Tips for Living with Community Cats

Effective March 23, 2022

Irving Animal Services (IAS) is resuming limited Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services. Feral and community cats will be accepted or picked up for TNR services on Wednesdays only. To borrow a trap free of charge, residents can come to the Irving Animal Care Campus.

Residents trapping cats using a borrowed city trap, or using their own trap, will receive trapping instructions and will need to sign a trap agreement.

Residents are also encouraged to use their own humane traps to trap feral and community cats and seek TNR services through privately operated organizations, such as Texas Coalition for Animal Protection, Spay Neuter Network and SPCA of Texas

Contact Animal Services at (972) 721-2256 for more information.

Community Cats

Irving, along with virtually every other city in the country, is home to free-roaming cats that live outdoors. The cats may be fearful of people and are frequently fed by multiple residents in the area. The cats typically thrive in the urban landscape, surviving in the same way wild animals do - seeking sources of food, water and shelter.

Although some residents may enjoy having the cats around, others may not. For residents and businesses wanting to deter the cats from their properties, the following information may be helpful.

NEW! Irving Animal Services has deterrent devices available for residents and businesses to borrow, including motion activated sprinklers, ultrasonic devices and motion activated lights. These devices can be borrowed for up to two weeks, free of charge. Information about how to use the devices will be provided. Borrowers must sign a deterrent agreement.

Common Issues

Black feral cat with striking yellow eyes and tipped ear.
  1. Garden
  2. Insects
  3. Mating
  4. Property
  5. Trash
  6. Resources

Cat lying on ground in flower garden.

Cats are digging in my garden/flowerbeds.

Explanation: It is a cat’s natural instinct to dig and urinate/defecate in soft soil, moss, mulch or sand.


  • Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented fragrances. Coffee grounds, vinegar, pipe tobacco and essential oils of lavender, lemongrass, citronella and eucalyptus also deter cats.
  • Plant the herb rue to repel cats, or sprinkle dried rue over the garden.
  • Use plastic carpet runners, and place them spike-side up, then cover lightly in soil. They can be found at local hardware or office supply stores. Or, lay chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
  • Arrange branches in a lattice-type pattern or place lattice fencing material over soil. You can disguise these by planting flowers and seeds in the openings. You can also try embedding wooden chopsticks, pine cones, or sticks with dull points deep into the soil with the tops exposed 8 inches apart.
  • Place Cat Scat mats into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourage digging.
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large, attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging. They have the added benefit of deterring weeds.