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.