How to Keep Cats out of the Garden

Jill WoodStarred Page By Jill Wood, 19th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/_rb7049b/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Maintenance

Keeping on top of weeds is hard enough in any garden, but add to that little parcels of cat pooh, and it can be a nightmare. Here's a tale of some of the things we've tried to solve the problem.

Just the Odd One

At first, it wasn't so bad. There were only a couple of cats in our cul-de-sac. We knew what time they got kicked out of the house in the morning, and would simply chase 'em off with a growl and a hiss.
Then, over time, the population increased, and of course so did the little smelly parcels.
We filled the borders so they had less space, but they loved the newly-turned soil. We tried tea bags soaked in Jeyes Fluid, but then we couldn't smell the flowers. We tried garlic - it took root and started to grow. 'Cat-scat' products didn't work for long, mainly because of our wet weather. Mothballs worked for a while, but only in the immediate area.
In the same vein, we planted 'Scaredy Cat'. This has had mixed reviews, and I think it's all down to the strength of its smell. However, it's not hardy, and so it's better left in its pot and moved around. By the way, ours smelled like cat pee. Hmmm...

Prickly Subject

Prickly plants were discussed, but I didn't like the idea of damage to paws, so that was dismissed. We did, however, invest in some prickle sticks for the top of the fence - cats would not walk on the plastic spikes, but as it was fairly expensive we only put it in strategic places. A determined cat would still get in. I added a 'fence-topper' of criss-cross lattice, but of course, the cats would just squeeze underneath.
We did, however, dig out the ol' cap gun. This, for those who haven't seen one, is a toy gun with a trigger and 'hammer', which makes a sharp cracking noise when pulled.
As most cats hate water, we tried a water pistol, but they usually leaked all over the carpet before we could even open the door. Besides, we had something better in mind. More on that later.
We found an old catapult, too. Licorice torpedoes were most effective ammo. We never aimed for the cats themselves (couldn't if we tried) but a thwack on the fence nearby did make 'em run. Trouble was, our neighbours started to see more colourful borders, as bright sweets nestled in their gardens.

Sonic Boom... and Bombs Away!

We also got a repeller gizmo that emitted a sound that cats wouldn't like. Trouble is, it also repelled birds - and the batteries didn't last very long.
Next up was water bombs. We had huge fun filling the little balloons with water and then knotting these - we always ended up soaked. The balloons, however, usually refused to burst and would just lie there, waiting to be picked up. That's when they'd pop.
I hit upon the idea of trying 'Bombing' of a different kind - Yarn Bombing. Not as dramatic as one might think; simply an outdoor woolly (or in this case stringy) 'installation'.
Yes, it was wobbly, but that, together with the prickle (which can also be seen in the picture), was sure to do the trick. We would see.

Wet Wet Wet...

To be honest, short of getting a dog, we were running out of options. Everyone else in the street now had a pooch, it seemed - was ours the only 'safe' garden?
Then I saw it. A combination of all that we, as mere humans, had been trying to achieve. The ultimate cat deterrent - the Automatic Water Sprayer. All we'd need was a hose and a handful of batteries. Brilliant.
Once the AA batteries were installed, this would be placed near where the cats frequented (that covered most of the garden, so we stuck it in one corner) and linked up to the garden hose. Hey presto, it would trigger a spray when PIR - Passive Infra Red - detected movement.
Ah. Yes... movement.
Birds set it off. Flowers set it off. Young son set it off. All got a soaking.
Cat came in - true to form, the spray arched high over the lawn - and missed the cat entirely. Some adjustment was clearly called for. I still reckon it's a good product, though.
flint
panel

The End?

In the end, during a huge garden clear out, we discovered that there was a fence panel missing behind the shed - cats had been able to amble in despite all our 'decorations'.
This was fixed, and, as part of the revamp, we ordered some lovely blue flint. This was spread over the borders at the front, and has made all the difference both to the look of the garden, and to the number of 'cat gifts'. They just don't like the surface.
OK, so it isn't the best garden in the world, but we like it.

Tags

Cat, Cats, Control, Pest, Pest Control, Pests

Meet the author

author avatar Jill Wood
I've been writing and editing for years. My specialist subjects are health, animals, crafts and housekeeping.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Jul 2011 (#)

Good tips. Where I use to live they warned people not to use moth balls because kids might think they look like candy, also apparently they are very bad for the environment.
In some areas there are laws that cats cannot be off the owners property - we had our cats in a fenced in cat enclosure so they bothered nobody.

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author avatar Jill Wood
19th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you - I wish they had that law here!

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Jul 2011 (#)

Good tips. Where I use to live they warned people not to use moth balls because kids might think they look like candy, also apparently they are very bad for the environment.
In some areas there are laws that cats cannot be off the owners property - we had our cats in a fenced in cat enclosure so they bothered nobody.

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author avatar Denise O
19th Jul 2011 (#)

Good for you Jill to take the cats into consideration. I applaud you. Great idea, writting and layout. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Denise O
19th Jul 2011 (#)

Good for you Jill, to take the cats into consideration. I applaud you. Great idea, writting and layout. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Jill Wood
19th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you! I wouldn't want to harm any creature - even bluebottles are guided out of the house, where possible!

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author avatar Ibolya Lőrincz
20th Jul 2011 (#)

Hi, Jill,
Your writing is just a proof that cats are very clever and skillful animals and what's more they can teach human creatures to a lot of things.
By the way, haven't you tried to keep a cat of your öwn? If it is a male cat and if you are lucky with it, it can dominate the area and defends it from other male cats. Femail cats usually burry their little packages but males spray around their hunting area. But they do not do it in the centre of it. It seems to me that since you don't have a cat, your garden was a field of cats' battle. They usually went there to reinforce their old marks showing that it was their possession. Anyway water and loud noise is a good weapon. And you might try vinegar in places like a terrace or stairs where there are no plants. Once I was told that jasmine scent might make wonders but I have never tried it.
Warm greetings from a cat lover and owner,
Ibolya

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author avatar Jill Wood
20th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you - I didn't want to look like a cat-hater. I just don't like their packages. Very interesting about the territory.

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author avatar Songbird B
21st Jul 2011 (#)

What a great Star Page, Jill...Congratulations! We have a rescue dog, which seems to deter most moggies from wandering through our garden...I smiled a lot throughout this. Excellent read...\0/

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author avatar Jill Wood
21st Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you. I've no idea how it ended up as a star page, though...

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