Cats cuddle, when they want to, behave, when they want to, and care about you when they want to. As you can see, cats only do what they want to, including what they use as a litter box. If you have an outdoor cat or a neighborhood cat that uses your garden as a toilet, here’s how you can stop it.
How to stop cats from using the garden as a toilet: Cats don’t like severe fragrances, so you can place vinegar, ammonia, or citrus peels around your garden. You can also create a barrier such as a stick fence or chicken wire. You can also plant lavender, citronella, or rue as cats don’t like these smells.
Why does a cat keep pooping in my garden?
Cats are creatures of habit. When they find a place to use as their litter box, they will keep coming back to that, even if it is inconvenient for you.
Cats also have a natural desire to cover their poop and urine. As a result, a garden, especially one with freshly turned soil, can seem like the perfect environment.
Different ways to stop cats from using gardens as toilets
Unlike dogs, cats generally hate water. They also greatly dislike sudden movements or anything that seems like a threat.
Installing a sprinkler that is activated by motion can be more of an effort than some people may want to do, but it is incredibly effective. These systems use motion sensors to activate, instantly turning on the water in the direction of movement.
The benefit of using a sprinkler system is that cats won’t be harmed. Instead, they will merely be startled and will move to a different location.
Furthermore, cats are intelligent so after they activate the sprinkler a few times, they will know to avoid the area altogether. A motion-activated sprinkler also has the added advantage to deter other pests, such as raccoons and deer.
Ultrasonic pet repellant
This is another costly product but well worth it if you just can’t get rid of cats or other problematic animals in your garden. However, it doesn’t have the best range so is better for smaller gardens.
The system works through a motion sensor and will emits a sound that only animals can hear. You won’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to an alarm.
A simple border can do wonders to prevent cats from getting into your freshly dug garden. As you plant and have softer earth, put some sticks around the border.
Place the sticks pointing upwards as a rough fence. Both the sight of the sticks and the feel of them as cats slink around them may be enough to deter your feline pests.
Don’t make the sticks pointy at the top as this can cause inadvertent harm to cats and other animals.
If you have a smaller garden, it might be easiest to put up a fence. Chicken wire will keep cats and other pests out of your garden and it won’t disrupt the aesthetic of your garden too much.
Cat urine has a tinge of ammonia to it, so you can trick a cat into thinking that another cat has been there beforehand. As cats are territorial, they will look for somewhere else to do their business.
Look for a few baby food jars or small canning jars and place ammonia inside of them. Poke some holes in the lids and then bury the jars in your garden so that the lids are level with the ground.
The ammonia scent will slowly waft around your garden and cats won’t want to enter. Refill the jars every few months as they can evaporate or become diluted by falling dirt.
Orange and lemon peels
Cats don’t like the smell of citrus, so adding orange and lemon peels to your garden is a nice, natural way to deter cats. Place the peels around the border of your garden so the smell covers the area.
You can save up orange and lemon peels over the winter by drying them out. They will still retain a scent but if you notice cats creeping back into your garden, add fresh ones each month.
Similar to ammonia, cats dislike the pungent smell of vinegar. Make a mix of half vinegar and half water and pour it into a spray bottle.
Then, go around your yard and spray the mixture on posts, fences, and the border of your garden. The mixture won’t last long, however, so you will need to spray every few days.
You should also be careful not to spray vinegar on plants. While some plant species like acidic growing conditions, others don’t and extra vinegar can disrupt the pH balance of your soil.
Plants That Repel Cats
Cats have a highly developed sense of smell so if you have very fragrant plants in your garden, this can act as a natural deterrent. And, as long as you don’t mind their appearance, you can enjoy the smells of new plants.
A go-to plant that is useful on many fronts is citronella. Not only does this fragrant plant repel mosquitos but cats will stay away from it, too.
Citronella releases most of its scent when the leaves are touched. You should plant it in containers in high-traffic areas so that as cats move against it, the smell will become stronger.
When humans smell lavender, we are transported to a calm state. However, cats greatly dislike this fragrant plant and will steer clear of it.
Lavender has the added bonus of repelling insects and deer, so you can maintain a yard that is free of unwelcome pests. For the best effects, plant lavender as a border so cats won’t cross over it into your garden.
A gorgeous plant, no matter its effectiveness, many people will have geraniums in their gardens. This plant is very fragrant and will deter any cats from getting in your garden while also providing a bold pop of color.
What’s especially nice about geraniums is that the scent isn’t overwhelming for people so you can go out and enjoy the scents of your garden. It can also bloom through fall and early winter, providing your garden with life even in dull seasons.
If you want some depth to your garden and a remedy for keeping cats out, you can plant lemongrass. This ornamental grass will grow up to 5 feet tall, so keep this in mind when you are planting it.
Lemongrass gives off a subtle smell of lemon and, as felines dislike the smell of citrus, it will stop them from getting too close.
Despite its name, this is not a plant that creates curry spices so unfortunately, you won’t be able to use it in your cooking. However, the curry plant does have a very strong smell that cats dislike.
The one problem with a curry plant is that it can become invasive and hard to get rid of. Be sure you want to use a curry plant and if you can, plant it in a large container to avoid it from spreading to the rest of your garden.
Another fragrant plant that most humans enjoy is rosemary. However, the overwhelming fragrance of rosemary is enough to drive cats away.
Rosemary is quite hardy but does not like to be too cold. You can grow it as an annual if you don’t have the time or patience for it, or you can place it in a container and move it inside during the winter.
This plant has two factors working for it as it both smells unpleasant to cats and tastes bad. Some cats like to chew on plants, but they won’t come near rue thanks to their smell.
Just be aware that rue can be poisonous in large doses, especially for children. If you have small children who are naturally curious, rue might not be the best plant for your garden.
Instead of worrying about keeping cats out of your garden, why not focus on distracting them? You can do this by making a different area of your yard more enjoyable for them.
Cats love catnip, even fresh plants. If you plant enough catnip in one area, they will naturally gravitate to it and leave your precious garden alone.
What is the most effective natural cat repellent?
Using plants that have a natural scent that cats dislike is perhaps the most effective way to prevent them from using your garden. Plants such as citronella, lavender, and lemongrass are nice in your garden and won’t cause you to turn your nose up at them. However, cats won’t go near these plants and will look for other places to do their business.
Having a cat frequent your garden is a real nuisance but there are plenty of natural remedies you can try. You can use fragrant plants, such as rosemary, lavender, and citronella, or you can build a barrier using sticks or chicken wire.