The Neighborhood cats are using your garden as their personal bathroom. How do you stop them from doing this?
There are ways to prevent cats from damaging your dahlias if you are careful.
What Doesn’t Work At All
Many of the suggestions for improving productivity online are ineffective or even foolish. Let’s take a closer look at some of these ideas!
Forks, Pointy Sticks, Or Chopsticks
To test whether or not forks would keep cats out of a garden, I placed them around the perimeter of my garden beds. Unfortunately, this was one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had.
Plastic forks are not durable in sunlight. They become brittle and easy to knock over.
There is a plant called the Scaredy Cat Plant which is said to repel cats with its scent. Coleus canina, also known as Coleus caninus or Plectranthus caninus releases a scent which is reminiscent of skunks and is more likely to deter any human that comes near gardens.
If you have a Coleus canina, also known as a “scaredy-cat plant,” be aware that it could actually attract dogs who then roll around in it. Coleus canina is not an effective deterrent.
There are other live plants that are said to keep cats away, such as rue, lemon thyme, lavender, pennyroyal, geraniums, rosemary, and garlic. I haven’t seen any of these work with the cats around me, but I still grow most of them in my garden. I can’t tell you for sure that they’ll work as deterrents, but there’s no downside to growing them.
It’s claimed that eggshells can deter cats with their pointy, sharp edges.
Unfortunately, cats are known to walk across eggshells which then crumble under the weight of the cat. It doesn’t take much force to crack an eggshell and most adult cats weigh in at around 8-9 pounds with some breeds reaching up to 12-14 pounds. A broken eggshell doesn’t stand a chance against a cat that is determined to use it as a restroom.
Methods That Sometimes Work
Sprinkling Herbs On The Soil
If cats dislike the plants, the scent of freshly crushed leaves might deter them for a few hours. But once the initial smell fades, the scent is no longer effective. Most dried plant materials lose their aroma and begin to break down too quickly.
There are three things that have a stronger scent than most other options and may keep cats at bay for up to 2-3 days. These include crushed hot peppers like cayenne, some types of pipe tobacco, and used coffee grounds. However, cayenne has a nasty side effect; if cats walk through it and then lick their paws, it can make them ill. Another option is to sprinkling the coffee grounds from your morning pot of coffee over the garden every few days.
Some people say that Citrus peels can help keep cats away because they don’t like the smell. The downside to this is that the peels can start to mold and attract other pests.
There is a mat that is made of plastic mesh with ¾” spikes called the “Cat Scat Mat.” You use it by laying it on top of the soil, and the spikes are about an inch or so apart so that it is virtually impossible for cats to walk across them without discomfort.
If you want to prevent moisture evaporation from your soil, you can place a plastic carpet runner on top of it. The runner will have spikes that point upward, which will help to keep the moisture in the soil. However, this option can be quite unsightly.
If you’re looking for a way to keep cats out of your garden beds, you might want to try using sharp mulch materials. Things like pine cones, splintery bark mulches, sharp wood chips, or jagged rocks can be effective for short periods of time.
Although it is not ideal, the kitty may have to dig through sharp mulch as it is something they are likely to come across in the wild. Furthermore, pine cones and splinters can be a hazard for gardeners. Rock mulch is the most effective way to avoid these dangers but it can get quite hot.
The scent of animal urine fades over time, particularly in hot weather. However, it may take some time for the smell to completely disappear. Rain can help to dilute and wash away the scent. If the scent of urine fades, cats may begin to use the area as a litter box, assuming that predators are no longer present.
The most effective way to keep cats away from your garden is to use human urine as a fertilizer. Although it may not be the most pleasant option, it is free and will keep cats away for a short period of time. Urine is most effective when it is fresh, so you may have to reapply it frequently.
Oils And Sprays
A popular way to keep cats out of gardens, according to the internet, is the use of other smelly sprays. Concoctions of a variety of essential oils, sprays made out of garlic, or other strange homemade remedies are widely touted as effective.
There is a big problem with using smelly plants like garlic in the garden because the natural oils only last for a short time. The sun’s UV rays break them down quickly and the exposure to fresh breezes dissipates the scent.
