Gardening Tips and Tricks : Tips on How to Keep Cats Out of Your Garden
Keeping cats out of your garden is an age old, common problem for most gardeners, especially with the UK cat population exceeding 7.2 million in 2008 last year.
The following tips explain some popular methods on how to keep cats out of your garden. When cats enter your garden, they will often urinate and/or leave a special surprise for you – freshly squeezed poop.
After covering the mess by scratching away at your quality soil, they lay down to rest, suffocating your now squashed bedding plants. The problem of cats in your garden is not limited to gardening. Leaving cat crap scattered across your lawn or urinating in your healthy soil, also poses a health risk, especially for children.
Odour Neutralising Cat Scent
As with dogs, cats mark their territory. By removing any feces or urine smells, you are taking one step towards making the garden less welcoming to the problematic cat(s).
After removing cat feces and disinfecting any areas the cat has urinated, you can add some proven scents such as chili powder, orange or lemon citrus peel and/or instant coffee which cats are not fond of. Alternatively, citrus scented cat repellent pellets can be purchased from most good garden centres or pet shops.
Other scents disliked by cats are toilet cistern blocks crumbled and scattered, Jayes disinfectant, garlic, moth balls, Olbas oil (eucalyptus oil), cayenne pepper, pine cones and mustard.
Plants Cats Don’t Like
There are a number of plants cats are known to dislike. These include geraniums, marigolds, petunias, lavender and coleus canina which will emit a foul smell if the cat was to brush up against it.
Electronic Cat Deterrent Devices
There are a number of devices on the market aimed at keeping cats out of your garden including ultrasonic sounders that emit a high frequency sound, inaudible to the human ear but ear piercing for cats and dogs.
A popular product is the CATWatch Ultrasonic manufactured in the UK, endorsed by the RSPB and recommended by a good few gardeners. The CATWatch Ultrasonic cat deterrent normally retails at around £55 which doesn’t include a required 9v PP3 battery or mains adapter, all available separately.
Most of these devices are activated by infra-red, the same technology used in outdoor lighting and some intruder alarms. When a cat or dog approaches the vicinity of the device, the sound will activate for a set period.
Controversy Surrounding “Silent Roar” Lion Poo
I could have included this method above under “Masking Odours” but wanted to describe this product in greater detail. Silent Roar is, from what I understand, effectively lion poo pellets. There is mixed public opinion of this product with some good and bad experiences with its use. In the EU, Silent Roar is not able to be sold as a cat repellent chemical due to the inconsistency of the products make up. No two lion poos are the same. However, a quick search on Google clearly shows that it is now being sold as cat repellent so this may no longer be the case.
In 2000, the BBC conducted some cat repellent product tests on its consumer complaints programme – Watchdog. BBC Watchdog found Silent Roar as their most effective cat deterrent from their extensive testing of various products on the market at that time.
Silent Roar is normally sold in 500g packs of pellets for £8.99. In wet weather, more pellets need to be applied after each rainfall.
As cats are quite agile and can jump great heights, a simple fence will not suffice. Use one or two lines of string tied tight above the fence. Cats will be unable to grip the top of the fence and get over in to your garden.
Cut bamboo canes into 12 inch (1ft) lengths with a hacksaw and stick them halfway into the ground with 6 inches sticking out. Keep them close enough together so cats will not be able to sit or lay down.
Try placing realistic looking toy snakes in your grass or cut a short length of hose and bend to look like a snake. Both cats and birds can be scared off with snakes.
Spray With Water
Sometimes a quick blast of water with a super soaker type water pistol or a garden sprayer (make sure its cleaned out and doesn’t contain any chemicals) normally used to insecticide or fertiliser. Do not use a garden hose as this could be seen as cruelty.
Express Your Concerns With The Cats Owner
If your cat problem is bad enough, you should maybe consider discussing it with the cats owner if known. Maybe suggest they start using an indoor cat litter tray if they don’t already.
If the owner objects to using an indoor litter tray, you could ask them to dig a pit in their garden, 2 or 3ft in diameter filled with peat for the cat to use as a toilet. The advantage of this is there will be no hygiene concerns as with indoor litter trays and far less maintenance. The cats owner will just need to dig the pit over every few weeks.
If All Else Fails
If all else fails, get a dog!