Not Martha

help me foil those damn cats

Above is one of three new wax leaf privet bushes we’ve planted in front of our house. We’ve had the planting bed covered in a black biodegradable fabric for the most of this year because last summer the many neighborhood cats decided it was the perfect spot to do their kitty business. Nice. Now, I have never seen a rodent of any sort in our yard (just a pretty freaked out squirrel) so I’m not complaining about the presence of the many cats.

We’ve sprinkled some pet discouraging granules in the past but I’d really like to get a garden going that will allow us to not have to think about kitty deterrence once it’s set. Our plan so far is to to put down rocks between the bushes and other landscaping plants and plant ground cover succulents between the rocks to fill in any loose dirt spots. But as we uncover the planting beds and actually plant in them, we’d like to discourage the cats from thinking they’d be the perfect spot to consider a new litter box. I’ve read all sorts of advice on how to discourage the cats – lemon peels, growing things up through chicken wire or spiky cat mats, motion sensor water sprayers, spreading cayenne pepper, reflective surfaces or pans of water. Lots of advice is given in gardening forums but I have not come across many reports back on what worked.

So, do you have experience with this? Have you found any cat deterrents that work? Please tell me you’ve found cat deterrents that work.

update: July 12th, 2007. There were a few comments below addressing whether cocoa shell mulch is dangerous to dogs if ingested. I got this information in an email from Cherie and felt it was worth putting here:

I am a Master Gardener and had a chance to visit a conference, where I
learned from one of the cocoa mulch suppliers that they are doing studies on
the theobromine. So far, they’ve found that it evaporates in about three
weeks, so after that is no threat. If the company says it is washed, I bet
that does about the same thing.

One could put it in a large tub like those plastic things from WalMart and
just turn it every couple of days for a couple weeks, and that would do it
without getting it somewhere dogs might roam.

Just a bit of a note – I really like cocoa mulch as it breaks down in about
2 years or so, adding organic material to the soil and is eco-friendly in
that way. I think it looks nice and it does not blow around either,
interestingly. Rains go right through it, though. I’d pay the bucks and go
for it! One could even put it in a shallower layer over that chicken wire.

· comments [70] · 06-22-2007 · categories:the home ·

70 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Janie // Jun 22, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Pour bleach around the areas that need to be kitty proofed.

  • 2 Jenn // Jun 22, 2007 at 6:39 am

    You could always get a dog. ;)

  • 3 stephanie // Jun 22, 2007 at 6:40 am

    I’d ask this guy – I use to listen to his radio show before moving to CT.
    He knows everything about gardening. :)
    http://beautifuleasygardens.blogspot.com

  • 4 julie. // Jun 22, 2007 at 6:47 am

    I think you just have to try and see what works – it seems different cats have aversions to different things. I’ve had good results using black pepper, but had a friend tell me her cat liked the stuff. My cat HATES aluminum foil. If I want to keep him away from something, I just put a piece of foil there and he steers clear – I’ve read they don’t like the slippery feel of it on their paws but my cat never even get close enough to step on it – he’s just scared to death of the stuff.

  • 5 Joy // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:00 am

    My gardener once told me about a product called “Lion’s Pee”, that’s supposed to deter cats. He told me he had some success with it. It kinda scared me, so I choose not to use it, and instead, scare wandering cats with a quick spray from the gardening hose.

  • 6 Sara // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:04 am

    A landscaper friend of mine suggested that we bury mothballs just below the surface of our flower beds, and it has served as a GREAT (inexpensive) deterrent for those pesky kitties!!

  • 7 Anna // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Mike McGrath of “You Bet Your Garden” has these recommendations.

  • 8 rachel // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Yet another deterrent might be mothballs. I heard about using these when I worked at a greenhouse / nursery. It’s what the owner would suggest for people whose cats used their houseplants. I haven’t tried this myself, though.

  • 9 kindli // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:09 am

    My dad dilutes some tabasco and sprays it around the area, it bothers their sensitive noses and seems to work for dogs as well… both like to smell out their territory.

