Are cats wreaking havoc on your prized garden or yard? From litter to digging and uprooting plants, the problem can get out of hand.
Fortunately, there are humane ways to keep cats out of your garden for good. Read on for some tips.
A couple of things you will need to keep cats off your garden include:
- Scat mat or a spiky plastic carpet
- Commercial animal repellent
- Sound repellent
- Citrusy or minty essential oils
- Motion-activated sprinkler
- Pet-safe electric fence
Tips on How to Deter Cats from Your Garden
Try out these ideas to deter felines from intruding your garden.
1. Cover the garden with pointy material
No one wants to walk or lounge on bristly surfaces and that includes cats. Keep felines from making a mess by covering the ground with materials such as eggshells, pines cones, and rough mulch. Besides deterring animals, organic material is also a great source of manure.
Cats might also want to lounge and litter around the outskirts of the garden. Prevent this behaviour by lining up these areas with a spikey plastic carpet. Cats will instantly avoid the uncomfortable carpeted area.
You can also try to plant pointy items such as plastic forks or wooden chopsticks in a smaller garden. Space them closely to make it difficult for the kitty to move around.
Keep cats from digging into the ground and littering by spreading chicken wire and mesh bags on the soil. Support the mesh or wire with sticks so kitty will not lift or push it away. Most plants can grow through the mesh but you can expand the hole size to give the plants adequate space to sprout.
2. Deter cats with unfriendly scents
Cats have over 80 million smell receptors and therefore pick up scents easily. Some scents that might be appealing to humans are absolutely repulsive to kitties.
Cats are particularly averse to essential oils that have a peppermint or citrus scent, for example, mint, peppermint, eucalyptus, orange and lemon, anise, and lemongrass. If you have rosemary essential oil or lavender oil on hand, these could work too.
Mix a few drops of any of these essential oils with 1 cup of water and spray in the area of the garden where cats frequent the most.
3. Cultivate cat-repelling plants
If you have a bigger garden, planting repellent plants might be more effective than spraying essential oils to scare cats away.
Some that work particularly well are coleus canina, which belongs to the mint family, lavender, pennyroyal, and rue. Plant these among your other plants and watch as cats scurry away as soon as they approach your garden.
4. Scare away cats with a motion-activated sprinkler
If you are keen on a humane way to scare cats off your garden, a motion-activated sprinkler is a good option. These devices use infrared technology to detect any movement and release a jet of water and a startling sound that scares away unwanted pets.
The slightest sound or movement easily scares cats, and they hate water, making motion-activated sensors a solid investment for protecting your treasured garden against pets and pests.
5. Apply commercial animal repellent
Animal repellent uses a predator scent mechanism to scare away cats and other animals that might be attracted to your yard. These come in both liquid and pellet form and you can use both at the same time if you are serious about protecting your garden.
For the pallets, just sprinkle them around the perimeter of your garden to keep cats out of that particular territory. You can also spray the repellent in areas where cats like to frequent including bird feeders, plants, walls, and any climbable structures that can give cats easy access to the garden.
If you do go the way of a commercial animal repellent, check that it is approved and be sure to use it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid harming animals.
6. Scare away cats with a sound repellent
Cats not only have a strong sense of smell; they are also capable of detecting very fine sound. Sound repellents work much in the same way as water sprinklers. These battery-operated devices use electromagnetic sensors to detect any object on their path and subsequently produce a deterrent sound.
Charge the sound repellent device and face it toward the garden. The device will produce a sound that humans cannot hear but cats can hear the sound loud and clear and will be too scared to go back to the garden.
7. Install a pet-safe electric fence
Electric fences are a bit controversial because of the strong shock they induce to warn a pet against crossing a boundary. But, these can be quite effective if you do not want to install physical barriers that will mess up with your landscaping. Experts also agree that e-fences are generally safe for pets if used correctly.
The fence works by placing an electric wire a few inches underground around the garden. The activated wire will produce a static electrical wave to your cat’s collar when the cat is almost crossing over into a prohibited section in the yard. With time, the cat will learn to avoid the area around the garden when the wire is installed.
Of course, if an electric fence is not an option, you can opt for physical fencing. Raise the fence to about 2 meters high and install an overhang to keep cats from climbing and jumping into the garden.
Cute as cats are, their faeces may contain parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be fatal among young children, the elderly and those with a weak immune.
So, in addition to repelling and scaring away cats using the above methods, you should take preventive measures to make your garden inhospitable not just for cats but their prey too.
Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
8. Tidy up your garden
Trash and the compost pit will make your garden a haven for cats and their prey such as rats, mice and other such critters. Cover your compost pit and put trash in a bin with a cover to keep cats from rummaging through and making a mess.
9. Keep rats away
Cats love to hunt for rats and they will frequent a garden where they can get easy prey. Take measures to deter rats from infesting your yard.
Be sure to keep a clean garden, get rid of clutter where rats can hide, and block any holes that may give rodents access to the garage, sheds, and other storage structures around your home.
If you already have an infestation, consider using traps or poison to get rid of rats in your garden.
10. Seclude an area for the cats
Setting up a cat-friendly area can keep cats from rummaging through the entire garden. Plant some catnip at a corner of the garden where the cats can hang out and stay out of the rest of the garden.
If cat litter is an issue, set up a sandbox close to the catnip plant. At least you will only need to clean the poop in one area as opposed to going around cleaning the entire garden.
If your cat is the problem, consider building an open enclosure it will still enjoy the outdoors without rummaging the garden or endangering other wildlife.
11. Avoid toxic deterrents
No matter how bad your feline infestation is, avoid taking measures that will harm the animals. Common harmful deterrents include coffee grounds and mothballs.
Being pesticides, mothballs are harmful to humans and pets. Even if you do not plan to eat the plants in your garden, you should not use mothballs, as they could be deadly to your cats and other wildlife.
Coffee grounds might also seem like an innocent solution to a cat problem. But, cats and dogs can die from ingesting even a small amount of coffee grounds.
12. Clean up the scent of urine
Cats spray their urine to mark their territory and they will keep returning to the sprayed area. Keep them from coming back by regularly cleaning their favourite spots in the garden using eco-friendly soap.
13. Trap stray cats
As a last resort, consider setting traps to capture feral cats that just won’t go away. Use traps that will cause the least harm to animals. The UK Animal Welfare Act of 2006 prohibits acts of cruelty against animals. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that you turn over trapped stray and feral cats to animal shelters or contact your nearest rehoming centre to find out if they can take in the cat.
Although cats can make for wonderful pets, they can also ruin your treasured garden with litter and upturning plants. The good news is that you can keep cats out of your garden using natural and humane ways.
Keep in mind though that cats are quite cunning and you will need to use a different method now and then to deter the pets from coming into your yard.
Do you have any questions or comments on controlling cats and keeping them off the garden? Let us know below!