Gardeners’ tips and tricks to deter neighbours’ cats from using their gardens as a toilet!

This post is about some tips and tricks that gardeners might employ if they are concerned about neighbours’ cats coming into their garden, digging around in the soil and going to the toilet. It happens and it causes an enormous amount of upset to the dedicated gardener who has spent donkeys years cultivating their garden to the pinnacle of aesthetic achievement. And I am totally sympathetic to their feelings. Cat owners and lovers should respect the thoughts and aspirations of others provided they are reasonable.

Ground cover plants are good for stopping cats peeing and pooping in your garden as the soil is inaccessible.
Ground cover plants. Top left and the bottom row are highlighted below. Tell me which ones they are in a comment! Image: MikeB based on images on the Bob Vila website.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There are some things a gardener can do and I’ve hinted at what that might be in the above paragraph. Domestic cats like to use soft soil in which to poop and pee. That’s because they can dig a hole in it and do their business and then cover up the hole. Although cats don’t always cover up their poop. It depends on their mentality and personality.

Minimise the amount of exposed soil

The point is to make sure that there is little or no exposed soil in the garden and you can achieve that utopian ideal from a cat deterrent perspective by planting closely to reduce access to it. And I don’t think it is very difficult for a gardener to plan their garden so that the shrubs and the flowers are close together.

Groundcover plants

I’m not green fingered at all but I know that you can buy shrubs which are designed to grow over the ground, creating a carpet hiding the soil beneath. This kind of shrub would be ideal I would suggest and it looks good too.

You haven’t got to search on Google to find easy to care for groundcover plants. Here are a dozen:

  1. Coral Bells
  2. Honeysuckle
  3. Brass Buttons
  4. Creeping Phlox
  5. Creeping Jenny
  6. Stonecrop
  7. Periwinkle
  8. Dead Nettles
  9. Grace Ward Lithodora
  10. Creeping Thyme
  11. Hardy Ice Plant
  12. Native Zinnia

Chippings and prickly plants

Secondly, a gardener can use stone chippings, prickly plants, rocks or netting to cover bare soil to make it highly uncomfortable for a domestic cat to travel through those areas.

Some smelly deterrents which might work

Thirdly, I would like to briefly touch on the ‘smell deterrents’ that are often recommended. You’ll see lots of different suggestions on what to put down to deter a domestic cat through the odour that they emit. I don’t really believe in them but I will mention a couple here. Rebecca Watson, with Dr. DG Hessayon in their book The Cat Expert suggest the following, “Spread citrus peel, “Silent Roar” (lion-dung pellets) or chicken-manure pellets on any area on which you don’t want a domestic cat to wonder.”

They say that domestic cats dislike the smell and they will avoid the area. Well, there are some more suggestions for you. I presume, too, that the chicken-manure pellets help to fertilise the plants! Yep, as I said I am not green-fingered.

Ultrasonic acoustic deterrents

Fourthly, I have written about this before and researched the matter. The ultrasonic acoustic deterrents have been found to deter cats about 50% of the time. That I would consider a success seeing as most of the suggestions that you see on the Internet are positively unsuccessful. You read about that ultrasonic suggestion clicking on this link if you wish.

Fencing and roller tops

Fifthly, if you want to go to extraordinary lengths to keep out cats, you can build a fence around your garden with an overhang pointing outwards. It would have to be constructed to a high standard with a big overhang and be tall. That’s because some domestic cats are very good at navigating overhangs. The material of the netting would have to be cat proof by which I mean a domestic cat will be unable to bite through it.

An alternative to the mesh fence as described would be an ordinary fence with roller bars affixed to the top. When the cat reaches the top and they grab the roller bar they are thrown backwards because the it spins and they can’t get any purchase on it.

I hope these help a little. The best suggestion is the ground cover shrubs.

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