How to get neighborhood cats to hang out around your fruit trees to eliminate the chipmunks

My daughter called one day from college and said she found a baby kitten that someone had left by the trash pickup area. I will try to make a long story short so here I go. Cats are not allowed in the dorms so I get this call explaining the situation and as any father would do when his daughter has him wrapped around her finger I drove to the campus. After 18 years of the cat living with us as an in and outdoor cat it passed. Other than the last few years this cat eliminated all the chipmunks in and around my fruit trees. I’m convinced they probably do the best job at removing them. My problem is that I don’t want another cat that I have full responsibility of the care. My kids/grands live 2hr one way in Georgia and 1hr the opposite direction to the other one. We are frequently asked to come over and spends several days helping with the grands when they have to be out of town on business trips. Now to my question. My neighborhood has owners with cats that occasionally walk through my yard and I had the bright idea as to how to have a cat without the responsibility. After several years the chipmunks have multiplied into a large amount and I’m getting worried that I don’t have a good method of control. How can I get the felines to hang around and hut the chipmunks? Any advice is appreciated.


Put food out on your porch. I have feral cats just because my place is a great hunting ground.


Plant cat mint and grass around the base of trees? It is also supposed to be a deterrent for aphids and certain moths. Also makes a good tea


Here in California, local animal shelters will have barn cat programs. Cats that won’t make good pets because they were feral for too long, or abused or whatever, get fixed and all their shots and are then offered. Sometimes they are free sometimes there may be a ~$50 fee or whatever. They expect you to give them appropriate (outdoor/barn) shelter and food but otherwise the cats are supposed to keep to themselves outside.


I can help you with this and it’s very simple! Every time you finish eating, take any table scraps of meat and meat-related items (bones, gristle, etc). If your fruit trees are close to your house, just open your back door and fling the scraps in the back yard toward your trees, if not, take them out to the orchard. Now, I understand that the idea of flinging scraps into your yard seems bizarre, and you’ll have visions of flies and so on. But cooked meat doesn’t ever really attract lots of flies or have a bad smell. For maybe a week or so, it is true that you may see the bones and scraps laying in the yard, but I guarantee you that within a week or so the cats in the area will find it, and once they do, they WILL start to come back over and over. The more often you throw your scraps, the more they will come. THey will begin to associate this area with being a food source, and eventually while looking for scraps they will see and catch a chip monk. This will only strengthen their association with your yard or orchard as a place to find food, so they will return more often and will either find more scraps you’ve thrown out OR, better still, catch more chip monks. Either way, they will learn that this is a place where they can get some tasty snacks, so they will keep coming back and over time you can reduce the scraps and they’ll rely more on the chip monks for food. But you still need to throw scraps occasionally (1-2 times a week) so they will keep returning even if they haven’t seen chip monks.

This method is actually better in my experience than putting cat food or scraps in a dish and/or in the same place. It teaches them to wonder all over your yard since the scraps you fling out there will always land in different spots. So while they are roaming the yard, its more likely they will see or at least smell chip monks and add them to the menu.

One word of warning about the crazy suggestion of flinging your meat scraps into the back yard: You just might end up with a new pet opossum!!! :wink: Crazier things have happened! haha


I have been dealing with the problem of cats… although they have recently proven their worth. We have a population of feral cats as well as cats that are let out by owners during the day. They had been really annoying me, as they like to use the compost I top dress veggies with, as a litter box. My husband often works late shifts, and often comments that when he gets home at night it’s like a cat party in our backyard! Cats of all colors just seem to love our yard. The only thing I can think of is that they really like the compost. As I said, this had been really bugging me until I noticed there was a rabbit nest in my strawberry bed. My husband did not “take care” of them when I asked him to, and the babies got bigger, and cuter. I was worried about what would happen when they got big enough to start eating my plants and trees. Two nights ago the cats found the rabbit nest. We heard then saw the first baby bunny get carried off. By morning the whole nest was emptied. They took care of that problem for us. An owl also helped, probably drawn in by the sound of the baby screaming.

