We’re a nation of cat lovers. Many of us own and love cats, but can still be irritated when neighbouring felines come into our garden to defecate and hunt birds. What’s more, because cats are carnivores, their faeces can contain parasites or pathogens not present in other types of manure, such as horse and cow. As such there can be risks associated with cats defecating in your vegetable patch.
There are various ways to discourage cats from visiting your garden and veg plot. Find out more, below.
Mulch your soil
Cats prefer to walk on soft soil and will avoid prickly surfaces. They’re also more likely to defecate in soft soil or compost. Make beds and borders less attractive to them by covering areas of bare soil with twigs, pine cones or holly leaves, or laying down chicken wire. Driving sticks into the ground will have a similar effect. Pots can be mulched with a thick layer of gravel. In some areas, you may consider using groundcover plants to permanently cover areas of bare ground.
Grow strong-scented plants
Cats supposedly don’t like the strong fragrances of lavender, rosemary, pennyroyal, chives and lemon balm, and especially coleus, Plectranthus caninus. Dot as many of these throughout the garden as possible, particularly in areas cats keep returning to. Throwing citrus peels and human hair directly on the garden is also said to deter them.
Create an outdoor litter box
You may not want to deter cats altogether but simply keep them off certain areas of your garden. If you want to train your cat to use some areas of the garden instead of others, you could try building your own outdoor litter tray. Fill a shallow box or leave an area of soft, sandy soil, and plant catnip (Nepeta) nearby. Your cat may choose to defecate here rather than other areas of your garden.
Ultrasonic cat deterrents
Cat repellent devices emit ultrasonic sounds audible to cats. They can be used to stop cats from coming into your garden in the first place, or placed in specific areas such as around your bird feeders.
Ultrasonic water devices can be used to spray a jet of water in the direction of anything that passes in front of it – including cats. Cats hate water, so this might encourage them to stay away from your garden, but you could unwittingly soak other animals, such as hedgehogs, too.