Q: How can I keep the neighbor's cat out of my garden?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Windella from Pasadena, CA
This question really comes up a lot and seems to be a universal problem among gardeners. There are a variety of tactics to keep the neighbor's cats out of the garden. First of all, talk to your neighbors about your concerns. Tell them you don't want their cats ingesting any harmful plants, you want to be able to consume your vegetables without worrying about contamination and you're worried about the safety of backyard birds. If your neighbors seem completely unreasonable, check with your city government about leash laws and make sure your neighbor knows that you will be forced to call animal control if the problem persists.
Other tactics to try:
Q: I'm sure you've been asked this question a hundred times already, but here goes anyhow. First off, I live in a duplex with a fenced-in back yard. I am fortunate in the fact that I have some space in which to garden for veggies and have a nice flower patch along with a few rose bushes. My problem is my neighbor's cats. Don't get me wrong, I do love cats, just not in my back yard. I have an old dog, but would not want to use anything that would either hurt my dog or the cats. I just want to be able to get them out of my yard and keep them out (except for Bogie, of course). Other than spraying them with the water hose when I see them, do you have any other suggestions that would be workable in keeping the cats out of my yard?
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Thank you and God bless...
Mary from Redding, CA
First of all, it's unfortunate that your neighbors feel it's okay to let their cats roam freely about the neighborhood. Not only does it put backyard wildlife in jeopardy, but also, it's dangerous for the cats. Fortunately for your neighbors, you're a cat lover. Good fences should make for good neighbors. Since your neighbors are not getting the message, start by asking them for help in keeping the cats out of your garden. Explain that you don't want to worry about their cats ingesting harmful plants and that you worry about being able to consume (and share with your neighbors) any edibles that have been grown in soil contaminated by cat feces (it is dangerous). Maybe you could offer your neighbors a pot of catnip to place in their yard to act as a distraction, or even designate a small spot in your yard (well away from the rest of your beds) for growing catnip, or cat thyme.
If there are specific areas that cats seem to be favoring in your garden, try spreading chicken wire, pine cones, rock mulch or prickly holly to deter them from scratching and digging. You could also try Cat-Scat mats, available at garden centers, which are mats made with flexible spikes that won't hurt them, but will keep them out of your beds. Disposable plastic forks (tines up) will also work when stuck in pots or around ornamental plants. Just be sure not to place them in areas where cats will jump down and land on them (like below balconies, etc).
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Mix 2 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of mustard, with 1 cup hot pepper sauce that contains habanero peppers, and 2 cups vinegar, with 3 cups water. Blend well. Pour a thin stream in several areas of the garden. Sounds silly, but it works. (07/18/2004)
By Shirley Mac
My mother-in-law used moth balls and the cats hated them. She just spread some around her plants. (06/25/2007)
Cats like to dig in freshly turned soil where vegetables and/or flowers are planted. I sprinkle red pepper all around. If it rains I re-sprinkle. It may take four to six different sprinklings of red pepper, but it works like a charm. Cats hate it and stay away from it. I think it works with dogs, too. (05/04/2008)
I used a mixture of black peppercorns, cayenne, red pepper flakes, curry powder, black pepper, chili powder, and dry mustard, I sprinkled it throughout my garden (veggie garden) and so far it is working great, and it's even working to deter the horsehair worms. (05/26/2008)
Our neighbourhood is infested with stray cats that were constantly spraying our doors and basement windows. Our whole house reeked of cat urine. We started sprinkling paprika (about once a week) and now I don't even see them in our yard. It's not quite as harsh as cayenne if anyone is concerned with hurting cats. (07/14/2008)
You can also use empty clear bottles and fill them up with water and I don't know why it works, but the cats don't like their reflection or something and it scares them away. (02/23/2009)
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