Cats are among the most popular pets in the UK, and they make a great companion for older people especially. Easy to keep, friendly and rewarding to own, they are however prone to wander! Many people keep cats as indoor pets – indeed, in some countries other than the UK it is against the law to let domestic cats wander freely – but the cats natural instinct is to prowl its territory and hunt.
Cats also like to bask in the sun, and for non-cat owners, this can present a problem. You may not want your neighbour’s cats in your garden, especially as they tend not to go to the toilet in their own garden and prefer yours! Or it could be that you have a problem with feral cats. They breed quickly and can be difficult to control.
So, you want to know how to stop cats from using your garden as a toilet? Of course, you don’t want to harm a neighbour’s treasured pet, but you do want to keep it out! We have some great tips below that will help you keep cats away, but before we go on, one word of advice: if you know who the visiting cat belongs to, always have a chat with the owner. They will usually understand that you don’t want their cats in your garden, so reassure them that you are going to follow one or more of the methods we list below, but that it will be harmless.
Let’s have a look at the best ways to stop cats pooping in your garden!
7 Ways To Keep Cats from Your Garden
1. Plants that Cats Don’t Like
There are certain plants that you can put in your garden that will repel cats, generally as they do not like the smell. One that will grow avidly in the UK is lavender, and it also makes a pleasant addition to a border. Another is the ‘Scaredy Cat Plant’ – your garden centre will stock it as coleus canina – and it is an attractive plant that will give you pretty blue flowers in season! These are just two cat-repellent plants, and if you ask at your local centre they may be able to recommend more.
2. Lay Chicken Wire
If you lay chicken wire on the surface of your soil then you will find cats try their best to avoid it! It is uncomfortable for them to walk on, and is also not unfriendly to the garden. You can easily snip larger holes in it for planting when required, and it’s a cheap and simple method of deterring cats from your flower or vegetable patches.
3. Stone and Other Sharp Items
By mixing into your bedding soil the likes of stones, eggshells, leaves from holly and other sharp plants and pinecones – sharp items that will not harm the animal but make it uncomfortable – cats will find it hard to find an easy place to dig.
4. Water Devices
There is an Old Wives’ Tale that a clear plastic bottle full of water will deter cats. Although this has been disproven in many cases, some people still swear it works, and if you don’t mind a bottle here and there, it does no harm. What is clear is that cats do not like water. If you are in your garden frequently, carry a full water pistol, and shoot at the cat when you see it. It will soon come to think it will meet with such a response when it enters your garden! There are devices that sense movement and spray water – pet stores and garden centres may be able to help – and of course, in the hot summer weeks, you can put your sprinklers on, and no cat will venture near!
5. Ultrasonic Cat Repellents
One successful method of deterring cats – and also many wild animals – from your garden is to buy one or more of the many ultrasonic devices that are designed for the purpose. These work by detecting movement and emitting a very high frequency sound – unheard by us but alarming for cats – to keep them away. Be aware, however, that they may also worry your dog.
6. Powdered Cat Repellent
We will mention these even though many people don’t like to use them as they can contain chemicals that may be dangerous to other animals, so have a careful look at what is in them if you are thinking of using any of the commercial cat repellent options.
7. Other Natural Repellents
Reportedly, cats are not fond of citrus, so leaving lemon and orange peel around your garden may help, although results are mixed. The same is true of pepper and any other strong-smelling substances that you might have in the kitchen, but make sure it is not harmful to dogs or animals before using it.
Now, all of the above are ideas that will deter cats from setting foot in your garden, but what if you have your own cats and simply want them to stay away from certain areas, or you don’t mind cats in the garden as long as they don’t poop in your borders or catch the wild birds?
Cat Friendly Area
For people with their own cats, creating a cat-friendly area in the garden – where the cat can go about its business – is a sensible idea. Decide on a little used area of the garden and plant catnip – it does not entice every cat, but those it does will not stay away – and either install an outdoor, covered litter box there, or create a soft soil area for it to use. One piece advice that we will stress is not to feed your cat outside (or any pets) as the food, when left, will attract rats and rodents.
To prevent cats from catching the garden birds, use feeders that are designed with covers – once again, pet stores and garden centres will help you with a wide choice of options – and make sure bird tables are protected suitably. You might also ask your neighbours to attach a bell to the cat’s collar – responsible owners, as most are, will have done so already.
When all is said and done, cats are harmless creatures that only annoy us by digging in parts of the garden they want to use as a toilet. Use the preventative measures above to reduce the chances of this happening.
One final word of advice: cats are clever and cunning animals, and will soon learn that they are going to be sprayed by water, for example, and find a different route to avoid this happening. So, vary your deterrent every now again, and you’ll be sure to keep Felix from the garden you tend so lovingly!