  • 10 Carrie // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:13 am

    I attempt to train my cat by spraying him with a water bottle, which sometimes works. I don’t let him outside though, so I don’t know if that would work on rogue neighborhood cats. You could try if you actually catch them out there.

    I’m having problems in my yard with rabbits eating most of my flowers. People have told me different solutions, but a lot of them sound pretty far-fetched. Have you come across any advice regarding rabbits in your search?

  • 11 karen // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Pea gravel, rather than beauty bark. (You know, the little tiny rocks the size & general shape of peas?) My cats don’t use any place in my yard that’s covered with pea gravel. The beauty bark, on the other hand? Oy.

    Note on succulents as ground cover: some of those are poisonous; if you want to avoid killing your neighborhood kitties, look into the specific varities before you plant them.

    Also, chicken wire does work, but it’s a pain to work around for weeding and other plant maintenance.

  • 12 Brian // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:17 am

    We had the same problem when we lived in Seattle. A neighbor told us to try pure peppermint oil and it worked pretty well. You can get it on-line cheaper than specialized stores. Don’t bother with grocery store extract.

  • 13 Ingrid in Vancouver // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:20 am

    In my container garden I use scrunched-up black plastic garden netting (the holes are about 1/2″) until the plants are established. My mom scatters her rose prunings on the bare ground between the plants. I used to plant rue (a traditional cat-repellant) at the entrance to the garden, but I’ve got a small child now, and it’s too toxic to have around.

  • 14 Elizabeth // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Sadly, we have the same problem.

    In the case of vegetable/fruit beds I cover them with bird netting which the cats don’t seem to like walking on.

    In other areas we’ve put down sedum(one of the smaller varieties like Sedum acre aureum) as a ground cover: it’s fairly fast growing and easy to divide/propogate to fill in bare areas, plus when it blooms it’s an excellent bee attractant.

  • 15 Shannon // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:42 am

    We sell this at my nursery : http://www.sunshine-garden-products.com/new/product.php?product_id=5
    And all the lil’ ol’ ladies say it works wonders on keeping the cats away. Plus, when it gets warm it smells like chocolate.

  • 16 megan // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Thanks everybody! I think I’ll start with the moth balls since they seem like something that will stay around for a while. I really appreciate all the advice.

    janie – Won’t bleach kill my plants?

    Jenn – Gee, I’ve never heard that one before :) Seriously, we’re not dog ready.

    Anna – Your link does not work, a peek at the code reveals nothing more than an empty A tag. Were you referring to the 5/24/03 program on this page.

    Carrie – Sadly, I don’t think rabbits will be much of a problem, there really are many, many cats and I’ve never seen rabbits around.

    Karen – We’ve considered that but our other spots around our house have pea gravel and it doesn’t stop these cats. Also, the thought of trying to clean up the pea gravel in the future (if we want to sell the house) is painful. Thanks for the tips on the poisonous succulents, we’ll be sure to check before we plant. And, I counted out chicken wire since I want to keep planting this year and next and the thought of uncovering it and working around it doesn’t sound like a good idea.

    Elizabeth – thanks, I’ll look at sedum.

    Shannon – Thanks, I’ll look at those, it might be our answer.

  • 17 Candice // Jun 22, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Sorry, I don’t have any suggestions on keeping cats away (it’s those dang squirrels that plague me), but I’d strongly recommend AGAINST pouring bleach around your plants or anywhere outside in general. Yes, it could kill the plants and I don’t think you want that in your soil or getting into drinking water!

    I’m a novice gardener, but I’m really trying to avoid chemicals in the garden. It just doesn’t seem smart, ya know?

