Social Question

partyparty's avatar

How can I keep cats off my garden?

Asked by partyparty (9127 points ) April 4th, 2010

There is a cat in the neighbourhood who is using my garden as a toilet. I have tried putting down commercial cat repellent, but that hasn’t helped.
I don’t mind the cat coming in to my garden, but I do object to it using it as a toilet.
I will be planting my annual flowers out shortly, and don’t want the cat to disturb my plants.
Any suggestions as to what I could do about this?

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64 Answers

MrGV's avatar

A shotgun or get a guard dog would work 100%.

partyparty's avatar

@MrGV We have two dogs, and they chase the cat off the garden, but the cat just sits on the fence… almost smiling… while our dogs are barking and getting quite upset at the cat!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I think getting a wire around you garden good.

ucme's avatar

Short of a tactical air strike there’s very little that can be done (legally) to get rid of the evil pussy.We often have 3 or 4 at a time in our garden,I despise them with a passion.Calm now.

jrpowell's avatar

I have always heard that that burying some cans with fresh water in them will help keep the cats from shitting in the garden. They don’t want to contaminate the water supply so they will shit someplace else.

snowberry's avatar

This sounds funny, but it’s serious. Many zoos compost their lion manure for use in gardens. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard it keeps all sorts of critters away.

Cruiser's avatar

My MIL is available! Give her a spatula and problem solved. ;)

Just_Justine's avatar

You say the cat sits on the fence? Can you not zippy up the fence a bit better to keep them out? Or approach your local (I can’t think of the word) zone area? and find out if pet owners are responsible for keeping pets in their own garden area.

It’s a tough one, but cats of course hate water (wink) and cans filled with coins rattling at them.

snowberry's avatar

You could always set up a cat trap. When your friendly neighbor comes to call, trap it, and take it to the pound.

partyparty's avatar

@ucme Yes we have dogs, but that doesn’t deter the cat. Here in the UK cats are allowed – no encouraged – to wander on their own – as you well know, but if it was a dog, then the story would be much different. I wouldn’t dream of letting my dog out and using my neighbours garden as a toilet. Disgusting.
@johnpowell Never heard of that, I must try it.
@snowberry Wow lion manure, but would my dogs want to eat it haha?
@Cruiser Send your MIL round immediately… please!
@Just_Justine Here in the UK cats are allowed to roam freely… not so for dogs!

ucme's avatar

@partyparty My puppy just wants to play with them.I may train her to go for the jugular in time.She’s unlikely to though because unlike cats,spits on floor,she’s cute friendly & adorable.

cytonic_horus's avatar

one of those high powered water pistols that fire a distance so you can stand a distance away and just as it goes to do the business a sneaky blast right in the tradesmans entrance might at least make it associate your garden with getting a wet bum

Just_Justine's avatar

@snowberry cool idea, that might scare the owner into making sure the cat stays at home. However I guess if they are free to roam then what can one do? I wake up to 300 kitty paw marks all over my car and its white. So annoying loll. We have a “delightful” neighbour who feeds stray cats. And no ,she is not an old lady with a knitted hat, she is a hot body builder with a busy life loll.

snowberry's avatar

Sounds like it’s time to call animal control. Lots of times they’ll even deliver a cat trap to your door, and take away the animal when it’s caught. If you’re trapping strays on your own property, nobody can say you can’t. Also, cat traps are available to buy. Keep in mind though, that wild animals also could get caught in a cat trap.

FishGutsDale's avatar

Give them some panadol.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

An air gun with a pellet to the hindquarters works nicely. One of those cheap things without a lot of power, that pretty much only stings someone at a distance.

Either that or dried blood around the place you want to keep them out of, although that might only supposedly work on deer.

I say supposedly because my grandmother did that for her garden and blueberry bushes and it seemed to attract the deer. She has two cats however and that pretty much keeps her yard clear of other cats because her cats are as mean, obnoxious and territorial as her.

MarcoNJ's avatar

@MrGV Hilarious. I couldn’t help but laugh at that.

I have the same the problem though. It’s been going on for years, and I just gave up. Cats will be cats I guess.

ChaosCross's avatar

Dig a twenty foot deep hole and through the cats inside. That’ll stop em.

