How can I keep cats out of garden beds?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Lois from Toledo, OH
My farm cats, seem to enjoy watching me garden. They have the run of the farm, but seem to love, doing their business in the flower beds, where I have just worked. I want to keep my flower beds off limits to the cats. Any suggestions?
By Sheila from Ontario
June 12, 2011
Citrus peels spread around your garden should help, cats don't like the smell of citrus. I would be afraid to put moth balls in the garden tho. Sure do like the idea of chicken wire! I have heard that keeps out squirrels too. I am going to try that with my bulbs this fall.
How does one keep cats out of flower beds without spending a lot of money?
Alice from Arkansas
One thing I can tell you NOT to do is to sprinkle any kind of pepper (especially black pepper) in your flower beds! This is a remedy that some people suggest but it is harmful, and can even be fatal, to cats! (01/30/2006)
I have had good success putting drops of citric essential oil at 1-2 foot intervals around my beds. I renew once a month or so. Even here on the coast this method keeps our cat our of my salad beds. (both orange and lemon work well) The first time I used the oil I put it in the beds as well. After that just around the perimeter seems to do the trick. Perhaps lemon scented herbs would work as well. (01/30/2006)
If you place citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit) peels in your flower beds. It really does work. We have three stray cats that used to use my flower beds as a litterbox. Someone told me about it, tried it and they haven't used it ever since. The only thing is about every two weeks I have to replace the peels. Which I don't mind, if it keeps them out. Cats hate citrus. (03/28/2007)
*** chili powder, red crushed pepper, cayenne pepper (NOT recommended), it gets on the cat's paws then they wash themselves and they get it in their eyes, beware cats have literally scratched their eyes out because of this. Even if it's one cat out of 500 infected in this way, that's one too many for me.
*** Don't ever use mothballs or flakes. Those little toxic waste pellets destroy cats' kidney function, could seriously harm people who handle them, and yes, contaminate your own garden soil. Their packaging even warns against using them this way.
I got this info from this website: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/rmgard/msg051314006160.html. link to this site for further info and on a side note just to let any of you know that are thinking of using these types of items, it can be linked back to you by the spca and there are laws that protect animals against cruelty . (05/22/2007)
How do I keep cats out of my flower beds? Our neighborhood is overrun with strays. Any fresh dirt is swarmed with cats! NASTY! Last summer I even had a 10 in planter that a cat did it's business in. How do I keep them out with minimal to no expense?
Jody from WYOMING
Those prickly round balls from trees called sweet gum balls, the kitties don't like to touch them with their claws. I know of some people on this website that will send them to you (at least I've seen them post this before) they have so many! (06/02/2007)
I had the same problem. I tried a lot of the things posted here, but the only thing that worked for me, is covering my beds with decorative rocks. Since the rocks, they don't come around to scratch and use the restroom in my plants. (06/05/2007)
My brother in law put down mouse traps where the trays were digging in their beds. Once they got pinched they never come back to his bed again. (06/05/2007)
Put chicken wire on top of the dirt - cats (and other animals don't like walking on it). You could also try putting metallic pinwheels (whirly gigs, etc) around the perimeter. I've heard of using it for deer and other small animals, so it may work for cats, too. The motion and the reflective nature of the metallic pinwheels scare the animals away. (06/07/2007)
Bamboo skewers stuck point up in the dirt will discourage them and they're really, cheap. (06/07/2007)
To keep cats out of my flower beds I use moth balls. I scatter them all over. They don't hurt the plants either. I got this tip off of the internet. Works great. Have never had a cat return. Hope this helps. (06/07/2007)
Help! My cats are using my mulched rose garden as a potty box. What can I do to make them stop. These are not house cats, they are all strays that have taken up residence. Any suggestion will be appreciated.
Trinidad from Granger, WA
Thorny rose bushes is said to keep them out. Sure, they might get a thorn. Just trim off some branches & lay them in the rows. (10/19/2007)
Had the same problem with large indoor potted ferns. I just sprinkled cayenne pepper on the dirt surrounding the plant. One sniff and they quit using the plant as a potty. The cayenne will dissipate after a bit so just sprinkle again. (10/23/2007)
I have used the orange and lemon peels myself and it works great this will also keep raccoons out as well. (03/21/2008)
By Karen 1010
How can I keep my cat from going to the bathroom in my flower garden? Any ideas? He has a litter box in the garage and does use it when the weather is bad.
Sheila from Canada
Cats hate the smell of oranges. I scatter the peelings all over my flower beds. No cats in sight. (04/29/2008)
I was having the same problem. I decided to try placing a lot of pine cones in my beds. The cats hate them. Good luck (06/06/2008)
Never put cayenne or any other kind of pepper down. Cats have been known to scratch their eyes out trying to get rid of the pain, and I'm sure you would not want that to happen. (02/07/2009)
I live in the middle of nowhere. I have an outside cat that uses my flower beds as a litter box. I have tried mothballs, foil, human hair, sprays from stores and garden centers. None of these work.