  • 18 megan // Jun 22, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Lessons from Mike McGrath:

    – no mothballs, they can destroy cat’s kidney function and very bad for humans

    – set out citrus rinds

    – blanket of chicken wire (cats cannot dig up dirt), clip a hole in the chicken wire when you want to plant something new

    – set out a litterbox for them to use instead

    – cat and dog repelling plant: scented coleus called “scardy cat” and “dogs gone”, also spread the dried and crushed flowers and leaves. See Milstadt Farms for more information.

    – dried hot pepper flakes or dried pepper powder (last resort as is temporarily painful)

    – motion activated sprinkler

  • 19 Ty // Jun 22, 2007 at 9:42 am

    You may also want to try Petco. I have used a spray repellant they sell to keep my cats out of rooms, and it works. Strangely, the one I picked up smelled like cilantro!! :) http://www.petco.com/product/5432/Four-Paws-Cat-and-Kitten-Repellent.aspx

    They have a lot of them on their website. http://www.petco.com/petco_Page_PC_productlist_Nav_207_N_23+140.aspx

    One that looks particularly interesting is the Critter Ridder. It says it lasts 30 days!
    http://www.petco.com/product/15254/Birdscapes-Critter-Ridder.aspx

    I may give that one a try to discourage the squirrells that love my tomatoes and peppers!

  • 20 megan // Jun 22, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Ty – The Critter Ridder is the stuff we’ve used in the past, it didn’t work for us.

  • 21 Kathie // Jun 22, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Rabbits are afraid of cats & humans (& rightly so)…sprinkle old kittie litter and/or human hair (your barber should be willing to share).
    Sorry, dunno what deters cats.

  • 22 Patti // Jun 22, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Mothballs are REALLY TOXIC. And strong – a friend of mine put them in her crawlspace to ward off raccoons and her house reeked of them for ages.

    My cat used to bug me in bed – he’d poke me with his claws out and bite my head – yeah, I know – anyway, I put orange peels on each side of my pillow and he stayed away.

  • 23 courtney // Jun 22, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I have a “cat” garden along with my regular garden and that seems to keep them away. The cat garden has all their favorites – grass grown from birdseed, catnip, etc..

  • 24 M // Jun 22, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Orange peels worked for me. Just keep replacing them when they get yucky.

  • 25 Kuri // Jun 22, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Cayenne pepper worked for me after I planted my edibles. And prior to planting I’d had to chase my cat off of the garden patch a number of times. Once the plants are established you probably don’t have to worry.

    Another strategy is planting catnip in another area of the garden. They’ll go over there instead of ruining the plants you need to keep nice.

  • 26 megan // Jun 22, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Courtney and Kuri – It’s not that the cats are eating our plants, it’s that they are crapping in our planting beds. I’m trying to discourage them from doing that.

  • 27 Sharyn // Jun 22, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    What do you grow in your garden? Anything related to catnip – which includes peppermint, spearmint, cilantro, and basil – is going to attract cats regardless of what you do. And you’re absolutely right; mothballs are VERY toxic to domestic animals, especially cats. We just want to keep the little buggers from doing their “doody,” not make them sick.

    I’ve had the most success with diluting citrus oil in a spray bottle attachment for the garden hose and spraying both the plants and the perimeter of the garden. I use about a 1:10 solution, and although I’ve only used lemon I imagine orange, burgamot or grapefruit would do the trick, as well. But in all honesty, the only 100% way to keep cats out of your garden is to create some kind of enclosure.

    Good luck!

  • 28 wendee // Jun 22, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t know if this is true or not, but I once read that the reason the cats don’t like cayenne or red pepper flakes is that it irritates their eyes. If it gets in their eyes they can scratch themselves trying to get it out. Again, not sure of the source, but it sounds painful and harmful. Ouch!

  • 29 megan // Jun 22, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Sharyn – Right now we have three bushes planted, the rest is bare planting beds. I don’t think we’re going to plant anything that we’ll care about the cats eating, we just want to keep them away so they don’t poop, it’s a Southern exposure and gets very stinky. Thanks for the tips!

    Wendee – I’ll have to consider that!