It’s not a good idea to use lavender-citrus-eucalyptus spray in your garden if you have cats. Many essential oils are poisonous to cats, and if they walk through your garden after you’ve sprayed it, the oil will get on their fur. When they lick themselves, they could be seriously harmed.
Cat Deterrent Products
There are a number of retail products that claim to repel cats naturally. These products come in different forms, such as granules and liquids. However, it is unclear how effective these products actually are.
The question of whether or not these products work is a difficult one to answer. Most of these products use the same essential oils, powdered peppers, or garlic additives as products in other categories on this list. These products do work, but only for a short-term burst of efficacy.
Additionally, many of the retail repellent options don’t have smells that are appealing to us, and you’ll still want to be able to use your garden while you’re treating it!
Claiming It As A Human Space
One way you can make your garden feel like your own personal space is by using your own hair and urine to mark the perimeter. This will let other humans know that this is your territory.
You can make your yard less appealing to cats by adding wind chimes, spinners, or pinwheels. You can also reduce cat visitation by removing scat or hosing down cat markings.
Although this technique may be limited, it is still useful for keeping cats from using your garden as a litter box.
Reducing Their Natural Prey
Since cats are natural hunters, they may be attracted to your yard if you have small animals or birds around.
If you want to reduce the number of cats visiting your property, you need to reduce the number of prey animals available. However, this is not guaranteed to work.
Making A Truce With Kitty
One option you could try to stop your cat from digging in your garden is to make a truce with the neighboring cats. You can do this by giving them their own space with clean litter boxes or even their own garden box filled with plants like catnip or catmint. By doing this, you may be able to convince the kitty to stay in their own space rather than dig in your garden.
The main disadvantage of this method is that you will have to keep the litter scooped and make sure that their designated area is big enough – which may or may not be the case depending on the cat.
Surefire Ways To Keep Them Away
A Quick Burst Of Water
Cats usually don’t like getting wet, so spraying water at them can be a good way to get them to leave.
I absolutely love motion-activated sprinklers! You can set them up to go off when you’re not home, and they’re great for keeping your garden watering on schedule. Plus, they give you a little extra peace of mind when it comes to security.
The theoretical drawbacks of this method are that at first, you may have some slightly overwatered plants in popular spots in the yard. But gradually, the cats will learn that your garden is full of unexpected water and stay away.
Securing Yard Borders
The best way to keep cats from coming into your yard is to create an outdoor space that is not inviting to them. This can be done by making sure there is no food or shelter that would attract them.
Rollers, also called roll bars, are designed to be placed on top of your yard fencing. The round bar spins when a cat tries to walk along the fence top or scramble over it, which causes the cat to lose its grip and slide back down to the other side of the fence.
Roll bars can keep dogs from jumping over fences by making it difficult for them to get a grip on the top. This can effectively double the efficiency of your fence, but it can be a pricey solution to consider if all other options have failed.
There’s a cheaper solution that’s still effective. If you don’t have pets, you can get a device that emits high-frequency sounds. Animals can hear them, but humans can’t. Ultrasonic repellents are usually quite mobile, so you can just pick it up and move it to the area that’s most impacted by cats.
The high-pitched sounds produced by this device will not be tolerated by your neighbor’s pets or any pets you might have. While this solution will not work for everyone, it is very effective for people looking to reinforce any barrier to protect their garden.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
To use this deterrent, place it in your desired location. It will give off an ultrasonic noise and flash strobe lights when an animal pest enters its 40-foot range, scaring the pest away.
Make a secluded area in your yard for your cat to use as a litter box, this will keep them away from your garden. Put some catnip nearby for them to enjoy. Even though you will still have to clean up, everything will be contained.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Since cats have 80 million smell receptors, which is significantly more than people who only have 5 million, the concentrated scents from essential oils can keep them away from your garden. Recommended oils that have been known to work well include Rosemary, Citronella, and Orange.
Plastic Garden Fencing
Using the Garden Fence, you can easily create a border for flower or vegetable gardens, or a trellis for climbing flowers or plants. You don’t have to worry about splinters, sharp edges, or rust, as the Garden Fence is fade-resistant and will continue to look good as the day you installed it.
Cats need room to scratch the soil in their bathroom, so they don’t like it when there are pokey things around. Covering the soil with pine cones doesn’t give them enough space to scratch around and do their business.