If you have a pet cat, then you know that they love to scratch. It's just a fact of life. Whether cats are digging up your garden or pooping in your flower pots, they can quickly wreak havoc in your garden.
But rather than letting them destroy your lovely garden, there are a few things as a cat owner you can do to keep them away from your yard and home. This helps you maintain a healthy and beautiful garden.
If you've tried everything and nothing has worked, try these 19 tips on how to keep cats away. They're all straightforward and inexpensive to implement, but they're highly effective in keeping the stray cat away from your yard.
Why do cats keep coming into your garden?
There are several reasons for cats to keep coming into your garden. Cats are by nature predators of small rodents such as rats and moles that are a frequent sight in gardens.
While this may help you control some garden pests, it becomes a nuisance if they keep returning to the same area.
If you have a cat in your home that spends a significant time outdoors, it may be making your garden magnet for the neighbourhood feral cat as well.
This is because your cat may be leaving dead birds, mice, or squirrels that attract other cats to your garden flower bed. Keeping their predatory instincts, cats are also territorial. They like to mark edges that they consider to be their area.
The other reason for cats to keep coming into your garden is that they use it as a litter box. The soft cool soil makes it a bit cooler for them to spend time on hot summer days.
They also like to scratch and dig the garden bed. It's the best place for them as it has soft ground and multiple plants for cats to enjoy.
Moreover, cats are creatures of habit, and they often perform specific actions at the same place and at the same time every day. This is a widespread behavior among female and male cats, and animal behaviorists call it a cat routine.
A neighborhood cat that doesn't get enough play or mental stimulation from its owner, or if they're stray cats, find ways to entertain themselves in the garden. After they have formed their routine, they like to keep coming back, which ultimately ruins your garden.
How do you keep stray cats off your yard?
There is no doubt that cats can wreak havoc on your garden and flowers. We all want to enjoy our beautiful garden without the worry of cats urinating or pooping on flower beds, or digging up our prized plant.
They can also pose a safety issue for children and pets. Here are 19 Tips to keep cats away from the yard:
1. Install fence around the yard
Fencing is a great way to stop cats from entering your garden. If properly installed and maintained, you can entirely prevent cats and other animals from entering your garden.
You can buy fences made of plastic or metals and consider the fence's height and depth for maximum effectiveness.
The cost of fencing your entire property can be prohibitive, so apply it strategically. You can install it around edible plants and flower beds, which are favorite places for an outdoor cat to visit.
In an extreme case, you can also opt for an electric wire fence that doesn't harm the cats but shocks them to prevent them from returning.
2. Take out pet foods from the yard
You shouldn't feed other cats and pets outdoor, encouraging them to come and hide in the garden expecting food.
If you have a bird feeder, keep it at a high place so the cat can't reach it and reduces its temptation to hunt the bird.
3. Use strong citrus cat repellents scents
Cats are sensitive to smells, and some citrus scents are too strong for them to bear. There are natural and synthetic scents available in the market that you can use to deter from coming back into your yard.
You can also scatter citrus fruit skins such as orange peel, mandarin, and lemon that keep cats away from your yard and become natural compost.
4. Use rocks and thorns to spread around the soil
Most often, cats use your garden for playing, resting, and pooping. The garden's soft texture is very inviting to them, and they find comfort there.
When you spread small rocks or thorny plants branches such as rose bush cutting, it makes them uncomfortable to sit and rest in your garden.
You can use small stones, pebbles, toothpicks, chicken wire, scat mat, pine cone, aluminum foil, bark mulch, and short thorny twigs to spread at the garden bed.
5. Squirt water to keep cats away
If you have a cat at home, you may have noticed that they don't like getting wet. Squirting water through a hose or through a sprinkler is a great way to keep cats away.
You can also install a motion activated sprinkler that is very effective in discouraging cats from returning.
6. Grow plants in a garden that cat hate
There are certain plants smell that cats don't like. You can grow these plants as companion planting in your garden to keep cats away.
