I’ve had a couple of people ask me how to keep cats out of a garden. Just this morning someone asked me this at Gardengirl’s Journal. I had the feeling that I knew the answer to this, but the only response I could come up with off the top of my head was, “Get a dog.” I decided that she probably didn’t want my smart aleck remark and embarked on a mission to discover the answer. What I found ranged from intriguing to absurd with a lot of useful things to try in between.
Some of the funnier suggestions were to put bubble wrap or strips of masking tape where they do their business. The bubble wrap crinkles and sometimes pops and scares them away and the masking tape sticks to their feet and they run off a little freaked out. One suggestion was to blow up balloons and plant them with about one inch of soil covering them. When the cats start digging they pop the balloon and well, just picture that in your head.
Some of the more dangerous ideas were to place cuttings from rose bushes on the ground where the cats frequent the garden. They step on them and bug out. Really, who likes thorns in their feet? I wouldn’t use that idea because it could be harmful to the cats and to me. Could you possibly think of a better way to make weeding your garden more unpleasant? One person also suggested scattering jacks around, but that would be too much work for me, having to pick them up every time I wanted to do something in the garden. Several people recommended moth balls. Do not spread these out in the soil if you decide to try this method. Moth balls have some nasty chemicals in them. The recommended method was to put them in a glass canning jar and punch several holes in the lid to let the nasty smell out, and then place the jars in your beds. Not something I would do for several reasons no matter how effective it is.
These two folks had some good ideas and I always love to share ideas from other bloggers. I think the balloon idea was actually from the herb gardener on blogspot.
I prefer to do things the natural way and not introduce anything harmful into the mix. Many of the suggestions involved using citrus rinds, red and/or black pepper, and other aromatics. Apparently cats want to smell their pooh and will return to the same spots over and over. What smell good to us is repulsive to them and after a while they stay away. Chris (above link) was opposed to using peppers because he likened it to spraying the cats with mace. I think it would be more like us getting a noseful of black pepper and sneezing for half an hour.
Here is a list of suggestions that I would try:
- throw orange peel or used grapefruit and lemon rinds in the garden-They also break down to make good mulch and are colorful when you first put them out there
- plant aromatic ground covers such as creeping thyme or oregano-They serve many purposes: block weeds, cats don’t like the smell, they smell good to us, and you can eat them!
- plant lemon grass-Apparently, they use it as a tiger deterrent in India. It should keep away our little domestic kitties if it works for them. (I just planted some myself last week! Purely coincidental) It does grow to be about 10 ft. tall so plan appropriately.
- intersperse herb plants throughout flower and vegetable beds-Whether you harvest them or not, they are beautiful plants and they all smell delicious!
- plant a small bed of catnip (cat mint) away from your gardens-The cats will be attracted to that and may stay away from your other gardens. Catnip is a mint and spreads quickly. It’s best to keep it in a contained space unless you want it to naturalize.
*DISCLAIMER: I have several neighborhood cats that visit my yard, but have never had a problem with them in my beds. A few possible reasons for this:
- I plant a lot of herbs around my yard.
- I have wild cat mint that grows all around the edges of my yard under evergreens.
- I feed my roses with rotten bananas.
- I have a dog that chases them away.
- I often throw citrus rinds around my yard, because they degrade and are beneficial (and I’m too lazy to walk all the way over to the garbage can and throw them away).
I hope this helps some of you!
- Project Optimism-How Does Your Garden Grow? (gardengirl92.wordpress.com)
- The Local Garden Shop Has a Cat Named Basil… (spacefarms.wordpress.com)
- Cats be gone ~ Best Cat Repellent Plants (auntiedogmasgardenspot.wordpress.com)
- Growing Mosquito Repelling Plants In Our Backyard (backyardgardeningtips.com)