feral cats should be dealt with caution. While these kitties aren’t typical sources of diseases, you just can’t take chances. It’s always best to get them checked at the vet’s clinic before adopting them.

Can I take a stray cat to PetSmart?

If your intention is for the stray cat to be taken in by PetSmart, then no. PetSmart isn’t a shelter or rescue organization, although they organize adoption events. If you try to bring a stray cat to them, you’ll likely get turned down and referred to a local shelter instead.

However, you can take a stray cat to a PetSmart with a Bansfield clinic inside to get scanned for a microchip. Most of the time, PetSmart does this free of charge. This way, you can contact the owners if the stray cat turns out to be lost.


Knowing what to do with a stray cat that won’t leave will save you and the kitty from the hassle. Bringing the feline to a shelter is the best decision so it won’t suffer in the wild anymore. You can also consider adopting the cat but make sure that you’re ready to commit.

A visit to the vet will be helpful because scanning may reveal that the cat was once a pet and got lost. You can reunite a lost pet with its owner, this is one of the kindest things to do.

Or simply you can leave it freely after giving some water and food. You can use deterrent sounds and smells to keep the cat away. Whatever you choose to do, never resort to violence because it’s illegal and inhumane.

Written By