Share a TipCheck out these tips or, if you have something to add to this guide, click to share your own tip!
Because cats like soft, dig-able soil, every year my flower gardens were at risk of my cat using them as a litter box and digging up my new seedlings, flowers or plants, but I found an answer!
Last year I bought sand (nothing fancy, just two of the cheapest bags I could find) and made an outdoor litter box by dumping the sand into a small pile, behind a stand of plants growing up a trellis, so she would feel safe to go out in the open.
I brought kitty outside and placed her in the 'kitty sandbox' and she immediately knew what to do and went to the bathroom! Occasionally we will go out and scoop up hard pieces, but the weather makes it largely self cleaning and there is no smell! This saves us time and money since she goes more outside than inside in the nice weather and reduces our buying of as much litter as in the past.
I have never seen her go in the garden again, to use it as a litter box, but she does check out the rabbit that lives in there. :) I have never seen any other cat use the box either since I think they avoid another cat's fecal scent.
Now my plants can grow unimpeded by my kitty!
When we had a garden (and there were lots of feral kitties around us in that neighborhood which was near a park), we just scattered fresh orange or lemon peels throughout the areas and that seemed to do the trick. Cats do not like the smell of citrus peels, which are harmless since the kitties don't bother them at all.
Please do not ever put things like Tabasco sauce or other harmful things anywhere that a helpless little animal might be blinded or made terribly sick by eating or coming into contact with it.
Source: A lifetime of gardening, dealing with animals and looking for ways to do both safely and enjoyably.
By Julia from Boca Raton, FL
To keep cats out of the garden, make some small holes in the bottom of an old plastic milk jug. Put some mothballs inside the jug and put lid back on it. Hang it on your garden fence or close to the garden. A lot of animals don't like the smell of mothballs and you put them in the jug to keep them dry so they smell longer. This won't harm the little kitty.
By mamacrafter from TN
I keep cats out of my raised veggie bed, by placing bamboo skewers about 8 to 12 inches apart in a grid pattern. You want them to be close enough, so that cats are uncomfortable digging or even walking through the garden.
I buy the skewers at the dollar store. They are cheap and non-toxic. The skewers can be easily removed as the plants grow and fill in the space. One dollar package takes care of my whole garden and has been working for me for the last three years.
By Jeanette from Citrus Heights, CA
I've tried many methods to keep my cats from digging up my flower garden in early spring, from cayenne pepper sprinkled in the soil (doesn't work) to adding broken sea shells (also doesn't work).
This year I decided to lay down a short garden edging fence we were no longer using around a tree. It prevents them from digging into the ground, but doesn't stop the plants from growing through the openings.
Cats like soft soil and will make a bee line for where you've just been digging. Dig a hole, blow up a balloon, and bury it in the hole. When the cat comes to inspect the nice soft soil, thinks this is a nice place, and starts digging, bang!
Save all your lemon and orange peel after use and place them around the garden where the cats get in. Also, if you can identify the areas where they defecate (they tend to use the same spots ), put some peels there too.
A wire in-basket can work hard outside too. Turn one upside down and place it over young plants to protect them from curious cats and other creatures.
This may not work in every situation, but it's worth a shot. Use some of the pointed wooden skewers (think kabobs), and insert them into the ground close enough together to keep the cat from being able to dig and bury.
To keep cats out of your garden, lay down some chicken wire and cover with a thin layer of dirt. Cats love to dig, and they can't do it through the wire. Your plants will still come up through the wire spaces.
In the past we have had a problem with the neighborhood cats using our garden as a liter box. We devised a way to stop them from digging.
I would lay down stones, rocks, pebbles, or pine cones. Unlike sprays, they're decorative, safe, inexpensive, and durable. Cats won't bother moving these around when they can find exposed dirt elsewhere.
I love to grow roses. I regularly trim the branches for size and shape. The thorn-covered twigs and branches are placed strategically around and in my garden. It keeps the cats and other critters from digging up my plants.
I was going through my stuff to be free-cycled and decided to give some things one more try. I found a green giant jack, a beautiful green colored one, the kind you buy in a pack at the dollar store, and two plastic spinning tops the kids don't like anymore.