  • 30 Kathryn // Jun 22, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    I was using cayenne pepper, but it kept washing off in the rain. Plus as much as I don’t like cats I didn’t want them to get hurt. I read a British website that suggested using plastic takeout forks stuck in the area you want to protect. It worked like a charm.

  • 31 Kristyn // Jun 22, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    I noticed when we dig and get the beds ready for planting, the cats come around and do their biz. Once we start planting they seem to go away. I think they just like the freshly dug up dirt. Its like kitty litter to them. Once you plant and start watering, the dirt will compact and the cats should go away. That has been my experience anyways…

  • 32 Kristina // Jun 22, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    I second the hair suggestion.

    Another thing that would work (but that I’m hesitant to suggest) is, uh, marking your own territory. It’s how large cats communicate to each other in the wild and it’s universal to all wild animals, as far as I know.

    Happily for you, only male urine does the trick, so Scott could pee in a soda can every so often and dribble it around the edges of your garden.

    Kind of gross, but organic and free. And while human urine is virtually sterile, cat feces are certainly not.

  • 33 KC // Jun 22, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    We’re trying broken skewers every couple of inches in the new beds. When I was at Swanson’s last week they had an automatic sprinkler with a motion sensor that would spray them with cold water for $100.

    Good luck!

  • 34 Lilijana Arliss // Jun 22, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    My mom has been having that same problem for the past few years; her favorite flower bed/digging around and gardening area always has a feline surprise in it every so often :( I asked one of my teachers who has almost a dozen cats, and she told my mom to dig out the surprise, the SOIL AROUND IT, and mix some used coffee grinds in the flower bed. That gets rid of the stench of the stuff-most cats only go to a certain place where they smell of their “business” is. After mixing the coffee grinds in the soil, go on ahead and give the ground surface a thin layer of coffee grinds-it worked for us!!

    Good luck!

  • 35 michelle // Jun 22, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    The cocoa shells that were suggested by Shannon do work as do hazelnut shells. Both I obtained from a nursery – and both worked extremely well. The shells are both unpleasant for the kitties to walk on – so they stay away. The chocolate smell of the cocoa beans will also deter…or that’s the theory. As a chocoholic, I loved the smell. :)

    We had a lot of stray cats in our neighborhood, and both of these worked like a charm. Like you, I did not like finding presents in the flower beds as I weeded.

  • 36 Sophie // Jun 22, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Someone told me about this product sold at Costco:
    http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11172948&whse=BC&Ne=4000000&eCat=BC|50126|27588&N=4018073&Mo=1&No=1&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=50387&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=

    It’s supposed to work against cats too.

  • 37 Sophie // Jun 22, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    sorry for the long link. it’s called the Sunforce Solar Pest Repeller if you want to search for it.

  • 38 Nicole // Jun 22, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Hi Megan!
    I always read your entries–they are so fun and are full of advice. I thought I saw an entry about Martha Stewart mini donuts. Can you link me to the entry? I have searched and searched and couldn’t find it!

  • 39 MJ // Jun 22, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Chicken wire, lay flat, snip some wires at regular intervals and bend upwards to poke little paws. Sounds cruel, but cats aren’t dumb, they will learn that this is not the place to poop. You can buy fancy plastic versions from gardening catalogs online, but this works well.

  • 40 Nicole // Jun 22, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    oh never mind! its in your “how to make” section. you would think that that would be the first place i would’ve looked…

  • 41 amy // Jun 22, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    I had this same problem when I lived on Eastlake in Seattle. My cat refused to go outside and ALWAYS tried to come back inside to go potty.

    The rest of the cats in the neighborhood LOVED my gardens for potty breaks.

    I used chicken wire, and while it was effective, it was a pain and I constantly kept getting scratched by it.

    I ended up sprinkling red pepper flakes on the ground – pretty heavily. I bought them in bulk. It appeared to do the trick.

    The only negative was the next year, I had to pull little pepper plants, but it was super easy and the plants didn’t come back after I used a hoe to get rid of them.