CaptainHarley's avatar

In the US, cats are permitted by common law to roam where they will. I suggest putting a metal flashing on the top of your fence, with the long portion of the flashing pointing outward so they can’t get any purchase with their claws.

Trillian's avatar

Seems like I heard something about powdered charcoal, but that may be another animal, or bugs. Look at this for some ideas.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

@ChaosCross Don’t forget to fill up the twenty foot hole after throwing the cats inside. Kidding of course.

DarkScribe's avatar

About twenty-five to thirty years ago there was an article in the Sunday paper that stuck in my mind. It was about a zookeeper at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo who claimed that taking home Tiger poo and placing on his garden ensured that all animals, dogs and cats, stayed well away. He said that dogs coming down his street would cross to the other side of the road as they passed his house. The story always amused me.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Try putting bark mulch around the flowers in the bed. It doesn’t feel like soil when the cat walks on it, so they don’t think of it as a suitable latrine. Planting catnip in some other area might redirect them from your flower bed.

Judi's avatar

Buy Cayenne Pepper in the big Costco industrial size and sprinkle it on your garden. After getting their butt burned a few times they will avoid it like the plague!

Fred931's avatar

Stop growing catnip.

partyparty's avatar

@snowberry We are unable to use a cat trap as they are allowed to roam, thanks anyway.
@cytonic_horus Ha ha love your answer about the water pistol, the only problem is this cat does its mess before I get up in the morning – or perhaps late at night, so I never get the opportunity.
@CaptainHarley Yes cats are allowed to roam here. I am just so concerned that when I put my plants in the soil, that I may accidentally touch their ‘droppings’. Perhaps then I will decide enough is enough and post the mess through their letterbox!
@Trillian Yes some good ideas there, and we do have water – a pond, and I think this may be attracting this cat also
@DarkScribe Thanks for the suggestion of tiger poo, but we have dogs, and I don’t want to scare my own animals.

gailcalled's avatar

I throw the contents of the litter box on an area covered with poison ivy. It is flourishing, i am sorry to say.

Cats will use loose dirt as a toilet because they can bury their pee and poo.t. I just watched Milo use the woods and then throw some leaves and duff on top of things.

The best way is mechanical. Build a tall fence with a gate. Make sure it’s tall enough. Milo can jump up and down from four feet. But then, I don’t grow vegetables. It is easier and cheaper to loot my sister’s garden.

The urban zoos (or at least the one in Philly) sells what they call Zoo Doo..

Scooby's avatar

Try orange peel & broken egg shells in your borders, cats dislike citrus smells & sharp shells under foot, I have two cats who roam free when they like, my neighbour who is a very keen gardener told me that’s what he does to keep my cats out of his immaculate borders, he also has an ultrasonic alarm that scares off the cats too as it’s not just my cats that love to crap in his well turned soil, he also has his grandsons high pressure water jet toy pistol too :-/
There are also pellets you can get from the pet shop to discourage cats from your garden too…… :-/

I hope you don’t take any of the more drastic measures some have suggested you could well find yourself with a very heavy fine for animal cruelty & for what? free fertiliser :-/ I know it’s a nuisance but it can be resolved without drastic action……

lilikoi's avatar

Chili pepper water along perimeter.

Keysha's avatar

The problem with cayanne or chili pepper is that some of your garden plants will absorb the taste, if you garden for veggies or fruits.

I know that what @Scooby said about orange peel is a good idea. Or buy a citrus oil, and spray it around the edge. That works even better. It does not have to be orange, any citrus fruit will work.

snowberry's avatar

@partyparty You can use a cat trap if it’s on your property. You could keep it in the back yard and nobody ever has to know but you and animal control, if you like. I know of nowhere that cat traps are not legal. They are live traps and entirely humane. You just have to bait them and check them frequently to make sure kitty doesn’t stay in too long.

Ron_C's avatar

There used to be a big striped cat that would take the lids off of garbage cans. One collection day, I took the screen off the front window and waited to hear the lid fall. When it did, I shot the pellet right at the cat’s bum. It was a pretty good shot form about 25 feet. From then on, you could see the cat at the end of the street peaking around the corner. It would run straight past my house but never again visited.