Sorry for the long winded story. My point is that my neighborhood cats have always been attracted to the compost and sand we have in our yard. The other ideas of cat nip and meat/food around the yard are good also. Watch out though, before too long you may end up getting attached to one, and you’ll have a new cat before you know it!


Catmint is not as attractive to cats as Catnip plants.

@thecityman, with my luck, it’d be only opossums and other unwanted animals that my food would attract.

Also, I am a Buddhlist. It does not mean anything except for why would you want to get rid of our chip MONK? Please be nice to monks as you do to priests, rabbi, etc. (Kev, you know I am only pulling your legs, don’t you?).

Now, on to chipmunks. They are cute but I hate them.

@Katie_didnt_Z4b, I sometimes have been “evidence” my neighbors’ cats left on my yard. However, they intimidate those squirrels so I put up with it.


I like your scraps plan, could also help attract coyotes which will help you out too.

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my aunt in Canada has catnip planted in her orchard in several places. my uncle also set up perches on poles in spots where you can see down the lanes of trees. she’s has hawks, eagles and owls sitting up there and about a doz. local cats rolling in the catnip. no problems with any vermin there.


haha. You know, almost every time I re-read one of my posts I spot rediculous misspellings like that and never bother to correct them. I figure by now people think I’m pretty much illiterate anyway! hahaha. But yes…I’ll leave the MONKS alone and concentrate on the MUNKS! haha


Salt is very bad for cats even in small amounts, as are onions and other alliums which cause cumulative kidney failure. Also chicken bones are a serious hazard to dogs. I don’t want to go into detail, but have some pretty strong feelings about the subject after losing a couple good friends to a stubborn man who refused to acknowledge the danger. He was way far gone, mixing cat food into his left over spaghetti or whatever to get them to eat it.

Hey @thecityman, I did a little googling and found that I had mixed up raisins causing kidney damage in dogs with onions. So I guess I don’t know why Bob Cat’s kidneys failed at 5 years old, that guy did feed them raisin bread sometimes though… It was tough to see him degenerate as well. Pepperoni the cat was 6 and obese, just lost his strength one day and died that night.

Anyway, I realize I might have come across as a overly critical, like I said strong feelings. You’ve got a different situation there, what triggered me was that Bill would be feeding other people’s cats.

When I saw your post I agreed completely with the danger of chicken bones and dogs, so that alone was worth pointing out and I appreciate it. I’ve also heard other people say not to feed table scraps to pets for different reasons, so perhaps there is some logic. But I must say I was a bit resistant to the idea based on personal experience. Growing up, from the time I was 5 or so, I always had a dog and my sister always had a cat, and they were fed leftover table scraps each and every single night of their lives. We went through a few cats and dog before I left for college, and none of them ever had any health issues and all lived to be quite old (2 cats lived to be extremely old). So I just don’t know, so I’m glad you said maybe it wasn’t the scraps. But either way, I know you were just looking out for cats and as someone who knows very well how much pets can mean to us and how hard it can be to loose them (we did occasionally lose one to a car) I completely understand your concern and caution.


Yeah, to clarify, I wouldn’t ever leave any scraps out if a pet had access to them. It would be strictly to attract predators. And for all that possums, skunks and coons can be orchard pests, they are also predators and won’t hesitate to take a rodent. I’ve never heard of one taking a bird (other than a chicken) but I’m sure they would if they could catch it.

I had been thinking about planting catnip for this same purpose. Squirrels are a bigger problem than chipmunks for me but i assume if i have cats around through the day, they’ll deter/deal with some of the squirrels. Wondered if there was an update on what worked (or not).
Skunks are around from time to time so I’m not so keen on leaving out meat…

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We are overrun with rats as neighbors put out corn for ducks (they refuse to stop this ritual no matter what we ask). There are bobcats in the area too. How do we attract the bobcats and get them to shrink the rodent population?

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