She has now killed all of my plants. If I cannot find something that works, she is going to have to find a new owner, because the smell is horrible. Anything would be appreciated, because other than that she is a great cat!
By soon to be catless from OH
Try sprinkling cayenne pepper where you don't want the cat to go. Use a "lot", like enough to cover the ground thickly. This was the only thing that kept cats from digging in my flowers in CA. Good luck! (04/24/2009)
Cats are supposed to hate citrus or orange smell. You might buy an orange or citrus scented room freshener at the $1 store and try spraying that on your plants. (You can also buy a high-end room spray made from real citrus at a health food store if the dollar store spray doesn't work.) Also put lemon, grapefruit, and/or orange peels in your flowerbed! Be sure to change them with new fresh peels every few days. You'll have to spray the plants once or twice a day until you cat finds somewhere else he prefers.
You could also make him an alternative place to go potty, by pouring sandbox sand in a spot fairly close to the flower bed. I bet you cat would prefer the sand to the garden eventually. Be sure to put his scent in the sand as a "calling card". This sand can be bought at Home Depot or Walmart. Ask for sandbox sand (it has no chemicals) the sand made for patios has a weedkiller in it. (04/24/2009)
I heard that planting onion among flowers discourages the cats from the area.
Make a mix of equal parts of black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry hot mustard, and that pepper mix of ground peppers they use on pizza. Put in a shaker bottle and sprinkle where you don't want them. It works on dogs, too. After watering you will have to replace some about every 3-4weeks, I think. I use it around my yard and on the tops of walls and fences. It works well. (05/01/2009)
By c t
Try coffee grounds. Keeps them out of my plants. (05/01/2009)
I went to the store and bought a few bags of bamboo skewers and placed them about 6 inches apart in rows next to the plants in the flower bed the cat had no room to get in between the skewers and gave up trying. I left them there for the first season and the next they had no interest in the flower bed. The plants will eventually grow and hide the skewers so you will still have a pretty flower bed. Good luck. (05/01/2009)
Do you have pine trees nearby? Gather up many pine cones and place them amongst the flowers. (05/02/2009)
Cats hate the smell of citrus. Please don't use moth balls. As you found they usually don't work and they are poisonous to cats. Get yourself some oranges and scatter the peels and segments too if you want around in your garden. You can also spritz the area with orange or lemon scented water. You will have to replace the peels with fresh ones after they have dried out and no longer have any scent. Just leave the old ones there and add new. I learned this years ago and have always kept my cats out of the Christmas tree with oranges on the bottom branches. Good luck. (05/02/2009)
Just a short post script. Make sure your cat has some place else to do its business. You might consider leaving a litter box outside if you wish to keep it as an outdoor cat. Otherwise you don't leave her much choice as to where to go. (05/02/2009)
This would be a horrible problem to have. I use my flower beds for my herb gardens, mixing in here and there makes pretty gardens. Also use part of the flower garden for my cherry/grape/pear tomatoes and pepper plants. They like the flower beds better at my house (more attention?? maybe).
I guess try putting the cat on a leash for a while, curtailing the straying, chicken wire across the plants? Just plain squirt bottle of water and be there when it uses the garden? Make an outside litter box available? I don't know, I have got a German Shorthair dog who opens doors, cupboards, and helps herself. I finally started putting her treats in a glass jar, as she carries Tupperware off looking for snacks. Sometimes not as gentle in opening those! (05/23/2009)
By T&T Grandma
I had a serious problem with the neighborhood cats using our flower bed, usually at night. This cured them all the first time they came even close. Get a motion sensor light and hard wire it to a regular plug so you can plug it into a ground-fault protected outdoor plug-in. Buy an adapter to screw in to one of the light bulb sockets to plug in an old noisy skill saw or other junk tool that screams when you turn it on. (Remove the blade first.)
Use a zip-cord to lock the trigger on and set it up in the flower bed. Set the sensitivity you want and set the switch to "test" so it doesn't stay on long. Any animal that comes in range will get the fright of their life and never come near that area again. Just set it and forget it. Works in many areas, can make a good burglar alarm around outdoor equipment, vehicles, in sheds or whatever. (02/04/2010)
Do not use black pepper. It is fatal to cats. (06/17/2010)
How do I stop pets (cats) from pooing and urinating in my flower beds?
By Chantal from Rancho Cordova, CA
Well, this may not be relevant to your situation, but here is mine! I have a very large patch of sand I use for my desert gardening. The dang neighbor's barn cats were using it for their litter box. But this this year I added six new cacti - I think the cactus patch is thick enough now. Not a single new cat poop. Suggestion:? make it uncomfortable for them to use, pruned rose branches, red pepper, or pine cones. Wendopolis, Cyinda, PICO, and T&T Grandma have the right idea too. Different methods work for different situations. (07/16/2010)