    It also lasted for the next few years.

    Cheap, easy, effective!

  • 42 Laura VW // Jun 23, 2007 at 5:38 am

    There’s a helpful and funny column about this in today’s (London) Times. The best recommendation seems to be the scardy cat plant mentioned above, Coleus Canina.

  • 43 stef // Jun 23, 2007 at 10:07 am

    like most of us who have left a comment, i’ve had this problem. what is with folks who let out their cats so they can use the neighbors’ yard as a litter box? inconsiderate.

    i’ve tried orange peels and those worked for a while but then had to reapply. i might try orange oil instead.

    i’ve tried pepper flakes but i probably didn’t put enough because they came back again.

    i might try the chicken wire or try more pepper flakes.

  • 44 Alicia H. // Jun 23, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I’m waging the same battle here. So far I’ve tried citrus peels (the cat ate them — no joke), squirting water (didn’t seem to bother him all that much), then we topped our beds with cedar mulch. When it was fresh, the cat stayed out of the beds. It’s been a few weeks, and the effect has worn off, so we’re going to top dress with a little more cedar.

    Glad others mentioned the dangers of mothballs — bad for cats and humans.

  • 45 Ann // Jun 23, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    When I lived in a basement apartment, cats peed in our window wells. Cayenne pepper worked to keep them out of the window wells, but we had to sprinkle it every two days or so. Costly, unless you’ve got a good bulk spice source!

  • 46 Letty // Jun 23, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    I used to have curious kitties and what ended up working (I had a potted urban garden) was a combination of sprinkled cayenne pepper powder and, believe it or not, toothpicks! I set up toothpicks, about a third of the way into the dirt all over the bottom of the plant. Neither cat liked this new development, and subsequently left my plants alone.

  • 47 Emma // Jun 24, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Um, isn’t privet a noxious weed that causes allergies and asthma?

  • 48 Allison // Jun 24, 2007 at 3:20 am

    I’ve had this very same problem…mothballs,they work.

  • 49 Allison // Jun 24, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Incidentally, toilet sanitizing blocks, the ones which are made to hang on a toilet rim are made of the same substance as mothballs. I purchased a few at .99 each and hung them from branches at the back of an existing hedge; too high for the kitties to eat. Yes, the odor is a little stong, but it’s better than smelling cat poo. :)

  • 50 Nia // Jun 24, 2007 at 6:54 am

    I would try a physical deterrent like the bird net they make for fruit trees. You can buy a bag of it and just place pieces it in and around the plant and on the groud and they’ll leave the area alone. I use it to keep the squirrels off of the bulbs in the fall. its a black net that blends in nicely with the plants. I use a natural product called ‘liquid fence’ its absolutely disgusting and expensive, but works for squirrels and rabbits. The good news is you can find recipes for it online, it’s basically onions, ‘putrefied eggs’ and soapy water.

  • 51 megan // Jun 24, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Emma – I have a Wax Leaf Privet which is “an evergreen shrub native to Asia”. I bought it at a reliable local nursery so I doubt they would sell me a noxious week. The Wikipedia entry for “privet” describes it as “all members of the genus Ligustrum, which includes about 40-50 species of evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous shrubs and small trees, native to Europe, north Africa, Asia and Australasia, with the centre of diversity in China, the Himalaya, Japan and Taiwan”. At the bottom in the Trivia section it says “Privet is a huge problem in New Zealand. It is banned from sale or cultivation in New Zealand due to the effects of its pollen on asthma sufferers. Privet pollen is known to cause asthma and eczema in sufferers.” The trivia section does not mention which species of privet might be considered a problem. Privet is considered an invasive species in some states (and probably in New Zealand) but not here in Washington state. On the Auckland Allergy they say this about privet allergies: “Most people who think they are allergic to privet are actually allergic to ryegrass, which is not as visible as privet.” I’ll let you know if we suffer allergies from them, but we’ll be planting a bunch more stuff that is more likely to affect us.

