There is nothing that can ruin stepping outside into your garden on a sunny day quite as much as finding it full of cat poop. Nowhere is safe, your garden beds, sandpits or even your lawn – wherever your local feline population seems to prefer! So what is the cat poo in garden law?
Unfortunately, the law is against homeowners when it comes to cats pooping in gardens and using them as their personal litter tray. They have the Right to Roam and can do as they please!
This is the case in the United Kingdom. The law across the United States is complex with different states imposing different laws.
The best thing you can do is search online: Right to Roam Cats + Your State. This should help you to determine whether cats can go where they wish in your state.
You can get an overview of where cats have the right to roam here.
Why Do Cats Poo In Other People’s Gardens?
It can seem infuriating that cats generally avoid going to the toilet in their own gardens. This is down to a survival trait that developed in these animals when they were still wild kitties and is down to one major factor: The smell.
We can all agree that cat poop is very smelly and a distinct sign that there is a cat nearby and that is exactly why they don’t do it where they live. They don’t like to leave signposts to any potential predators in their own territory.
In the wild, this is a sensible move but our domesticated cats haven’t realised yet that they don’t need to go to these lengths to hide their poo.
Of course, the knowledge of why cats do this doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. So your next course of action when you have a cat poop problem is to work out what to do and how to deal with it best.
The Neighbour’s Cat Keeps Pooping in My Garden!
We feel your pain! Unfortunately, it can often feel like your neighbour’s cat is targeting your garden and using it as their own personal litter tray.
Once they’ve done it for the first time, with no consequences, they will feel safe to do it day-in-day-out. This is why it’s important to use as many deterrents as you can to deter cats so that they get the message.
Unfortunately, it is not illegal for a cat to poop on your lawn. Cat owners are supposed to take reasonable steps to ensure their cat doesn’t cause damage to someone else’s property. This is, of course, hard to regulate.
Fed Up With Cats In Your Garden?
We’ve Put Together a Complete and Free Guide on How to STOP Cats From Pooping In Your Garden – Including 9 Deterrents to Try:
What is the Cat Poo in Garden Law?
The law might seem like an obvious place to start when you have nuisance cats visiting your garden and using it as a toilet but unfortunately, the law isn’t on your side. In fact, there is no cat poo in garden law that protects homeowners.
Cats are considered animals covered by a ‘right to roam’ law, which means that a cat owner doesn’t have an obligation to keep the animal on their own property.
This means that technically that trespassing cat in your garden is not trespassing at all.
This doesn’t mean that cats don’t fall under the same duty of care laws that all domesticated animals are protected by. The owner does have a responsibility to care for the cat and ensure their needs are met.
Unfortunately for neighbours, one of these welfare issues is that any pet animals have a right to be able to exhibit normal behaviour – which for a cat is exploring its environment.
There are also several more laws that are protecting roaming kitties from harm and means you have to be careful when trying to deal with repelling a cat from your garden.
Cats are considered property which means that you have to be careful when trying to deal with one. Any damage inflicted on the cat is covered under animal welfare acts and criminal damage acts.
So, no matter how infuriated you get, make sure anything you do is not going to land you in trouble.
Hurting an animal is never a solution, not only is it against the law but the problem that you are annoyed with isn’t the animal’s fault. They are usually just behaving in a way natural to their species or as a result of human training.
So, with the law against you, there is little you can do from this aspect.
In rare cases, you may be able to bring a public nuisance law claim against your neighbour but you would have to prove that the cats were being kept in circumstances that cause material discomfort or annoyance to the public in general.
This is rarely used and would generally only apply to homes with a large number of cats or cats that were not being well cared for.
So, it is unlikely that your neighbour’s cat choosing to use your garden as a toilet would be considered a public nuisance.
Can You Throw Your Neighbours Cat Poop Back?
Whether this is legal or not isn’t really the question. What you need to consider is what this will achieve?
Will throwing the poop back give you a brief moment of satisfaction? Possibly.
Will throwing the poo over the fence annoy your neighbour? Probably.
Will tossing the poop into your neighbour’s garden stop the cat? Nope!
Unfortunately, throwing the poop back into your neighbour’s garden is unlikely to solve the problem you’re having and will only lead to further problems such as causing animosity with your neighbours.
What Can Be Done to Deter Cats?
With the law on the side of your neighbours and their cats, you have to use other methods to keep the cat poop out of your garden. Luckily there are lots of methods you can use that can help to keep the cats out of your garden.
Take a look at the information on cat deterrents and harmless ways to keep cats out of your garden.
There are a lot of snippets of advice and products you can buy and add to your garden that will help to keep your garden free from pesky cats and their poop.
Below are further FAQs about what the law has to say about cats and a cat’s habit of pooping in your garden.
Yes, cats do poop in their own garden. This may provide a morsel of comfort knowing that your neighbour’s cat isn’t out to get you but will poop wherever and whenever it feels like it, especially if it has not been trained to use a litter tray properly.
Cats will often poop in your garden to mark their territory. Although they usually do this with urination, if they feel their territory is under threat from other cats then they may resort to pooping too.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden