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how can I keep my cat out of my garden and flower beds? — The Grow Network Community
Honesty is telling the truth to ourselves and others. Integrity is living that truth.

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how can I keep my cat out of my garden and flower beds?

one.etteone.ette Posts: 54 ✭✭✭

I didn't plant any edibles this year because of her. Also, how long before the garden can be planted with edibles after she quits using it for her potty? If ever?

Best Answers

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    I rescue and take care of wild and ferals in my rural area plus the ever-enlarging quantity of dumped cats by irresponsible owners. Therefore I generally have anywhere up to a dozen cats at a time roaming on my rural property. And yes, you are right, a newly dug up garden bed is heaven to them. So here's a few things I do all the time:

    1. If you can afford it, there is a product out called Cat Scat Mat. It is sold online at Gardener's Supply. Buy a few of them and whenever you have a new seeded bed, use it until the plants get about two inches high. Then remove it because as long as there is something on the soil they generally leave it alone.
    2. Go to a dollar store and buy some of that cheap garden fence (it's usually about 18" high), and place it around your bed. Same thing as #1 procedure for followup.
    3. Lightweight summer row cover placed over a newly seeded bed works well. Just lay it on the soil, it doesn't have to be raised over the top. Actually, when raised, to a cat it looks like a hammock and they will try to jump on it and lay down.
    4. I have bamboo on my property so I use that all the time as posts etc.. It also works well by placing poles across the beds in a zigzag pattern, covering much of the open soil area. If you get something on the soil, the cats learn to ignore the soil area because it's too much work to get to it.
    5. I made a small 4X4 garden out of a wooden pallet for just them. In it I placed cat grass, cat nip, cat mint and anything I can find which is safe for them. They love to go play in their bed which means they are leaving mine alone.
    6. And finally, since you know cats like to dig, be sure you have some flower beds, bushes etc. around your garden area where it is not booby trapped with all the stuff above. As long as they do have an area where they can easily go, they don't need to use your garden.
    7. As for how to clean up your existing soil for use, compost, compost and more compost. Keep adding fresh soil to the top of your beds and very lightly work it in with a garden fork. You don't want to turn the soil, just stick the fork in, push the handle back and forth to loosen up the soil and let it slowly run off the fork then pull it out. Now seed it. All above ground crops will be perfectly safe since they have short root stems. Underground crops, pick a bed they don't really seem to bother and give it some more compost and stir that into your existing soil. Then keep side dressing those with fresh compost/soil about once a month so you are continually raising the soil level as it settles down. Don't give up on gardening just because you have a cat.
    8. And since your cat is already used to using your garden as her litter box, you must retrain her. Place a litter box outside for her/him. Make sure it has weather protection, like inside a dog house or just build a frame to cover it, and then also clean it steadily. No cat likes a dirty litter box. We don't, why should they? When she goes there, praise her and tell her she is being so good. I don't know if you talk to your pet but if not, don't be shy. Just talk to her and let her know what you expect. Praise her when she does well, mildly scold her when she doesn't. They might not understand the words but they do understand your emotions.
    9. Good luck... you can defeat this bad habit of theirs. After all, they don't know they are being bad.


  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    Lots of good tips there.

    For beds you had just planted seeds, you can lay chicken wire or plastic netting directly on the ground. The cat probably won't bother with it.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There's at least 10 Feral cats in this neighborhood, & because I don't kill them, they have set-up House... in my beautiful windowBoxes... GrGrGRR, sigh. - oh my, how many of these terrific Solutions also succeed in "windowBOXES" ?? of which I have like 40+ feet.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,642 admin

    When I lived in the city, I planted rue round the edges of my garden. It is said to repel cats. Afyer planting it, I never noticed cat scat (sounds like jazz, rofl) in my garden, even though I had an unfixed cat indoors & had stray toms coming around outside.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,461 ✭✭✭✭

    It involves work, but maybe you could try creating a sandbox for the cats to do their business. Any type of sand should work. You would probably want to scoop it periodically.

    My younger siblings were never able to play in their sandbox because neighborhood cats were using it, ignoring all the unplanted and planted areas nearby.

  • one.etteone.ette Posts: 54 ✭✭✭

    Thank you everyone who commented! These sound like some great ideas and I have renewed hope for my future gardens!🙂

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 303 ✭✭✭

    Great suggestions! I used bamboo cutlery or sticks. Cats like to scratch and cover up their business. If there are sticks laying in the garden bed while the seeds are growing they won’t scratch it because of the sticks. One can also stand the sticks upright in soil.

    Happy growing :)

  • jjoceanjjocean Posts: 31 ✭✭✭

    If you are technically inclined and philosophically in line with some negative reinforcement a motion sensor that turns on a water spray for a minute or less is pretty effective. Likewise if you have space you might dedicate a feral cat friendly area that will keep them away from your plants. e.g. catnip and a lot of loose soil.

    No matter what though, take care handling the poop. Its not just pregnant women who are susceptible to the toxoplasma gondii parasite.

    There is some surprising research suggesting a link in humans between the parasite and schizophrenia - weird yes. (Parasitol Res. 2017 Jul;116(7):1793-1799. doi: 10.1007/s00436-017-5478-y. Epub 2017 May 15.), conclusive no. Parasites are bizarre -- In the natural cycle the mouse is the intermediate host. The infected mouse suffers cysts in specific areas of the brain that cause the mouse to lose its fear (fear of cats for example) allowing them to be easy prey thus completing the cycle. I probably hijacked this thread - that stuff is fascinating to me.

  • one.etteone.ette Posts: 54 ✭✭✭

    @jjocean WOW! That's good to know! Thanks!

  • karenkaren Posts: 80 ✭✭

    I have a fenced veg garden that the cats get into by jumping up on 5ft posts and then just jumping down into the garden. here are two methods I use - bird netting which keeps out birds and cats. Grow roses! when you trim them lay the sticks in a zig zag as noted above and the cats wont go near. Now, for the dog....

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