Holly from OR
This is a question that comes up a lot. I'm going to list all of the tactics that I can think of and hope readers can give you some additional tips.
Talk To Your Neighbors (Try to Resolve The Problem Amicably)
This is the logical first step, but I realize that often times it's impossible to know to whom these cats really belong to. If you know where it is that the little darlings call home, it's time to meet your neighbors.
Before you appear on their doorstep, check with your city government about local leash laws. I'm sure that once you educate your neighbors on the possibility of kitty ingesting potentially toxic plants, the dangers of handling soil contaminated by feces and your legitimate concerns over the safety of backyard birds, they will be more then happy to let kitty play indoors for the rest of the summer (or at least somewhere far away from your garden). Should the acquisition of this information fail to initiate the response you're looking for, kindly let them know that, regrettably, you'll be forced to call animal control if kitty persists in selecting your flowerbeds as a place to relive herself.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
Cayenne pepper or Vicks Vapor Rub (or Icy Hot, get the generic from the dollar store). Sprinkle the pepper around, rub the Vicks on the fence or some Popsicle sticks. Don't use the common remedy of mothballs as they are poisonous. (07/17/2006)
Our cats hate the essential oils we put out to deter bugs. Peppermint and Eucalyptus, and Echinacea are the three we use. (07/18/2006)
Used coffee grounds are said to deter cats, and as an added bonus are good for the soil, also citrus peels (oranges/lemons); I had good success in deterring my cats from scratching on the ottoman by using lemon essential oil in a spray bottle (07/19/2006)
Look for a "Scarecrow Sprinkler". It is motion activated to send a 3-second burst of water. Keeps cats, dogs, and deer away, but it is way too tempting for the neighborhood kids. I turn mine off in the daytime. (07/19/2006)
I would lay garden netting over the soil. After a few times the cats should lose interest and move on (07/25/2006)
I realize my response to the above post is from 2006, but I thought I needed to update it. I recently received an email from someone who read my response and was concerned over my recommendation to use cayenne pepper as a deterrent. She cited several serious injuries that could occur to cats as a result of ingesting pepper or getting it into their eyes. I agreed with her.
Ironically, most of the commercial animal repellents you find in garden centers do contain some form of cayenne pepper, usually in fairly low concentrations. Many garden books also cite it as a home remedy,
including those written by Jerry Baker. My information came directly from Cat Fanciers of
America (you can also find it posted on their website).
After checking several other sources, I have discovered that several SPCA websites also list cayenne pepper as safe to use as a deterrent for cats (although they do warn the people using it not to let it touch their skin). I have not seen any shelter websites warn against using it, but I did read one account of a cat owner whose cat suffered injuries from pepper poisoning.
Apparently, not everyone is on the same page on whether or not this remedy is safe.
Personally, I am of the opinion that safe is better than sorry when it comes to the possibility of injuring an unsuspecting animal, so I no longer recommend using it. Cat owners; please respect your neighbor's gardens.
Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!