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People understandably love their pet cats. But if you love your garden you might not be so keen on the neighbourhood moggies using your well-tended plot as a public kittie-convenience.
Cats are curious and love to wander to get to know their neighbourhoods. They go hunting for prey, they seek food, they look for places to curl up, they go looking for a mate or they may even be searching for a new home. They are exceptional climbers and thanks to their powerful rear-end muscles a healthy cat can jump around 6 times their length in a single leap. So what practical, effective measures can you take to deter cats from your garden? Here are some effective, low-cost cat deterrent, repellent and distraction techniques that are worth trying.
Cats have exceptional olfactory capabilities. They have around 200 million odour-sensitive cells in their noses whereas humans have around 5 million. Cats mark their territories with urine and faeces, using their acute sense of smell to detect and identify marks left by other cats. They can also detect pheromones released when a female cat is in heat and ready to mate, somewhere in the vicinity.
Since the feline sense of smell is so acute its not surprising that really strong odours can cause them some disturbance and even discomfort. Here are some low-cost, home made, scent-based cat repellent techniques that have worked for many people.
Easy to make at home by mixing white vinegar with water, vinegar spray has been found to be highly effective in many situations. And not only will it repel cats, it’s also effective in repelling birds and other creatures. Simply make up your vinegar mix in a spray bottle and apply to all of the areas where cats like to leave their territorial marks. Be certain to go over the most popular areas several times and re-apply every few days, or immediately after it’s rained.
Citronella oil is distilled from grasses but smells like lemons. It is well-known and widely respected as an effective insect and animal repellent. To make an effective citronella spray all you need to do is add around 30 drops of citronella to a cup of water and apply using a spray bottle. The really good thing about citronella is that it sticks around, even after it rains, and it smells great.
The strong smell of coffee can be enough to keep cats off of your garden. Simply take your fresh, wet coffee grounds and distribute them around your borders and plants where you want to discourage feline attention. What’s more, the coffee grounds are entirely biodegradable so they will decompose and enrich your soil.
Garlic is well known as an excellent animal repellent due to its strong odour. When used in conjunction with other strong smelling, natural ingredients such as lavendar or pepper, it forms a highly effective aroma-based repellent which is entirely safe to spray on plants.
Cats are creatures of habit so you may be suffering due to repeat use of your vegetable plot as a feline convenience. This may be due to neighbourhood cats or even your own pet cat who likes to return to a certain spot in your garden to do their business.
An effective technique is to provide a specifically allocated area in your garden which cats prefer to use. Turning over the soil in a secluded corner of the garden and planting some catnip will potentially make the area far more appealing than your vegetable plot. Gardeners will know that cats like to use freshly turned soil as a kittie-litter, so why not provide them with what they want in a secluded corner, away from your valued plants and vegetables. This is particularly applicable to gardeners who have pet cats of their own.
A cheap and easy technique which is reported to be effective by a number of gardeners uses old, clear plastic, 2 litre water bottles. Add a small amount of water to each bottle (about a quarter full) and then place each bottle, on it’s side, in amongst your flowers and plants.
Sunlight reflecting from the water surface can scare or startle cats, prompting them to keep away. While many have reported success in using this technique there are others who report that their problem moggies simply ignore the water bottles and continue to be an annoyance.
Sonic devices, designed to irritate animals, emit soundwaves at frequencies which are above the human hearing range. While they are irritating to animals the soundwaves are completely harmless. Ultrasonic cat repellent devices are available which are triggered by proximate movement so these can be placed around the garden perimeter or adjacent to boundaries with neighbours who have pet cats. Never use ultrasonic animal repellents if you have pets yourself as the sound is likely to scare them away.
Given that cats respond to strong odours it’s not surprising that there are many plants which can act as effective repellents. And since we are considering how to keep cats from being a nuisance in the garden it makes sense to consider a plant-based solution.
Rue (herb-of-grace) is a strong smelling herb that’s commonly grown as an ornamental plant. It’s used as a traditional food flavouring in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.
Other plants that are known to repel our feline friends include eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella and lavender. Planting a boundary of cat repelling plants between your garden and your neighbouring cats can be a totally effective technique.
If you have a problem with unwanted moggies coming into your garden then you will have probably seen them skillfully negotiating the narrowest of ledges and fence tops. Cats are fearless climbers and have incredible balance skills. But they are also, as noted, creatures of habit. So if know the pathways used by the feline intruders into your garden you can take some practical steps that will deter them.
Anti cat fence spikes are a totally harmless way to keep these furry infiltrators from entering your garden via boundary fencing. Pre-formed plastic security spikes are quickly and easily attached to fence tops, walls or ledges. When a cat tries to walk along the protected fence top there isn’t enough room between the spikes for their paws making it very uncomfortable and difficult for them to make progress. As a result, they turn-tail and go back the way they came.
These fence-top spikes are not only good for keeping unwanted cats out of your garden they are also highly effective at keeping your own pet cats in your property, preventing them from being a nuisance to neighbours.
By taking a considerate, common sense approach it should be possible to find a cat repellent solution that works for you and the cats you need to repel. Wherever anti climb spikes are used to protect non-domestic premises warning signs must be displayed. And it is recommended that anti cat spikes are not installed on surfaces which are below head height.
If you have any questions or concerns about keeping animals and birds off your property we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll give you some free, expert advice.
This message was added on Thursday 17th October 2019
Need Help or Advice?
Call the Insight team
01273 475 500