We recently had a problem with raccoons helping themselves to our bird feed. My wife hit it with a broom but it didn’t bother him much. The next night he came around again. It took three shots in the butt before it took off, so far, no more raccoons.

DarkScribe's avatar

Plant shops / nurseries here sell a product that is crystalline and expands into a jelly like substance when wet. It is very effective at keeping cats and dogs off garden beds, but you couldn’t really cover an entire yard with it.

Kraigmo's avatar

Make the soil around your garden compact as possible for the plants.

Then, in the corner of your garden, the one closest to the cat’s fenceline, plant a sandbox and fill it with sand.

The cat will probably prefer the loose soil of the sandbox and gravitate toward that.

YARNLADY's avatar

@CaptainHarley Where we live there is a law against letting your cats roam freely. If they are off your property, they are considered strays, and can be trapped or picked up by the animal control. They are seriously considering a cat license law as well.

@partyparty They love to use the ground along the side of my house, so I just laid down a ground cover of chicken wire netting, and they can’t use it. Plants can still grow through the netting.

Jewel's avatar

I have tried many of the ideas shared here. They worked for awhile. But the animals are smart and soon get used to most deterents. The one that always works, but makes it tough to garden freely is laying 1, 2 or 3 inch chicken wire on the surface of the ground. They can’t dig! 1 inch works best, but it leaves you with very small holes for planting & weeding.
I liked using the humane traps. It moves the problem out of the area. But my inconsiderate just neighbors go out and get more cats!!

escapedone7's avatar

Perhaps a sprinkler system would be good for the plants and your furry problem as well. When you see the invaders just turn it on.

snowberry's avatar

Here’s a new idea. Put ammonia in covered containers (so the rain won’t rinse it out) but perforated so the smell gets around. Set them as close together as they need to be to get the job done. Make sure when you set them out, that the cats won’t land on them in jumping down. I bet the little critters won’t put up with that for too long. I bet this one WOULD actually work. Of course, you’ll have to hold your breath or take them up to work in the garden, but I think it’s a winner.

flo's avatar

I heard Cayenne pepper helps, and I think it being debated whether it hurts them or not.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@partyparty This won’t help you un the UK, but our ultimate pest remover is a Ruger .22 Hornet rifle with a night vision scope. We don’t like to kill critters, but our veggies are our livelihood. Farmers in the UK are probably allowed to do this also.

Scooby's avatar

Well I’ve come back as I’m a little concerned with some of the more extreme solutions that have been suggested in dealing with your furry little problem!! :-/
So I’ve been checking out my neighbours defence systems that I mentioned earlier, check out this site [ http://www.deteracat.co.uk/ ] I’m sure you’ll find something of use at a reasonable price, something that would certainly avoid the cost of replenishment of ammunition!! :-/ that have been suggested by the wanna be Rambo’s on here, anyway, do take a look the site I posted, my neighbour highly recommends it & so do I……

partyparty's avatar

@Scooby Thanks for the advice about lemon peel and egg shells. I will try that method. I don’t want to harm the cat, because it belongs to my neighbour, and we are very friendly. Cats are allowed to roam freely in the UK, and as far as I know we are not allowed to use cat traps (nor would I want to). I can’t use the ultrasonic alarm because have dogs myself and don’t want to scare them.
@stranger_in_a_strange_land I never thought of bark mulch, might try that idea, thanks
@DarkScribe How does the crystalline substance work?
@Kraigmo A sandbox, good idea, thanks
@Jewel Thanks but I don’t think we are allowed to use animal traps here in the UK
@snowberry I don’t think I would use the ammonia, as I have dogs myself, but thanks
@Scooby Your answers are kind and considerate, as I would wish to be. Like yourself I get on well with my neighbour, and you seem to have reached an amicable solution. I have checked out the website and found some good ideas. I don’t want to harm the cat, but I want to be able to grow my own plants without putting my hands in cat ‘poo’.

Scooby's avatar

@partyparty

I hope you find that friendly solution to them pesky cats ;-)
Happy “poo” free gardening!!
Might I add my neighbour has added trellis along our border fence also, this makes it very difficult for my two to go out on their dawn border raids in to his garden, I’ve actually seen them give up on the exercise as the trellis is quite flimsy & won’t hold their weight… :-) Good luck!!

