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Mar 22, 2011 05:43 PM

Keeping cats out of the garden

The stray cat population has exploded around here lately. (Hmmmm inaccurate description, bad visual...) what I mean to say is that the number of felines roving our urban neighborhood has increased, and they enjoy using my freshly-dug garden as a commode. I'm a litte surprised b/c we have two noisy Boston Terriers who love to chase cats. I would have thought that the dogs' smell would keep the cat away, but maybe not out of the raised beds (where the dogs do not "go," for obvious reasons).

I tried laying old window screens on top of newly-seeded beds, and that works reasonably well but I only have so many old screens and they only work until the seedlings get so high. Also, the cats have become bolder lately; one grey fellow sunning himself on our picnic table merely gazed at us when I brought the children out into the yard. Any other ideas to discourage unwanted feline visitors?

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  1. I hate to say this, but you need to call Animal Control and put out traps. They won't go away and they are fixin' to reproduce. Let me qualify by saying I'm a cat and dog owner and love them both, but the feral cat population will decimate your natural bird population. Birds are a natural part of the food chain, feral cats are not. Ignoring them won't make them go away.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      And feral cats carry lots of disease. Animal Control that I've been experienced with use live traps, spay/neuter, etc.

      I read once that having a male (cause they pee standing up) pee around the edges of a garden to keep raccoons out. I wonder if it would work with cats.

      1. re: c oliver

        It's worth a try. It's not like it's hard, lol! Everybody's gotta go. But feral cats are unrelenting.

        And yes, live traps.

        1. re: Sue in Mt P

          Five or so years ago a bear broke into the house next door. Bob was gone so I 'collected' my urine and poured it below all accessible doors and windows.

      2. re: Sue in Mt P

        Thanks Sue, I will give our AC office a call. Unfortunately our street seems to be a cat haven - there are a few unkempt/dilapadated houses that provide lots of shelter - so I wonder if new cats would just move in even if the current bunch is moved on.

      3. A method that will work in small areas is aluminum foil. You can pierce it to allow water to go through. Cats fear and loath walking on aluminum freaks them out. A company in Canada called Lee Valley Tools also sells a product to deter cats, it's a set of little mats with spikes (soft enough to not damage paws!) that cat's won't walk on. As I recall, they're pricey. I'll find a link for you.

        Here you go, the unfortunately named "Cat Scat" mats:

        1 Reply
        1. re: SherBel

          Thanks - the foil is a great idea!

        2. I've used cayenne pepper around the border but it must be renewed and only works sporadically. Our dogs were helpful but they were fenced out of the raised beds so could only alert to the intruders. Animal control is my ultimate answer.

          1. You might try installing a motion-activated sprinkler. I have a friend who swears by his. And they have great entertainment value, too - at least until the critters catch on and simply avoid the area.


            2 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              oooo LOVE IT. That would work great in the new side yard. Bet it would keep the skunks away from my flower bulbs, too.

              1. re: gimlis1mum

                The only problem is if they spray back.

            2. I've read that fox urine deters rodents (squirrels and such). Wonder if it'd work for cats. And NO!, you don't collect it yourself!!! :) Purchase it at a feed store or co-op.

              7 Replies
              1. re: CocoaNut

                And I'd like to know how the coop collects it :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  When you find out..... Do tell!!! Or maybe it's best not to know?? :o

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Not that-that *method* doesn't occur, but don't think you'd find the resulting product mainstreamed on retail shelves.

                        I'm sure any vet could explain the procedure as they perform it often on our beloved four-legged family members.

                        1. re: CocoaNut

                          Procedure? What procedure? Foxes are raised for their fur in cages. They urinate as a matter of course, and that urine is collected, bottled, and sold.