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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Behavior > How to Keep Cat Out of Garden

How to Keep Cats Out of the Garden

I love working in the garden. It is a place I visit on a regular basis in the summer-time to get my hands dirty and connect with the earth. My barn cats love my garden too. I believe a lot of their attraction comes from the fact that my scent is deep in the dirt. I am  now down to their level and it becomes easier to visit me as I am less of a threat when I kneel or sit low to the ground. Besides, there are bugs running around going after the all-day lunch buffet offered. Once the garden begins to grow, the plants offer extra shade and protection for small rodents which also attracts the cats. It’s a hard place to ignore for all of us. Cats love to dig in the soil and yes, even poop and pee in your garden. Not the kind of fertilizer you were thinking about, but it is their way of laying claim to a part of your yard that is essentially a cat magnet. Some people erect scarecrows in their garden, but even cloth figures fluttering in the breeze don’t scare most cats out of the area.

My neighbors aren’t quite so enchanted with my barn cats in their gardens, especially when they are pooping and peeing in their garden soil. They want the invasion to stop and the frustration level becomes high at times. Over the years, I have seen my cats being squirted with garden hoses, yelled at and even shot with a paintball gun. Some people just want to scare or hurt the cat which is NEVER a good idea. So how do you stop or deter cats out of a garden without harming them? Here are some tips:

Keeping your cat out of the garden: Cat proof with plants; plants that are known to repel cats.

  • Rue- a perennial grows 2-3 feet high. Plant in full sunlight, Rue blooms in late summer. Appearance: Gray green foliage with clusters of small yellow flowers. These flowers can be dried and crushed and sprinkled around the garden to further repel cats.
  • Cactus- even though cats are originally desert animals no one wants to walk through a border of prickly cactus.
  • Tansy- an herbaceous flowering plant of many uses, tansy can repel cats from a garden. Once the vibrant yellow flowers appear, the plant emits a scent much like camphor. Turn-of-the-century doctors used these crushed flowers mixed with other ingredients to stop worm infestations in adults and children. Tansy will also repel insects and other pests.
  • Miniature orange and lemon trees- found at specialty nurseries. The constant scent of citrus will drive kitties out of the garden.

Other means of keeping cats out of a garden:

  • Dried and crushed pinecones as ground cover or thick mulch.
  • Laying down small mesh chicken wire over the dirt- cats are hesitant to step on wire, but with the first rainstorm that could change quickly.
  • Blood meal fertilizer.
  • Fresh pipe tobacco.
  • Predator Urine- Coyote or larger predator urine
  • Scarecrow sprinkler by Contech Electronics a motion activated sprinkler that will not only repel cats but also water your garden.
  • Mr. McGregor Fencing- a low-to-the- ground two fence electric unit that successfully repels cats, dogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits and woodchucks from entering a garden.
  • Shake Away Deterrent Critter Repellent- chemical free granules that you spread about your garden. Safe and non-toxic.

Plants that repel cats but should be AVOIDED at all costs as they are toxic:

  • Coleus canina- also known as scaredy cat. An annual that grows in full sunlight. Produces a pale blue flower and spiky thorny leaves. The seeds are poison if ingested as are the leaves. The repellent is the smell for it smells skunky. You could have the same effect if you sprayed your ground with skunk scent from your local sporting goods store, but then you run the risk if you live where there is wildlife to attracting other skunks with the scent you laid down.
  • Pennyroyal- part of the mint family the plant gives off a strong aroma that cats dislike. If a cat or a child nibbles on these leaves it can be fatal. The flowers are lavender and it is sometimes used as a ground cover in gardens because it grows so quickly.

Other means to deter or stop cats that should be avoided:

  • Mothballs- toxic to cats and children and dogs
  • Ammonia-pure poison
  • Bleach –caustic and poison
  • Vinegar- vinegar can actually attract some cats.

One should never consider squirting cats with bleach or ammonia mixed with water. Great harm can come to cat if they are squirted with any type of chemical. If you have to use water, use your hose and spray an arc over the cat (s) not directly at them.

Cats are avid hunters, and gardens attract their prey. It lies within the cat’s nature to go after that prey whether the rodent or bug is hiding in a row of corn or lying in wait under a tomato plant. Since the soil is rich in scent, it is common for cats to poop in your garden covering these scents. Planting a barrier of protection will stop or repel kitty from using the garden as his private litter box and even venturing in where he isn’t wanted. Understanding cat behavior and why they are drawn to the garden helps in planning how to cat-proof your garden discouraging this behavior in a safe and effective manner.

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