We love cats but they can be a nuisance in the garden. See How to Keep Cats Away!
Dealing with Stray Cats
Let me first say I absolutely adore cats, my mom had 13 cats at one time when I was little. She would rescue them and they had their own room built on to the house.
What I don’t like though, is working out in the garden and grabbing a big old cat turd while I am planting my flowers. (I thought we could all use a little humor lol).
Seriously though, cat feces can contain harmful bacteria and even the parasite that causes Toxoplasmosis. It’s not as dangerous to 100% of the population — but pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system can end up with it after coming in direct contact. Something we take seriously!
That combined with the fact we just built a beautiful new bird sanctuary as a focal point in our yard- means we don’t necessarily want cats around to try to catch prey! So far the bird sanctuary hasn’t had any unwanted visitors!
That led me to do a little research and figure out how to keep these lovely- and pesky- guys from entering my garden quite as often.
How to Keep Cats Away
I knew I wanted natural deterrents. Not only do we believe in using natural products whenever possible, for the general health of our garden and wildlife, but we have an organic garden that I don’t want to add chemicals to!
Tip- Lay Down Pine Products
Growing up with cats around, I’ve had the advantage of learning what they like and dislike. Cats love a soft spot to walk on or plop down into and relax. Well, that nice soft area might just end up being your garden!
Gardens are naturally shady with cool ground that cats prefer over gravel and concrete.
An easy preventative is to lay down a ground cover that isn’t so soft. Pine cones, pine mulch, and anything prickly to walk over will keep them from wanting to relax in the garden.
I also just finished a post about laying dried egg shells around your tomato plants. These are definitely not fun to walk on, so might also work for preventing cats in the garden.
If you are already in the market for garden sprinklers, consider a motion detector to come on when there is a rodent (or cat) walking around the garden.
This will not only deter cats but other animals you would rather move on to the next lawn!
Plants and Scents To Keep Cats Away-
We are really fans of companion planting, and using natural plant species to do the work for us! We have a few plants to deter end rot, and some to keep away mosquitoes as well.
So, I was excited to learn that certain plants can also deter cats! You can plant common herbs like Rosemary and Lavender, or opt for lesser known plants such as Pennyroyal, Curry or Rue. Be sure to read up on these plants to see their care and where to plant in the garden.
Lavender is my pick, since you can use this plant for other projects as well. Win win!
Don’t throw out those old fruit peels! This is a great tip that will cost you zero out of pocket! Cats do not like citrus scents. Just throw your old citrus peels into the garden instead of the trash.
You can shred these up in small pieces and scatter around the places the cats tend to mark. (Anywhere you smell cat urine has been sprayed, or find cat feces). Remember, cats will return to the same places again and again.
Essential Oil Sprays –
This one isn’t applicable to everyone since we all don’t have a collection of essential oils ready to go, but if you already have them on hand, it’s a great tip!
Cats dislike Lavender (as above), and Lemongrass. You can mix up a diluted spray for your garden and spray around where they mark.
Of course you can also do orange, and citronella (this has the added benefit of the fact mosquitoes do not like the scent).
Find out more about Young Living Essential Oils here.
Important note: Use Essential Oils with caution, and only where they will not be ingested in any way by animals.
For citrus scents, you can even take a small spray bottle and add lemon juice and water to it like the Real Lemon, and spray in the garden, if you are not comfortable using lemon essential oil.
Finally- Alert Animal Control
I am not an expert of course, but if you’re finding that you have a serious problem with stray cats in your area, it might be time to contact your local Animal Control office.
Stray cats can unfortunately bring along diseases, fleas, ticks and other parasites into your area and share them with your own pets. Feral cats can also be a safety problem if you have kids around, who are trying to pet them or catch them. It may not be a quick solution, but hopefully they patrol the area and help catch and contain some of them.
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Disclaimer: This post is sharing information only and not meant to substitute for expert advice. Thanks for reading!