You've worked so hard on the garden this year, so the last thing you want is for neighborhood or feral cats to intrude, chew on your plants, go bathroom, or dig in your soil. In fact, there are many ways to prevent cats from entering and destroying your garden. Use the following tips to keep the cats away.
Approach the cat owner and express your concerns before taking any action in your own garden. Often a quick conversation with the owner will result in an agreement to manage the cat better at certain times of day. You could also suggest the owner lure the cat away with catnip or cat grass in its own home environment.
Use natural or chemical scent repellents to ward off unwanted cats. Avoid spraying or placing chemical repellents near a vegetable garden, however. If you're unsure whether the chemical is safe for food items, consult a nursery or garden center before applying to your yard. Spray fences, gates, and plants with the repellent and be sure to replenish after a rain.
Plant the herb, Coleus Calina three feet around the area you want to protect. The herb emits an odor which is fine for people, but extremely distasteful to cats. You can order this herb in seed or plant form from online retailers, but be careful to buy the right one as there are several Coleus herbs available.
Consider using natural household items to scare cats off such as coffee grounds, tea leaves, pipe tobacco, orange and lemon peels, cayenne pepper, peppermint oil, lavender oil, and citronella oil. Just scatter over the affected area.
Make your own repellent using a mixture of 5 parts flour, 3 parts dry mustard, and 2 parts cayenne pepper. Scatter over the desired area.
Avoid using moth balls as a deterrent near a vegetable garden. They are poisonous and can contaminate your food.
You can also purchase commercial natural animal repellents from a pet store or online distributers, but they usually need to be reapplied after 10 days.
Install an infrared motion sensor sprinkler system. When the sensor detects the presence of a cat intruder, it will spurt water in its direction. The sprinkler will not wet the cat, but scare it away. This type of sprinkler system does not work in winter climates, however. But if you put it to use other times of year, the cat will learn not to enter your garden.
Arrange materials near your garden that are uncomfortable for cats to step on or make it impossible to dig. Cat Scat is a plastic mat that rests on the floor of flower beds, preventing cats from digging. Scatter flat river rocks or jagged sharp rocks in the garden, or place thorny branches, mulch, netting, or pine cones around the growing plants and flowers.
Install a device that emits a high frequency sound when it senses an animal. The sound is not audible to humans, but it is very disturbing for felines. If you have a large yard, you will need several of these devices to cover that surface area. The brand Catstop is effective over a surface area of 280 square feet. One option is to purchase two devices and arrange them facing each other at the entrance to the garden or yard. If the cat, intercepts the line, the sound will be triggered. These devices can be used in all types of weather, but because they run on battery, they will need to be replaced often.
Assess your yard and garden for reasons why cats may be attracted to it. Do you have a bird house? A big pile of peat moss? Or furniture to scratch? Remove any items that may be the cat's primary motivation.
Encourage feline visitors to be distracted away from your garden by creating a sandbox especially for them. Use a rubbermaid box and fill it with sand, cat litter, or peat moss. Although it seems like a compromise and you have to do additional work to change the sand and maintain the box occasionally, the effort and labor required here is easier than trying to restore a destroyed garden.
It's important to be humane in your treatment of intruding cats. Rather than spraying them with water or repellent when you see them, incorporate deterrents into your garden that make it a less attractive place even when you are not there. The cat will quickly learn not to invade your garden.