Here is what I've found to deter cats from areas they are unwanted and prevent spraying.
My solution would be to lay down stones or pine cones around plants. It's decorative, reusable and free, or a one-time purchase. I also believe it's safer, more effective, and cheaper than sprays. Cats won't bother pushing these around, when they can find exposed dirt elsewhere.
Lay down a layer of chicken wire, weigh it down very well, and cover it with a thin layer of dirt. Cats like to dig and they cannot dig through chicken wire but flowers and veggies can still come up through it.
If you are having trouble with unwanted cats in your garden or around the perimeter of your house it can be fixed. I bought a bag of citronella T-lights and put them around in the yard and the cats don't like the smell.
When I dug a hole and planted a tree, the cats decided to use the soil as litter box. Not wanting my new tree to be killed, I inverted a plastic tray from the nursery-the big mesh kind, and cut a hole in the middle the diameter of the tree trunk, and then cut into it from one edge to the hole.
Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
This is a guide about keeping cats out of planters. Outdoor cats often find your planters to be a convenient toilet or napping spot.
This is a guide about keeping cats out of flowerbeds. Keeping your cat or the neighbor's kitty our of your flowerbeds can be a challenge, but there are a number of solutions you can try.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
How do I keep cats from using my garden as a litter box? Is there anything I can put in the dirt that won't harm the cats or my roses?
I have heard of sprinkling cinnamon or cayenne pepper around to deter cats from coming into the garden. There are some organic gardening websites that sell organic cat and pest deterrant. Best of luck!
Please help, my neighbour's cat is using my garden as a litter box. I've cleaned it once but the cat returned. If I put moth balls out will this keep the cat out or will the cat eat them?
Well, if your cat is as determined as the stray cats that get into my yard, then you've got your hands full! This sounds completely nuts, but it actually works. Spread coffee grounds, citrus peels (lemon, lime, orange) or citrus oils all over the area you want "protected". Cats hate garlic too, so spreading a few bulbs around will help keep them at bay too.
How do I keep cats out of my flowers in pots on my porch?
Find some pine cones at least 3 inches long. If you can't find them under a tree you may be able to buy them in a craft store. Completely cover the surface of the pot with pine cones. The cats will not be interested in digging through the pine cones. This has worked for me.
Currently, I have two lovely cats who love to use my garden as a bathroom and I do not like it. It makes it smelly at my entry way into my home for visitors and I grow my veggies that I ingest, there too. I had a thought that maybe if I plant some catnip and cat grass to encourage their enjoyment in the garden it would keep them from eliminating it my garden. I say this because I know cats do not like to play and eat near where they go to the bathroom. What are some thoughts and ideas that would be better or do you agree with what I am saying?
You can plant mint and citrus. Cats don't like the smell. You can also disperse coffee grounds in the area.
When some cats aren not deterred by scents and you don't want to use chemicals, chicken wire might be one of the best solutions.
The most recommended solution I've found is laying bird mesh just under the top surface of your garden. It a plastic mesh that works by getting caught in the cats paws preventing them from digging and they abandon that spot. You can find it in the garden section of hardware or home improvement stores. Cost is nominal, depending on the amount needed. You can also use chicken wire in the same way, it doesnt show just under the top soil but plants can still grow.
Another physical deterrent is placing a wide border of pinecones around the garden perimeter. Cats dislike the rough surface.
If you want to go a low recycling route, you can try citrus rinds, vinegar, coffee grounds, epson salts, pipe tobacco - all work on the principle of scents that are offensive to cats who rely on their sense of smell to find suitable areas to potty. The offensive smells eliminate their desire to potty there. You can try planting the herb RUE or geraniums both scents are offensive to felines. (Wear gloves if you plant RUE it can cause skin blistering )
One solution thats harmless to cats but actually benefits the plants is a motion activated sprinkler. The cat's trespassing into the garden activates the sprinkler, and they get wet ! The plants get a drink. My sister says it very quick fix to the problem.
