Can I Shoot Cats on My Property? (Get Rid of Them Legally)

Can I Shoot Cats on My Property

Cats are sneaky and mischievous creatures and can wreak havoc on your property. Sometimes shooting them can seem like the only option, but have you ever considered if this is legal? To avoid any dire consequences, let’s do some research first.

It is illegal to shoot cats or to harm them on purpose, even if it’s on your own property. This is considered animal abuse and can lead to jail time and a fine. To get rid of a cat legally, talk to your local animal control office for their suggestions or services. 

However, there are many other options to consider when trying to get rid of the cats that come into your yard. There are many humane ways to take care of a cat problem.

In this article, we will go over simple ways to either deter cats from your yard or send them to a shelter. 

Let’s get started!

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

There are many ways to get rid of cats that do not include shooting them. You don’t even have to call animal control. Instead, you can put up some deterrents around the parts of your yard that they like. 

Here are some deterrent products we recommend from

1. Homarden Cat Repellent Outdoor Mat: These blend in with the grass around your garden and flower beds. They contain sharp parts that keep the cats and dogs away from the barrier of the garden or flower bed while not harming them. 

2. Heyouou Ultrasonic Animal Repeller: This detects motion to turn on, and it is solar-powered. It is not harmful to animals. It uses high-pitched sounds and flashing lights to deter cats and other animals. 

3. Halfeary Cat Repellent Spray: This repellent is safe to use and is simply a smell cats don’t like, so they don’t go where you spray it. It keeps them away from anywhere you don’t want them.

Is it Legal to Shoot Cats?

Cats look cute and can melt our hearts, but they can cause a lot of damage and frustration.

In this section, we will go over if you can shoot a cat or kill it in any way, along with some other options to get rid of cats.

Can I Legally Shoot and Kill a Cat That’s on My Property?

You cannot shoot and kill a cat on your property or anywhere else, at least in the US. It is considered a crime for animal abuse. You can be sent to jail and have a heavy fine you must pay. 

Instead of shooting a cat, you can trap it and send it to the shelter. Or, you can put up deterrents that are very inexpensive, including sprays that have scents they don’t like.  

Can You Kill a Cat in Your Yard?

You cannot purposefully kill a cat in your front yard in any way. You also cannot harm them.  Both are considered animal cruelty, and you can be sent to jail and fined. You should call animal control instead.

If it is your neighbor’s cat that is causing the issues, talk to your neighbor. Tell them it is better to have a cat indoors to protect the birds and reduce the overpopulation of cats. 

If they do not want to bring their cat inside, you can spray vinegar infused with rosemary around where you don’t want the cats to roam or dig plants up.

Can You Shoot a Stray Cat with a BB Gun?

You cannot harm a cat in any way on purpose. This is considered animal abuse. If you kill or harm a cat, you can be sent to jail and/or fined. You might scare off a cat by shooting a gun up, but your neighbor might think you’re trying to shoot the cat.

If you want to stop cats from killing birds, simply put up a short rabbit fence around areas that birds like. This way, while the cat is coming over the fence, the birds will have time to fly away.

You can also spray a nontoxic deterrent of smell cats just don’t like

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Bear on Your Property

Is it Legal to Kill Feral Cats?

It is illegal to kill any cats at any time or harm them on purpose. You can face jail time and a fine for killing a cat. If the feral cat is causing issues, call animal control and ask what can be done about it. But if they are no help, contact your local government.

You can also trap a cat in a harm-free way and then take the cat to a shelter. If you do, make sure you check the trap every hour because you don’t want them trapped for too long.

Also, do not leave the trap out at night because you will attract possums, raccoons, and such. 


There are more laws now to protect animals from harm and to protect people’s pets. If you have an animal that keeps harming other animals and your plants, then read on. In this section, we will talk about the steps you can take to be rid of pesky animals in a legal and harmless way. 

Are Cats Protected By Law?

Cats are protected by the law. If anyone purposefully harms or kills a cat, it is considered animal cruelty. If you notice someone mistreating a cat, call the local authorities. If the cat has been hurt, take them to the vet immediately. 

If you can, take photos and videos of the offense. The courts will need evidence to prosecute.

At the moment, this might be difficult, but to stop the offense from happening multiple times, you will need evidence. 

What Happens if You Kill a Cat on Purpose?

If you kill or harm a cat on purpose, it is considered animal cruelty and is illegal in the US. You can face a fine and jail time. If you have an issue with a cat, call animal control or 911. They will remove a problem cat for you.