You can grow plants such as Lavender, Lemon Thyme, Geranium, Absinthe, and Coleus Canina that cats hate.
You can plant these cats repelling plants around the garden edges and some between other plants. Growing these plants look natural while keeping cats away.
7. Create a more favorable outdoor litterbox for cats
If you find that cats are using your garden as a litter box, you can entice them by creating a dedicated litterbox for them. You can choose a far corner of your yard away, which isn't in direct view.
You can spread peat moss and sandbox in a small enclosed area and place a couple of pieces of cat poop in it to invite cats to use that as a litterbox. To reduce the odor, you can scoop the waste and replace the peat moss regularly.
8. Scatter coffee ground in the yard
Cats don't like the strong smell of coffee grounds. You can wrap coffee grounds in a small cloth and place it around your garden, on the steps, on window sills, porch, or any place you want to keep cats away from.
The smell of coffee grounds is unpleasant to cats, but not to gardeners or people. It will keep cats out of the area for a couple of weeks or until the grounds are removed.
9. Let loose your pet dog
If you have a dog, it's a great way to keep cats away from your garden. Cats don't like dogs as they don't feel safe in their presence, so they will avoid your yard.
You can even build a small fence in the garden to keep the dogs inside the garden, and their presence keeps cats away.
10. Use predatory urine to scare cats
There are urine mixtures of predatory animals, such as foxes, in the market that comes in a spray bottle for easy application.
It's a natural, harmless substance that scares cats as it makes them feel that it's a predatory animal territory, and they tend to avoid that area.
You can spray it on flower beds, pots, and other areas in your yard that attract your neighborhood furry felines. "Shake Away Coyote/Fox Urine Granules" is very popular and effective. When roaming cats smell it, they avoid the area as they're picky about where they leave their droppings to not leave their trail.
11. Wrap your susceptible plants in the garden
If your primary reason to stop unwanted cats from visiting your garden is to protect plants, you can wrap these plants when they're most vulnerable.
You can also wrap tender bark of newly planted trees or rows of peppers and beans ripening in a vegetable garden.
12. Lay traps to catch a cat
Traps are the most efficient way to catch and get rid of a cat that is ruining your garden. The traps shouldn't be cruel but must be effective. You can use live traps like a cage with a door that shuts when the cats enter it to get at the bait inside.
You can catch the cat unharmed, that you can take it to the animal shelter. Some community has Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR programs) that captures the stray cats, and veterinarian neuter and eartip these before releasing.
13. Use a high-frequency sound deterrent
Cats have sensitive ears as they help them to catch rodents and other animals for food. Their hearing frequency is higher than humans, which allows them to hear a sound that humans can't hear, but they do.
You can install these high-frequency sound deterrents in your garden that is controlled by motion sensors.
When the device senses the cat's movement, it emits high pitch sound that scares them off. You can also install wind chimes around the garden that makes a sound to scare the cat.
14. Clean up your yards
If your yard is cluttered, cats may find it attractive to hide and raise a family there. These places are also inviting places for small rodents to breed, which attracts cats for food.
You should clean up your yard and dump any garbage. Board up fence holes to prevent cats from getting in. Keep the shed door locked up to control feral cats from taking refuge inside.
15. Place wooden or plastic chopsticks in the garden
This is an ancient technique to keep cats out of your garden. You can insert these in the soft ground every couple of inches apart to discourage cats from sitting or roaming around.
Keeping the chopstick's tops exposed doesn't hurt the cat but makes them feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
16. Use light reflectors to scare cats
A sudden light reflection makes cats get spooked and run away. You can buy pet repellent light reflectors or use old CDs/DVDs, plastic bottles, and mirrors. You can hang these around in your garden to scare them.
However, this technique is only useful for a short period. Once these cats find out it's not threatening, they start to ignore it.
17. Clean up cat pees and feces
Cats mark their territory with pees. Eliminating their pee and cleaning cat feces makes them feel that it's not their territory. They become cautious going there.
Moreover, cat feces contain diseases and germs that aren't good for the garden. Removing it helps prevent the spread of infection to plants.