  • 52 megan // Jun 24, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Kathryn – Thank you, and excuse to get take out salads and pizzas!

    Kristin – I’m afraid our neighborhood cats are more tenacious.

    Kristina – Scott considered it and then said no. It was fun to ask though!

    KC – I didn’t see the sprinkler at Swanson’s. If we cannot deter them otherwise we might spend the money on it.

    Lilijana – That’s an idea. We’re surrounded by Starbucks and they most all carry those large bags of free used coffee grounds.

    Michelle – It’s good to know the cocoa shells worked! I like that a lot more than worrying about groundcover growing to fill in the bare spots.

    Sophie – Interesting. I’ll research this to see if it works. Our neighborhood cats are strays so they aren’t really afraid of anything.

    Amy – I’ll keep that in mind, I’m not looking forward to weeding pepper plants though!

    Laura – That’s hilarious! She’s going more crazy than I am. I don’t think a sonic repeller would stop the cats around here either. I’m hearing more and more about this coleus plant.

    Nia – thanks for the suggestions!

  • 53 Chris // Jun 24, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    I’ve had great luck with coffee grounds. A bag from Starbucks will last a long time, but with fresh plantings, I just wander out in the morning and sprinkle the grounds from my machine around the new plants. My cats stay at least two feet away from where I sprinkled the grounds. I tried the strong smelling cat repellant, but it repelled me!

  • 54 Elana // Jun 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    I’m in the same boat…our neighbor 2 doors up has a bunch of feral cats that she feeds and they hang out in their overgrown garden. I’m talking over 16 cats. I loathe cats. Our garden is large enough that it’s a massive pain to find the cat poop, scoop it up, water down the area, etc.

    I’ve tried hot pepper, the shake granules, the jelly granules, dogs, chicken wire, ground up rose bushes, mud, squirt guns, throwing balls at them…I mean, I’ve tried everything. *Nothing* works. They sleep on the rose bushes and the chicken wire. The granules and jelly things work for a few days, but we live in Ireland, so the rain makes them quite impotent quickly. Forget the citrus peels, they pooped in them (it was like a target!). I honestly have no ideas anymore. I just keep throwing tennis balls at them, any time I see them in the garden. So I’m following this discussion closely (as will my neighbors, once I tell them!)

  • 55 ivy // Jun 25, 2007 at 6:45 am

    Ive go teh same issue in my garden – some of the cats are mine, others, visitors. Since the cats are there to stay, peaceable coexistence and compromise are probably the best approach. I’ve dealt with the problem by mulching wiith cedar chips (NOT bark), plus some citrus peels/oil. The cats will still use the area as a public restroom to some extent, but the cedar mulch’s natural scent seems to cover it up adequately.
    Good luck!

  • 56 Magpie Ima // Jun 25, 2007 at 8:18 am

    The best luck we’ve had is with blackberry canes which are abundant around here. I just cut the canes to fit the space and fill in around the plants. The cats don’t like stepping on the thorns. However, they are awkward to work around and generally annoying to the gardener, though not as annoying as cat poop.

  • 57 Go Amie // Jun 25, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Please be careful with cocoa beans, cocoa shells, and cocoa mulch, as these are all toxic to dogs.

  • 58 Kuri // Jun 25, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Courtney and Kuri – It’s not that the cats are eating our plants, it’s that they are crapping in our planting beds. I’m trying to discourage them from doing that.

    I was talking about the same thing actually. The cayenne makes the dirt spicy, so it stings a bit when they try to dig. Therefore, they dig elsewhere. Once plants are established however, the cats don’t dig in there as much as when you’re just starting out, so you don’t need to do anything.

  • 59 Amanda // Jun 25, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    I just googled the dog/cocoa mulch thing and here’s an article that is sort of refuting that issue.

    I think if I had dogs, maybe I’d worry about them being unsupervised around it, but without dogs, I don’t think I’d worry too much about a random dog hanging out in my flower bed eating huge amounts of mulch. Just seems a little far-fetched.