DarkScribe's avatar

@partyparty DarkScribe How does the crystalline substance work?

It seems to emit an odour that animals find offensive – humans don’t find it unpleasant. It looks – once wet – like little blobs of bright blue jelly. I think that it relies on the fact that people will water their plants – the water activates it. Maybe if a dog pees on it the same will happen.

partyparty's avatar

@DarkScribe Well that sounds like the perfect solution. Many thanks for your informative and polite reply

Keysha's avatar

@partyparty Just an FYI, if you are truly thinking of bark mulch for your garden as a deterrent, don’t. We mulched under a deck some years ago, and it became a cat magnet. Cats we had never seen before were coming simply to give us the pleasure of their toilet.

partyparty's avatar

@Keysha Oh thanks for that information. Now I am really confused about what I should use. But I have taken onboard what you have said, thanks

Keysha's avatar

@partyparty As someone that both has cats and lives where they do exactly what you are having a problem with, I would suggest the chickenwire or the citrus. Both do work, and do not harm the plants. Instead of peelings, though, purchase a citrus oil, if you can. Then spray it around. It will last longer, as the peels only work while moist.

bongo's avatar

I used to work at a safari park and they sold on the big cats manure on for people to put on their gardens. It worked as a great fertilizer and scared other cats away. dont do it if you have a dog mind as it would scare your dog too!
you only need to use it on occasion and it doesnt cost much.
not the nicest thing to spead around your garden mind.

partyparty's avatar

@bongo Yes I have heard about the big cat manure, but I do have dogs, so I can’t use that. Thanks anyway for your answer.

snowberry's avatar

Hmmm how about using the manure of a dog that thinks he’s a lion! Grrowff!

partyparty's avatar

@snowberry Well my two Lhasa apsos do think they are lions (most literature call them lion dogs), but I am afraid all the local cats just sit on our fence and almost laugh at them!!! Wooof wooof (or should it be yap yap yap!!)

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

We have two family pets and I also would like to know how to deter them from digging in the garden. Without hurting them. I like alot of your ideas and will try them.

flo's avatar

Has anyone suggested hair? I can’t read all the answers. I don’t know if ir works for cats but it is supposed to for squirrels? or something. Maybe you need a poll.

partyparty's avatar

@flo Hair? I have never heard of this. What kind of hair? Human or animal? Have you tried it out?

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@Keysha Wow, that gives me a idea that maybe I can train our cats to only take of their business in a corner of the yard and maybekeep them from going into other peoples yards.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I want to thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. Most are definately worth the added expense, especially the chicken wire both around and in the ground and yes I will also get some citrus oil since@ you scooby mentioned it here I will also combine the egg shells to add to the border blaster. The water gun idea is great if I had nothing else to tend to by stand gaurd, and maybe some cats are used to bathing like both mine are, since kitttens they get a weekly spa treatment, Drako and Snow love the feeling of warm sudsy water cleansing then and are also used to the hair dryer. I know not everyone wants to take the time to train or teach to put it mildly.

flo's avatar

@partyparty I just heard the word “hair”. Too bad I can’t find out because I don’t remember who said it. Would the hairdresser mind if you ask them for the hair that they sweep away? Good Luck, please let us know after testing it?

snowberry's avatar

There are metal spikes you can get to keep birds from landing on a roof. Try tacking them up where the cats like to walk. You’d probably have to put them where ever they walk, but I’m guessing it would work.

partyparty's avatar

@snowberry Wow I never thought of that. I must check out where I could buy them. Many thanks.

snowberry's avatar

buy a piss off plant (yes, that’s what it’s really called)! It smells so bad to furry critters they won’t go near them. Now this is news I can use. Here’s the link. Scroll to the botton of the page. http://www.richters.com/newdisplay.cgi?page=HerbzAlive/HerbzAlive-2004bestof.html

partyparty's avatar

@snowberry Wow thanks for the link to this plant. I have never heard of this before. I am certainly going to check these out in my garden centre.
I don’t want to harm the cats, but they really are a nuisance at times!

WestRiverrat's avatar

Plant some catnip in a back corner of your garden. It may at least keep them out of the rest of the garden.

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