Cats don't like the smell of mint and the plant looks pretty so I would try that
I like the sprinkler idea. My cats ignore smells.
If orange peels and lemon peels work, why not use orange or lemon juice in a garden sprayer and just spray the yard?
By Buddy J.
Feel free to try it. We're always open to learning something new. Probably be a little bit on the expensive side, unless you live in Florid or California, so it's not something most people would be using. Living in Florida, we have plenty of the citrus peels as well as the juice, but we drink the juice and use the peels in the gardens.
I expect the peels last longer as well. I have used lemon scented Mr Clean splashed full strength on the spots strays sprayed. They avoided those areas in future, and the Mr Clean cleaned up the spray.
Ants would be attracted to orange juice. Plus the zest of the fruit is where the oil is and is what makes it so strong.
I am looking for solutions to stop outdoor cats from using my outdoor plastic shed as their litter box.
By cats rule
Cats hate lemons. Peel some, let them dry for a day then cut them up and scatter them around the door to the shed. They won't go inside. Keep this up through the spring and summer and they most likely will get the hint.
I agree with the previous poster regarding the lemons. There are some cat repellants that work, but their smell is almost as bad as the cat pee, and they all have to be re-applied after a rain. I think orange peels or grapefruits might work just as well. I have repelled them with lemon scented Mr. Clean splashed on my wall, where stray males were spraying their scent. Do not use something toxic like moth balls. Much worse than the cat smell, and far more toxic to you!
Hardiness Zone: 2a
By Linn from Halifax, Nova Scotia
When you next eat an orange or grapefruit or use a lemon, scatter the peel around the flower/vegetable bed. Cats don't like citrus.
Lay "chicken" wire or "rabbit" wire down in your flower bed. Since most cats will scratch a hole and then scratch again to try to cover the potty up, they are frustrated by the wire and will move on to a more kitty friendly source of dirt. I hold the wire down with rocks or tree limbs. You could use any landscape decorative weight to hold it down. You will probably have to wait till fall or spring to lay down the wire so you don't ruin this years flowers.
Can you use fresh coffee grounds instead of brewed?
My garden is territorial ground for eight cats and it is driving me crazy. I have tried lots of deterrents with no success. Next is moving house. Can anyone help?
By J.S. Harris from Cheshire
How do you prevent cats from using your flower boxes as litter boxes?
By Gerry S.
Sprinkle used coffee grounds around liberally. Cats do not like the smell of coffee. It will also smell good.
Recently there are feral cats who are doing their "business" in my flower bed.
How do I get them out of there?
By Lorraine from Bristol, CT
Plant onions and garlic around the border. They make nice flowers also when not harvested. The cat's won't like the smell. In the mean time, till the plants grow, puree a garlic and onion mush in a blender (raw), slowly add a bit of water at a time till it is thin.
Pour it into an empty hand dish detergent bottle with a flip tab (The pull up kind might get clogged with bits), then squirt a stream of the solution around your garden each morning. It will water your garden around the edges which some times get missed and keep the cats away. (Or so my mom and son say) My son's a pro.
What can I plant in my garden to put off cats from using my vegetable patch for a litter tray?
Hardiness Zone: 3b
By Vinny from Liverpool, England
I know that they hate citrus so I would put a lot of peels around that area. I may have to do that this year too. Or hot pepper sauce mixed with oil or soapy water sprayed around there and repeat every week and if it rains. These are cheap and worth trying
I like the citrus peel solution for keeping cats out of the garden! However, would that encourage ants? We already have a problem with them, as we live at the beach and the soil is very sandy! I am sick to the back teeth of neighbours' cats in my garden, will want to try any humane solution.
By Annie L
I want to keep cats off my garden and stop them from coming into my house.
By Lindy from Wolves
Are there any non lethal ways to deter neighbours cat from doing its business in my nice gardens! argh!
By linn from Canada
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Unknowingly, I built raised garden beds for litter boxes for neighborhood cats. I would like to plant vegetables, but am afraid of the contaminated soil. What can I do to clean the soil sufficiently, so I can plant food for my children?
