So often the cats are Feral. That is really the case here in this Rural setting. A mother cat has her kittens in some ones hay barn, the kittens are never touched by human hand, never fed, and hide and find food where they can. Problem is where there was six this year there will be 36 next year unless someone makes an effort to reduce the numbers. They have a couple of enemies, car tires and starvation. Its the hunger thing that gets them to eating plants.
We had one lone female feral cat wander in here and take refuge in a shed and then had a litter of kittens. I reduced the numbers to 3, then trapped the three in a live trap and took them in to the vet for shots and to be fixed. I now feed them and they don't reproduce, but I can't get close to them. Just the way I like cats. Not underfoot, yet they should keep the rodents at bay. They hang around because they were born here, and they find food here, yet they have no need to eat my garden because they are being fed. A kitty litter pan helps a lot in keeping them from digging around the garden.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-