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Pussy galore


by James Alexander-Sinclair

Like Richard I too own a cat of which I am quite fond - she is what my daughter calls "middle sized" in other words tending towards the tubby. She is very good at sleeping and dismembering mice on my office floor.


CatLike Richard I too own a cat of which I am quite fond - she is what my daughter calls "middle sized" in other words tending towards the tubby. She is very good at sleeping and dismembering mice on my office floor.

In spite of all this feline bonhomie I am more often asked how to keep cats off gardens. The scenario is this: Neighbouring cats slouch through fence and leave interesting surprises just below soil level. The innocent gardener comes into close contact with said deposit and swears loudly. Cats regard gardener with a supercilious look as if they were Duchesses and you, the de facto owner of the garden, just the lowliest drip on the nose of a tramp.

So how to deal with it? Everybody seems to have a theory. Some say filled bottles of water lying around the place (not the most attractive option but very popular in Japan.)

Some swear by spikes that stick to the wall and are the cat equivalent of walking barefoot over sharp gravel.

Others claim that Lion Dung does the trick - which is all very well but if one owned a lion then I think that domestic cats would perhaps no longer be a problem. Lion dung is also extremely stinky. You could plant Coleus canina which occasionally works. The most extreme method that I have heard of (and one, I hasten to add, that I am not actively recommending) is an electric fence smeared with cat food.

My three favoured solutions are as follows:

1. Investing in a very high powered water pistol: this is both effective and satisfying provided that you happen to be in the right place at the right time with a loaded weapon.It does have the tacit approval of the church of England, as you can see here.

2. This was told to me by the legendary Reg Moule of BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester and is called the Cat Mine. Dig a hole in a newly prepared and tempting looking piece of ground. Into that hole place an inflated balloon which you then cover with a loose covering of soil. The offending cat comes along and performs and then begins the burying process. The claws of the cat then pierce the balloon which goes off with an almighty bang which scares the living daylights out of the offending feline.

3. Buy a dog.



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Gardeners' World Web User 20/09/2007 at 14:39

As a keen gardener, my solution is never to leave any bare soil available - thus killing two birds with one stone: I have to plant all those impulse purchases and I'm deterring Fluffy from my borders as well. The water pistol solution is indeed effective when possible - I use this one on the grey squirrels that like to eat all the birdfood in the feeder - very satisfying!

Gardeners' World Web User 20/09/2007 at 20:11

The cats in my neighbourhood are brave and observant. They watch out for my labrador and come into the garden when she's indoors. Having a dog hasn't stopped the problem but it has reduced the frequency of surprises. My sadistic side loves the idea of the Cat Mine!

Gardeners' World Web User 21/09/2007 at 09:15

We have 3 cats and a tiny courtyard - they look at the litter tray and then promptly go to the tiniest bit of earth we have and leave their "lovely" deposit! Fortunately, my other half does the "poo patrol" before I start planting! - Can someone also give advice on how to stop the cat eating the grasses I planted and then promptly throwing up!

Gardeners' World Web User 22/09/2007 at 15:40

Not sure of the correctness of this but I have been told by 'the old fellas' down the allottments, to pour urine (human) around freshly dug areas and seed beds. It deters the cats, any views ??? Cazzie

Gardeners' World Web User 24/09/2007 at 10:28

My lovely cat decided she liked the bean leaves and ate them throughout the summer without even throwing up. Strange cat.

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