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.
Is it Illegal for a Cat to Poop on Someone’s Lawn?
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.
Do Cats Poop In Their Own 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.
Why Do Cats Poop In Your Garden?
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
16 thoughts on “Cat Poo In Garden Law”
This article is not accurate, in many many places cats have no right to roam. Check your local ordinances and animal control policies. Figure out if your shelters are no-kill or not before calling the authorities as well.
Hi Marjorie, thank you for your comment. The article is accurate for the UK, unfortunately, where cats do have the right to roam freely.
Would one be breaking any law if you pick up your neighbour’s cat’s poop, cctv evidence from your garden and at night put it on their doorstep so they get a taste of what’s been happening to me when in my own garden???
We would imagine this is a grey area, unfortunately, and not something we could really comment on.
That response is rather childish. Get a life!
No it’s not at childish, it’s pragmatic. When will cat owners learn that we don’t want their verminous pets in our gardens?
I would hope not, but do it anyway. I’m fed up with picking up stinking cat crap from my garden.
In Australia, cats have to leave their house by a cat flap and use an enclosed space in their own garden because of the fact that they kill protected birds and they are killed by snakes. Perhaps this is the answer….
i agree with john, sick of cleaning up cat poo in my gardens, so my children can play in a safe and clean place, i dont even let my dog poo in my garden, he gets taken to the woods, where i picks it up!!!
Yes,,, give the cat poo back to the owner of cat!!!!!!!
Advise your neighbour that you have seen rats and you are setting traps, if they are foolish enogh to let they’re cats still roam, then so be it. Nothing illegal.
I dont know who wrote this article but they are wrong. California state law for private and public property cats do not have a right to roam freely. And are not aloud to poop on other peoples property , if the cat does then the owner of cat is to pick it up and dispose of it at there home. I’ve been picking of mounds of poop in my yard for 6 years from my neighbors cats and I’m sick of it and have filed legal action against him because he refuses to pick it up.
Hi Victoria, sorry for the confusion. The article above is focussed on UK law and not US or Californian law.
Honestly I’m having this situation at the moment. I have a compromised immune system ans young children. I’m picking up cat shit everyday which is detrimental to my health. I Need to know what I can do. I’ve tried deterents!!
I’m also hav8ng this problem with a new neighbour that has 3 cats. I’ve asked him to keep them in at night to avoid them fouling gardens, since they are unchallenged while everyone is asleep. His reply was that he’ll try to get them in but if they don’t want to come in, then they can stay out all night because he isn’t going to keep calling them. I told him I will bill him for any plants I have to replace.
I recently came home from a 3 day break to find his cats had been using my garden as a hangout. They had dug up all the plants while using the garden as a litter tray and there was the smell of urine everywhere, including against my patio doors leading into the kitchen. I removed 4 bags of faeces and had to level off all the soil again because they had exposed the roots of the plants.
In some parts they had been laying on the plants and crushed them. I was livid.
I am a cat lover and there has always been a cat in the family. I’ve always trained my cats to use a litter tray and have encouraged them to use their own garden since it is their own territory.
Some owners just don’t care unfortunately. They want a cat without making any effort to train it.
Ok I I get it with cats pooping in someone’s yard. I have a cat and my daughter has a cat and we live 500 feet from each other the neighbor behind me is storing cat poop back in my yard the thing is there’s five other cats that room our neighborhood. Unless he does a DNA test who’s the say who’s cat poop that is I try to keep my cat inside most of the time she’s spayed she’s had all her shots so I am a responsible cat owner. There is one stray that he screamed at me and says he takes care of well when that cat poop be that cats? So since everybody’s tired of cat poop in their yard what do you suggest I do when I know for a fact it is not my cats poop I have a cat box and she is inside I want to say 80% of the time especially at night
I understand cats can be frustrating for neighbours that don’t have cats. I’m a cat lover I have 11 beautiful well looked aftered cats and most of the cats are indoor. However the ones that do go out are only out few hours here and there in the day and never out at night. But yet my neighbour throws cat poo in my garden ir places it on my door step. How childish is that. I don’t.mind picking the poo up.if it’s definitely my cat tnats done it. But the neighbourhood has other cats around. It’s becoming a bit of a battle with them.