If it’s your neighbor’s cat that is causing the issues, you can still contact animal control but talk to your neighbor first if possible or let them know animal control has their cat afterward. 

If there are no severe issues from the cat that need immediate attention, you can use some deterrents to keep them away. 

Is It Illegal to Kill Feral Cats?

It is illegal to kill a cat, even a feral one. You will need to call animal control to take care of a cat for you or ask them for advice on the best way to trap it and send it to the shelter. You can also simply deter the cats from your yard by spraying vinegar.

You can also buy cat deterrent spray that will keep them away from your flower beds.

If you are having an issue with cats killing birds in your yard, put up a small fence so the birds have a better chance to fly away before the cat can get to them. 

Can You Go to Jail for Killing a Cat?

You can go to jail for killing a cat. You can also be fined for doing so. In addition, it is illegal to purposely harm a cat in any way. Harming or killing a cat is considered animal abuse. Call your local animal control office instead. 

If it is your neighbor that has the cats, and if they have a lot of cats, you can report them.

In many of those cases, the cat owner cannot take care of all the cats, and the cats can become a health concern to the people living nearby and to the cats. 

Can I Legally Trap Cats on My Property?

In most cases, you can trap cats on your own property, but you should check with animal control or your city or county officials. They might come to get the cat themselves. If the cat is your neighbor’s, let them know if you need to take it to a shelter. 

Also, if the cat is your neighbor’s, try talking to your neighbor first about how it is better to keep cats indoors and how the cat is killing birds or causing damage to your plants. 

Additionally, if you do end up needing to trap the cat, be careful not to get scratched. You can place a sheet around the cage to protect yourself.

Also, don’t leave the trap out at night because you might trap other animals like skunks and raccoons. 

You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Has Too Many Cats


No matter what, you cannot kill a cat unless you are a certified vet or animal control. However, you can hunt and trap a cat as long as you do not hurt them.

In this section, we will go over safe and humane ways to hunt and trap cats. 

Can Feral Cats Be Hunted?

Any cat can be hunted and trapped but never hurt or killed. If you leave a trap out, check it every hour, so if a cat gets trapped, they are not trapped for a long time without help. Additionally, if you trap the cat, you can’t keep it contained for very long.

Use a humane trapping cage and use heavy-duty gloves to take the cat to the shelter after catching one. The cat is sure to be scared and will bite and scratch you if they are able.

You can also call animal control to pick up the cat as well. 

How Do You Get Rid of Nuisance Cats?

You can trap nuisance cats in a humane way and take them to a shelter. If the cat belongs to your neighbor, but your neighbor couldn’t or was unwilling to remove the cat, let them know where the cat is and let the animal shelter know the cat is your neighbor’s.

You can use a large trap cage and add plenty of food to entice the cat and feed them so they are not hungry until you can come to get them and take them to the human shelter.

You can also lure them onto a spot with smelly food where you can catch them with a large net. 

Can You Kill Cats on Your Property?

You should not kill cats, even on your own property. If you kill or harm a cat, it is considered animal cruelty, and you can spend jail time for it and pay a hefty fine. The length of time and the amount of the fine depends on the severity of the crime.

Rather than hurting or killing a cat that is becoming a nuisance, call animal control or your local government to see what is the best way to handle a cat that has become a nuisance.

You can also add deterrents to your yard or spray vinegar to keep them away from your yard.

Making them Leave

Sometimes getting a cat to leave is as simple as saying “shoo!” and not feeding them. Cats like to go where there is food.

However, they might like to make a meal out of your garden or take down your birds. If that’s the case, read on. 

How Do I Get Rid of Neighbors’ Cats in My Yard?

First, talk to your neighbor and explain that it’s best to keep cats indoors so that they can’t kill birds or destroy plants. Call animal control if the cat continues to be a nuisance and the neighbor is not caring for the cat well. 

You can also add deterrents by spraying things they don’t like the smell of, adding a high-pitched motion detector when they enter the yard and putting down a cat repellent mat they don’t like stepping on.

Will a Stray Cat Go Away on Its Own?

Most of the time, if you don’t feed a cat, then they will not come back. But make sure you are not accidentally feeding them by leaving trash can lids open, food out for your pets, or ways for the cat to catch birds. 

If the cats are catching birds at your house because you enjoy feeding the birds, put a fence around the bird bath and feeding areas.

This way, when a cat comes and works its way over the fence, the birds have time to fly away. 

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Fox on Your Property

How Do I Get Rid of Stray Cats Permanently?

You can trap a cat or cats in a humane way with a large trap cage and then release the cat in a secluded area or take it to an animal shelter. You can also call animal control; they might care for the cat themselves. 

Stray cats often do not stick around where they are not being fed and might go away on their own when they see you don’t have food to offer.

However, if a neighbor does feed them, they may become a problem. Talk to your neighbor about why feeding cats bother you. 


There are multiple options for cat deterrents for any concerns or issues you have with cats. In this section, we will cover different ways you can deter cats without harming them and legally.

Let’s keep on reading!

What is the Best Cat Deterrent?

Anywhere you don’t want a cat, you can spray a bottle of cat repellant spray or make your own with vinegar. If there are specific areas you don’t want cats into, you can plant plants they don’t like the smell of, like lemongrass, lavender, or eucalyptus. 

Another great deterrent is to put spikey mats or spikes on outdoor walls and fences.

They do not pierce their paws, but they make it uncomfortable to step on, and cats will not cross over on the spikes. There are spikes that blend into wooden fences and your lawn. 

How Do I Keep Stray Cats Out of My Yard Naturally?

To naturally keep cats away from your house, you can plant herbs and flowers around your yard that cats do not like. Some good cat deterrent plants include lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus. 

You can also put coffee grounds, citrus peels, and pipe tobacco around areas to deter them. Many people buy a spray deterrent or make their own with vinegar and essential oils. 

The essential oils should not be used inside around cats, however, because they can be toxic in an enclosed environment.  

How Do You Get Rid of Cats Around Your House?

Some cats will stop coming around if you “shoo” them when you see them, and you don’t provide any food for them because stray cats are often afraid of humans. However, ensure you are not accidentally feeding them by leaving out trash or food for your pet. 

If they do not go away after a few days, try spraying cat deterrent spray or vinegar around the areas you don’t want them.

You can also set down spikes that are uncomfortable for them to step on but never harm them. 

Can Vinegar Keep Cats Away?

Vinegar is often used to keep cats away because they do not like the smell of it. However, you will need to spray a lot of vinegar on the areas you don’t want cats, and you will need to repeat every week if they continue to come back. 

Most likely, if you spray vinegar around and do not offer cats food, they will stop coming around for a while.

Just ensure you are not feeding them without knowing by leaving trash cans open or food out for your pets. 

What Can I Use to Get Rid of Feral Cats?

You can either remove feral cats from your property by trapping them or calling animal control. However, you can also put out deterrents and take away anything they might like your property and house for. 

To deter cats, you can put out citrus peels and coffee grounds and spray vinegar. Also, ensure there are no places a cat can dig because they like to use the restroom where they can dig.

If you have a flower bed, put a spiky mat around it so that cats will not cross over. 

Related Questions

Why are Cats Allowed to Trespass?

Cats generally have the right to roam that other animals do not have; however, in some areas, the pound or animal control will put the cat in a shelter if they are a nuisance. Talk to your local animal control to see what you can do. 

If your neighbor has a lot of cats, you can call the animal control office, and they might remove the cats, or if there are only a few, tell your neighbor to keep them inside.

Cats can be bad for public health.

How Do I Stop My Neighbor’s Cat from Attacking Mine?

First, never try to break up two cats fighting. If you notice them fighting, simply yell at them to stop. Then talk to your neighbor and ask if they are willing to keep their cat inside. If they don’t want to, you can keep your cat inside. 

You can also put up a motion-detected sprinkler where the neighbors can come into the yard. This way, no cats are hurt, and your cat is not affected.

You can also put plastic spikes on a fence to keep your can in and their cat out. 

Can Cat Owners be Prosecuted?

If a cat owner is misusing or neglecting to care for the cats they keep, they can be prosecuted. Also, in certain neighborhoods or rental properties, cats and other pets are not allowed, and they can be fined for having a cat. 

If you see a cat owner, or anyone mistreating an animal, call animal control immediately. If you can, take the cat to the vet as soon as possible.

Also, keep an eye out for neighbors with lots of cats because they often can’t keep track of them all, and it becomes a public health issue.  

Final Thoughts 

So, you might not be able to shoot a cat, even on your own property, but there are so many better options that won’t end in jail time and/or a large fine.

We hope you now know many useful ways to get rid of cats and the problems they bring. 

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