18. Spray homemade vinegar cat repellent
You can prepare a homemade vinegar to spray around the garden corners to deter cats from coming.
You can add 1 cup of vinegar in 1 cup of water and small dish soap to prepare the pest repellent solution. Fill it in a spray bottle and spray it around where you find a kitty to be visiting.
19. Spread Tobacco leaves in the garden
Tobacco leaves have a strong smell that cats hate. You can spread it around the garden that looks natural and stops the cats from coming to your yard. If you don't have tobacco leaves, you can use pipe tobacco leaves from the store.
You can also plant tobacco plants if it's legal in your area. These have large, green leaves that look like catnip, but their strong smell repels cats. Tobacco plants are easy and inexpensive to grow, but they're types of plants smoked or ingested by people or pets.
Ingestion of tobacco leaves in large quantities can become toxic and harmful to pets. Use proper safety precautions such as wearing gloves and a long shirt when handling tobacco plants, but the smell should keep cats away.
How do you keep cats away from a doormat?
Doormats are great for wiping your feet on, but they may not be so ideal for keeping a domestic cat away from it. Cats have a tendency to use these doormats as a scratching mat.
As a pet owner, you may often find a doormat to look unclean littered with cat hair on it. A simple solution to this problem is to buy a commercial cat repellent that you can spray on the doormat.
You can also prevent cats from door dashing and stops them from playing on the doormat. You should regularly wash the doormat to remove any cat urine or dirt from it. A clean doormat makes it unfamiliar for cats to get attracted.
How do you keep cats away from your birdcage?
It's a common concern for many bird owners to keep cats away from their bird cages. Cats are natural predators, and they can destroy your birdcage and birds. When you have cats getting close to the birdcage, that scares the birds and makes them stressed.
This isn't healthy for birds, and you need to create a safe space around your bird. The best way is to use nylon cable ties that you wrap around the cage's top. The cable tie has a sharp end at the top that discourages the cat from sitting or coming near to birdcage.
How do you keep a cat off your car?
If you have a cat that likes clawing the heck out of your car, you can try a few different approaches to keep your feline friend from making an unsightly mess. One of the easiest ways to keep a cat off your car is to remove its access to the vehicle by keeping the car door closed.
The other option is to use a cat repellent such as mothballs or cayenne pepper around the vehicle, such as a car roof, tires, and on the hood. You can also use lemon and soap detergent spray solution for repelling cats that you can spray around the car parking area.
If you have a garage, keep the car stored in a garage with the door closed. This blocks the indoor cat's physical access to the vehicle. If you don't have a garage, you can use a car cover to prevent a cat from scratching the surface.
You can also install the motion activated water sprinkler directed toward the cats. The sudden water spray spooks the cat and stops them from coming close to your car.
Does ammonia keep cats away?
Ammonia (NH3) has long been used as a household cleaner, and it's also useful to keep cats away naturally. Ammonia has a strong, pungent urine-like smell. It's also one of the main ingredients in most commercial pet repellents.
When you sprinkle ammonia around your home and garden, cats recognize it as another pet's territory and tend to avoid that area. This is highly effective in deterring feral cats that are strongly territorial.
If you decide to use ammonia, remember that it disperses very quickly in the air, and if you're going to use it, you have to use a lot of it. Ensure it doesn't come into contact with your skin or eyes, as it can be dangerous.
The best is to find a cat repellent solution that has a small concentration of ammonia in it. Cats hate the smell of ammonia and avoid the sprayed area, making it an effective and safe way to repel them.
Over to you
We have covered several ways to keep cats away from your garden and home. Some techniques may work better than others. You can test and switch over if some strategy doesn't work effectively.
You shouldn't allow cats to visit your garden as it may become an attractive spot for them to defecate, which can then contaminate soil and plants.
Even if you're a cat lover, you can choose the method that doesn't harm the animal. If all else fails, contact your local animal control authority and ask for their guidance to get rid of rogue cats.
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