If you are a cat owner, then you already know that the vegetable garden and flowerbeds are a favorite hangout for frolicsome felines! Whether it’s trampling, digging, or leaving a not-so-special surprise (when will they learn that the rose bushes and strawberry patch are NOT outdoor litter boxes?), cats can cause some serious damage to your outdoor landscaping and gardens. Unless your cat is already very well trained and knows which areas in the yard are strictly off-limits, here are a few simple and humane tricks to keep those curious kitties in check:
– Create a physical barrier. If you want to protect your vegetables or flowers from your cat, try sticking toothpicks into the surrounding soil to create a physical barrier (pokey toothpicks will surely be avoided by paws!). Another option is investing in the Cat Scat, which is a prickly plastic mat designed to deter cats without physically harming them. If you have an especially stubborn cat, you may want to try draping chicken wire or deer fence material in order to really block off restricted areas.
– What’s that smell? Cats have a strong sense of smell, so deterring them with scents that aren’t so pleasant to them can often work wonders. Try sprinkling coffee grinds, citrus peels, lavender, or even a bit of cayenne pepper directly onto soil and around garden beds (easy on the cayenne pepper, though— overdoing it could cause some painful stinging and burning of your cat’s nose and eyes). Natural essential oils like eucalyptus, citronella, and peppermint, may also do the trick. The goal here is to deeply offend your cat’s nose, so to really ensure that the scent spreads you can mix any of these natural household items with water and spritz liberally around the garden. However, if you are feeling really desperate and are in a pinch, there are always organic cat repellant formulas that you can buy online or at pet or home & garden stores.
– Loud noises and scary sprinklers! Cats generally hate water, and they also despise disturbing sounds. If you’ve already tried and failed with threatening your cat with a spray bottle, and/or furiously clapping while yelling profanities, then we suggest something a bit more conspicuous and effective: installing motion-activated sprinklers or an ultrasonic device. The motion-activated sprinklers speak for themselves; your cat unknowingly tiptoes through the tulips, and then on go the sprinklers— genius! If you are trying to save money on your water bill, then we suggest trying an ultrasonic device. Also motion-activated (much like an electric dog fence), the device will emit an ultrasonic sound that is undetectable for humans yet unbearable for cats. These options are definitely not the cheapest, but if your cat is destroying your garden and still not getting it, then they may be worth looking into!