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Keeping Cats Out of The Garden

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As for me, I love cats...but I don't like having them use my flower garden for their litter box.

My cat Max, seen in the photo above, can't resist laying in the sun all day in my beds. He hides under large bushes and plants, thinking no one can see him, but doesn't realize that his 25 pound body is pretty easy to spot. I have used several of the home remedies listed here, but in the end, what worked best for us is making Max his own space. We cleared an area under a black walnut that was one of those difficult to garden areas, and we spread out sandbox sand. around the edges, we planted a few patches of catnip. Max loves this spot. For some reason he knows it is his and what he needs to do there.

If the cats are not yours, or you just want your feline friend to go elsewhere, try some of these tips for keeping cats out of the garden.

 

University of Vermont:

"Try spraying the intruder with a blast from the hose. Most cats will turn and run although some actually enjoy water, especially on a hot day. For them, you must try other tactics, like planting rue. The blue foliage makes this an attractive garden accent, but cats can't stand the odor and will make a wide berth around the planting. Thorny roses also deter cats."

 

North Dakota State University:

"Purchase a roll of concrete reinforcing wire and lay it across the entry points to your planting area. Spray it with Re-pel, anise oil or Eucalyptus oil. Cats find stepping between the openings an annoyance and that coupled with the smell will drive them away. You can place pieces of cardboard with Tanglefoot applied. Cats step in it once and leave quickly! Get a scarecrow impact sprinkler that is motion controlled. It comes on loudly, runs for about 10 seconds in an arc and scares the cats away."

 

Berkley:

-- Scatter pinecones in the areas the cats like to visit, especially under bushes. Ponderosa or other prickly cones work best.
-- Buy a commercial cat repellent and scatter or spray it in the places where the cats are doing their business.
-- Sprinkle heavy coats of pepper in those areas (I use about one 4-ounce can) where they are leaving their calling cards.

 

New Mexico State University:

Some gardeners have told me that the most effective deterrent is chicken wire covering the area where the cats are inclined to defecate. The wire discourages the digging and scratching which is part of feline behavior. The chicken wire must cover any area with clear, loose soil. It may be removed from that area permanently if the plants growing there do not develop thick stems which would be girdled by the wire. The chicken wire may be removed once the plants begin growing if the plants form a dense cover over the soil. If the cats have moved to a new area because of the chicken wire, they may not return. If the chicken wire cannot remain and the vegetation cover is not dense enough to discourage the cats, a coarse mulch may be used as the plants begin growing. It is the bare soil which is usually attractive to the cats.


In the end, I have found my cats have responded differently to the different remedies so you need to find what works best for you and your beds.

 

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