Hardiness Zone: 9a
By Martedcar from Stockton, CA
You'll never be able to clean out this dirt. The only way would be by high heat (like baking for hours in a hot oven). That's how potting soil is disinfected, huge ovens. UV rays from the sun help kill bacteria and virus (like toxoplasmosis), but not worms. I would never use these garden beds for food. Flowers are the only thing I'd grow.
If you do decide to use the beds, always wear gloves and thoroughly wash the veggies (especially lettuce, spinach, and other veggies that are not cooked) because it's easy to transfer worm eggs to humans. Just last night I was reading on the internet about worms in cats and kittens (my daughter's cat has worms) and the articles mentioned using gloves when gardening in case a cat had "gone" in the dirt. Not only can roundworms be transferred via cat poop in soil, but so can tapeworms. I didn't know this until I read it, but almost all cats are born with worms. It is transferred via the mother in utero and also in her milk. Wow! was all I could say!
As you probably know, toxoplasmosis is a parasite. Just last week they had a special on NPR radio about it. Did you know that schizophrenia was never heard of until humans started keeping cats as pets in the 1700s. There have been many studies and they've found a link between toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia. I found it extremely interesting that a mouse that doesn't have toxoplasmosis in his brain runs away as quickly as possible when he smells cat pee, but when a mouse has toxoplasmosis, he loses fear of cats and may even get turned on when he smells cat pee and wants to be near cats! (strange but true!) So toxoplasmosis must be natures way of keeping cats in the wild alive and well-fed!
Now don't get me wrong with all this talk of toxoplasmosis and worms, I'm a huge cat lover! I just wouldn't garden where that have pooped. Sorry, I hope you find a better place to garden. How about renting a pee-patch, you can usually rent one for $20 for one growing season at a local park.
Read more here:
Rats Under The Influence of Toxoplasma: Crazy for Cat Urine:
Do cat parasites cause schizophrenia?:
How To Identify and Treat Feline Worms and more Worm Info:
All this being said, I would think that if your wait several years and in that time, rake the soil often so the sun's UV rays can disinfect it down deep and IF you wear gloves and are extremity careful about washing your veggies with a good vegetable soap that eventually you can grow food in that raised bed. (12/22/2009)
My raised beds turned out to be litter boxes for a beautiful cat I now refer to as my arch-nemesis! I emptied the boxes and started over. I now use bird netting over the boxes. The great thing about netting is your plants can grow right through it, or you can cut away bits of the net to transplant larger plants. Sometimes I gather twigs and lay them over the boxes and seedlings for protection. I haven't had kitty poo for several years now. (01/08/2010)
I don't know a reliable way getting rid of the contamination, but if you put scraps of hardware cloth around your plants it will keep them from using your beds again. You can even cover it up with a thin layer of mulch. Cats don't like catching their claws on the wire when they dig their hole to go. (01/08/2010)
I need help, my beautiful cats keep using my garden beds as a litter box. Any suggestions would be helpful.
It seems that I read somewhere that cats won't go into a garden that has marigolds in it. Could you plant some surrounding the entire garden? Might work. (02/08/2005)
I've heard sprinkling black pepper around the flower bed will keep most critters out. (02/08/2005)
By Cheryl from MO
Plant chili peppers or spread cocoa mulch for ground cover. You can get this at hardware stores, Home Depot, or Lowe's. Cats hate to walk on it. You need to move them about so they don't mold. Especially in the winter because of snow and rain, etc. I lived in Nevada and it cured my problem. No cats returned to that flower bed. (02/09/2005)
Most cats like to dig and relieve themselves in areas with nice soft earth, so I would cover the area with a very thick layer of coarse landscaping gravel or similar material. If you have any plastic garden mesh for climbing plants I would lay that over the ground underneath the gravel as an extra barrier. You could also insert lots of 1 foot high stakes upright and close together in the affected area, that will make it very difficult for them to use the area as a toilet. (02/28/2005)
In Japan, they fill empty two liter bottles with water and line the area the cats want to use. I guess it works, many people there do it. I haven't tried it. (03/06/2005)