  • 60 Tammy // Jun 26, 2007 at 8:50 am

    I have this problem too. The cats are doing their biz on my little seedlings. I am trying black pepper. It seems a little less harsh than red pepper.

  • 61 Kathryn // Jun 26, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I have the same problem with neighborhood cats. I use black plastic mesh in my veggie garden. You can get it at any garden store. It’s nice because it not only keeps cats out, but it keeps the weeds from growing. Plus, it has tiny holes to let water through to the soil.

  • 62 Jason // Jun 26, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Shannon/All:

    Be careful with any Cocao hull mulch. It can kill dogs if the Theobromide isn’t removed.

    http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp

    I know the post is about kitties but from one dog lover to others…..

  • 63 sixty-five // Jun 27, 2007 at 7:09 am

    In the same vein as the blackberry brambles, rose clippings and pea gravel, I’ve had success with green plastic picnic forks, pointy side up, placed strategically around the plants you don’t want trampled (for me it was the catmint). Cheap, nearly invisible – and they last from season to season.

  • 64 Entropy's bitch // Jul 7, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Plant catnip in with all your plants. They love it, and will quit going. It becomes their space, and they don’t poo where they go. I have had great luck with this! And, you get happy drunken kitties to make fun of. Good luck. But the coffee will be good for your garden anyway.

  • 65 sarah // Jul 8, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    hey megan – you’ve had lots of responses, but just wanted to chip in with Nia. I had a raised bed for organic veggies and wouldn’t you know it, the neighbour’s cat showed up! I had some bird netting on hand and I just put some little stakes in around the bed and stretched the netting across (being sure to tack it down at the edges, so he couldn’t sneak underneath) and that did it. He didn’t mess with my bed. Once the veg had grown in and filled up the spaces, I took it off – and it was fine! If I harvested one crop, I’d just stake/cover the bare dirt until the next one got growing.

    worked like a charm, and no risk to human or animal health! =)

  • 66 TRACER // Jun 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Holy CATS (no pun intended) … thanks for the GREAT ideas! My husband and I just moved into our 1st house and to my surprise … the neighborhood cats LOVE our flower beds!! Now we have cats but they are INDOOR ONLY! I DO NOT feel the need to clean up after our lazy neighbors! I’m going to try the coffee grounds in the “used” holes and I’m also going to place “White Mints” around our bushes (smell or no smell … damn those cats!!).

  • 67 Karen Simmons // Jul 22, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    I didn’t read about hanging bounce sheets. Any reason why? Has anyone tried it. Also I used alfalfa hay (cut up) and used as a mulch – cats didn’t like walking on it – let alone trying to dig through it. Didn’t need much – not thick layer necessary. thanks for all the input everybody!

  • 68 Kimberely // Feb 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I have been reading everyone’s ideas – and have yet to find one I haven’t tried. We have pea gravel in the backyard. The cats like using it for a toilet (along with my planting beds) and my pugs like to eat the Kitty Roca left behind. It is a gift that just keeps on giving! I have tried pepper, citrus, chicken wire, Roses with lots of thorns; I am at my wit’s end. We live in a rainy area so anything applied just washes away. A friend told me that she uses PineSol, but that is toxic to cats. I don’t want to kill them, just to quit using my yard as a kitty litter box. I cannot use any mechanical spraying means because that would spray my pugs, and I don’t want that. It is their yard afterall. Because pugs put anything in their mouths, I cannot use anything remotely toxic, i.e., moth balls. Is there no hope?

  • 69 Jim // May 13, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I have tried to be mister nice guy to the cats using my garden for a litter box. Unfortunatly I’m afraid I’m going to have to resort to the Ruger 10/22.

  • 70 Faux // May 21, 2013 at 7:44 am

    DON’T USE COCOA MULCH. EVER. It’s highly toxic to dogs and cats and if they eat it they WILL have health complications or die.

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