There is a saying: “If you don’t like cats, you were probably a mouse in a previous life!” I would add something to that quote: “Or you are a gardener!”
While most of us admire their feline grace and agility, it has to be said that cats can be very annoying to gardeners, particularly if the cat does not even belong to you. Besides catching birds, which you may be trying to encourage in your garden, cat feces can be harmful to you, according to Vieira Gardening Services, seasoned and professional gardeners in Woking.
According to BBC Gardener’s World Magazine;
“Because cats are carnivores, their feces can contain parasites not present in other types of manure, such as horse or cow,” and so there can be a health risk associated with their presence in your borders or vegetable patch.
There are many home remedy recipes and suggestions, which may or may not work. However, I would like to draw your attention to one common suggestion that I wound NOT recommend – using mothballs. They dissolve in water and can contaminate the soil, making it dangerous to you and your family.
Here are some safe and trusted ways to deter cats from your garden.
Make your garden unattractive to cats by:
- Never leaving any food outside that might be tempting to cats.
- Don’t leave sheds and garages open as cats might like to seek refuge in them.
- Avoid planting catmint (Purple Nepeta) as cats love to play in and around this plant.
- Get a tomcat of your own, who can see off any competition.
- Remove any cat feces that may already be in your garden as cats like to return to the same place to defecate.
- Get a dog!
- Make your flower beds unappealing to cats by covering them in prickly leaves, small wooden spikes, shells, pebbles or chicken wire. Keeping them damp also deters cats, as they do not like to get their paws wet.
- Use fencing around areas that need to be protected from cats. A smear of Vaseline along the top of the fence will make it too slippery for them to climb over, or electrify the fence – that will keep cats and other animals away!
- Position plastic spiked fencing along the top of the wall as this will prevent cats from walking along the top of the wall, but will not cause them any harm.
- Hang unwanted cd’s along the fence and the light glinting off them will scare cats away. Planting plastic bottles in your border, with the soil halfway up, could deter cats in the same way.
Cats are very sensitive to smells so this is an ideal strategy.
- Spray essential oils around the edges of your garden. Cats find the following smells particularly disagreeable: lavender, citronella and other citrus scents or peppermint.
- Use blood meal fertilizer on your soil as cats detest the smell of blood.
- Sprinkle coffee grounds, tea leaves or pipe tobacco around plants and cats will steer clear of them.
- Make up a cat repellent spray using the recipe here or buy a commercial cat repellent spray, such as SSSCAT Pet Deterrent here.
- Plant strong-scented vegetation e.g. Pennyroyal, Rosemary, Rue, Geranium, Marigolds or Chives in a variety of places around the garden, and between other plantings to ward cats off.
Cats hate water in all forms and will do everything possible to avoid getting wet.
- Keep a water pistol or water cannon (depending on how militant you are feeling!) handy and try to drench any unwanted feline visitors.
- Set up your water sprinkling system to start at the times that you have noticed cats like to visit your garden
- Invest in ultrasonic water sprayers, e.g. Scarecrow Motion Activated Animal repellent available here.
- will squirt water in the direction of a passing pussy cat, giving it a fright but it will not harm the animal.
- Spray down any area where a cat has marked its territory to discourage them from returning.
General ideas for solving the problem of unwanted cats in your garden:
If the offending cat belongs to a neighbor, try having a conversation about how to keep their cat out of your garden.
In some countries, it is illegal to allow your cat out at night, so you might suggest that your neighbor keeps their cat in at night or takes it for a walk on a lead.
If a feral cat is coming into your garden, you could set a humane trap and then take it to a cat sanctuary where it can be sterilized and, hopefully, re-homed.
Cats are attracted to the fish in ponds, so cover the surface with netting. Birdbaths and feeders should be placed in open areas of the garden so that cats can’t hide in bushes before pouncing on the unsuspecting birds.
Videos on how to repel cats:
There is a short, but informative video on getting rid of cats in your garden on theSpruce.com and a number of useful videos on the topic can be found on youtube.com.
Please remember that mothballs are very dangerous to humans and animals and should never be used as a cat repellent.