Domestic, ferals and homeless- all cats are adorable, but can be a real pain for your lovingly cared-for garden. Cats may use your lawn as a big litter box, which can be dangerous for your and your family’s health. Cats are carnivores and their feces contain parasites or pathogens that can damage the vegetables that you are planting and planning to eat in the future. No matter how much they make you mad, remember that cats are protected by law, so if you want to keep cats out of your garden you have to do it in a most humane way. Here is a list of some effective, not harmful cat repellents.
10 ways to keep cats away from your garden
1. Don’t feed roaming cats.
It is that simple. Whenever a wandering cat visits your garden, don’t feed it, don’t play with it. If you do so, it will only make the cat feel welcome in your garden and it will keep on coming back and destroying your pretty lawn.
2. Use chicken wire.
This is an advice for when you are first planting your flower beds. You should lay the chicken wire flat against the soil before you sow your seeds. Chicken wire will make it really uncomfortable for cats to walk across it. If you have already planted your flowers or vegetable beds and cats keep on visiting your garden, you can use short wooden gardening canes stuck into the ground at regular intervals.
3. Water is a great cat repellent- get a motion activated sprinkler.
Cats dislike getting themselves wet. So if an unwanted cat visitor keeps coming to your yard, invest in a motion activated sprinkler. The idea of the motion activated systems is that after a cat is caught once or twice in your garden, it will be reluctant to visit and get wet again. Also rember to water your plants on a regular basis- cats don’t like getting wet and avoid places filled with water.
4. Smell barriers may keep the cats away.
There are some kind of odors that cats dislike and should keep them away from your lawn. It is said that mothballs work, because cats, like other animals, can’t stand the smell. But they seem to be toxic for both cats and people. An alternative to that is the Scaredy Cat plant, also known as Coleus Canina. It may deter cats as well as other animals form destroying your plants. There are also other, effective but non toxic strongly-scented substances that may help keeping cats away. Many cats are repulsed by the smell of rue, lavender and lemon thyme. Try planting some of these in your garden. Cats don’t like strong citrus scents, so you can throw some peels directly onto garden soil. Another way to keep the cat out of your yard is sprnkling coffee grounds over the soil. You can gets some free big bags of coffee grounds from your local shop.
5. Sounds can be a great cat deterrent.
It is not a secret that cats, like dogs and most animals , have a much higher hearing range than people. You can invest in a motion activated device, that emits high frequency sounds, inaudible for humans, but unbearable for cats. You can also make a noisy device on your own, by putting some stones in an empty can or use a sensitive bell, that rings anytime a roaming cat enters your area.
6. A prickly surface is a great cat deterrent.
Cats like to walk on a soft soil, so make your garden beds less inviting by pushing pine cones or other prickly yard trimmings, such as fallen leaves, down into the soil around your plants. Other natural options are stonemulch, eggshells or holly cuttings. Remember that cats don’t like pokey thing in their litter box, because they need space to scratch the soil. Pine cones and other stuff prevent them from doing their “business”. These are some low-cost solutions that could really make a difference.
7. Create an outdoor litter box.
If cats keep visiting your garden, make a special area only for them to deter them from exploring the rest of your yard. Cats like mint, honeysuckle and catnip. Place a small sandbox nearby. Surely you’ll need to clean it from time to time, but this tip will make the kitten stay away from your vegatebles. So it’s a win-win situation.
8. Make your area an unattractive place for roaming cats.
Cleanliness can actually reduce the visits of wandering and homeless cats. Don’t feed your dog or your own cat outside, because the smell of food can attract other animals, including cats. After your outdoor grill, make sure that you got rid of all the litter and that your bins are secure, so cats cannot jump into your rubbish.
9. A fence may be a good idea too.
A physical obstacle can be also effective. Create a barrier with wire-mesh fencing. It should be at least two metres high to deter cats from jumping inside your garden.
10. Cover the exposed area with “scat mats”.
Scat mats are plastic mats covered in flexible plastic spikes that are soft enough not to hurt the cat, but it will not like the texture and will keep away. Remember not to lay the mat on the surface of the soil. A clever cat may just paw that up. To prevent this, you need to press the mat into the soil, so the mat is covered, but the spikes are exposed.
Curbing the stray population
Your yard may attract animals, whose owners allow to wander around and strays, that once had a home. It may be a bigger problem in your local community, so a good step is to talk to your neighbours about it. First you could work with your neighbours and make them take responsibility for their beloved pets and stop them from using your yard as a big litter box. Secondly, you could contact the local authorities to ask for tips on preventing wandering cats. Learn what measures you are allowed to take on your own and support local cat shelters, to make their work more effective. Last but not least, when other tips fail, check if it is legally allowed in your community to use some humane traps for cats to capture the homeless ones and turn them over to shelters. If homeless cats are a big issue in your neighbourhood, you should actually do something about it, remember.
We hope that you will find this tips quite helpful. The reasons why wandering cats keep on choosing your garden as their bathroom can be many, but you have to remeber that you should solve the problem in a humane way, using natural, non toxic methods, that will not harm any animal.