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Help me save my sanity please. Area cats doing their business

August 4, 2011

Ok how in the world do I keep the neiborhood cats from doing their bathroom business in my flower beds. I am so sick of it I am so ready to just call it quits for gardening (well not really just for a break). It is so bad that I keep finding these stupid "surprises" each time I water the beds. I dont have dogs for this eason and I am allergic to cats so I only have birds as pets. And I have seen racoons outside. But I am always chasing off the same cat. The people in my town think it is alright tojust let their cats out forever. Though the number of stray cats have gone down.

So how can I stop this cat from using my garden as a bathroom. Thanks in advance.


Comments (24)

  • kqcrna

    Call the SPCA. They pick up cats, don't they?


  • morz8

    I don't know how big the city is, our animal control only picks up cats if ill or injured. They will take them if live-trapped and delivered, so will PAWS but for a cash/food donation. They no longer loan traps, either one.

    There are some things you can do, some inexpensively, some not.

    Some, not all, cats are repelled by the scent of citrus. If you clean everything up, chop up your orange, lemon, lime peels and scatter those in your beds, it sometimes helps. There are commercial repellents you can buy, Get Off My Garden (green jello like cubes that smell something like wintergreen) works...till you've watered a few times or have had some rain. Havahart makes one that is effective too - Walmart carried it last year - Critter Ridder.

    The Scarecrow motion activated sprayer is effective for cats, I have one for deer but have set it for cats.

    You can cut chicken wire into shapes that fit the bare spaces in your beds and lay it down, cats won't go where they can't dig or scratch. It doesn't look great, and you run the risk of tripping or catching a foot on it yourself.

    None of those are perfect solutions I know, best of all would be if people would just keep their cats inside. I like cats, hate cleaning up after someone elses.

  • paulan70

    I would but my town is so small they dont even deliver the mail to the door. We don't even have a gas station anymore. Very small town.


  • just1morehosta

    Could you put into place, some double sided sticky tape,I know it would not last, being outside and all, but it may move them on to a different yard.Or,how about,turning some pots upside down,in that area, or put down a big rock, that would also look nice in your garden.

  • proudgm_03

    Well, cats are a problem.

    Live trap them and deliver them back to the neighbor.

    Patrol the area and spray the cat with the hose when it comes in your yard.

    Get a cat hating dog.

    Sorry, these are the only humane things I can think of! (Well, maybe the cat hating dog isn't too humane.)

  • trudi_d

    All you need is a motion-activated sprinkler. You set it up so that when the cat comes by it will spritz the cat, after a few days I don't think you will have a cat problem.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Nextag Comparisons ~ Motion Activated Sprinklers

  • gardenweed_z6a

    Now that's clever!!!

  • kqcrna

    Geez, I thought everyone would be covered by some SPCA.

    I've been tempted to try those motion detector sprinklers to chase off other critters ( deer, rabbits, etc). They're not cheap, though.

    How about cayenne pepper? You can buy a giant jar in Kroger for a couple of dollers.


  • just1morehosta

    My neighbor tried the motion sprinkler,it only works for a short time, animals are very smart, they figure things out very fast.Although she used it to chase away deer, it did not work,it might work for cats,??There are motion sensor's you can buy,and timers,maybe you could make your own, a little cheaper?I know this is maddening,are they using your whole garden, or the same spot,I would still place a boulder in that area,if it is just the one spot.

  • trudi_d

    There is nothing you can do to deter very hungry deer.

  • paulan70

    I will try the cheyenne pepper. And this darn cat really likes 3-4 spots in my garden it is part of the new beds and they do not have any mulch. It is really killing my cosmos and zinnias because of when they cover up the crap. They also dislodge and mess up the little seedlings.

    And the sprinkler would not work since the beds are near sidewalks and kids come thru here all of the time so they would always be sprayed. I thought about saving the trimmings from my roses bushes and just tossing them in different areas maybe that will change it's mind.



  • pippi21

    Ever heard of turpentine? I know this is cruel but the cat never came back again to use their yard..they had an elderly gent living with the family and he soaked a rag in turpentine and rubbed it on the cat's privates. Hey, that was in the late or early 1950's, Probably before SPCA was formed.

  • highalttransplant

    Paula, I totally feel your pain! My neighbor next door actually leaves bowls of cat food on her porch for the stray cats in the neighborhood. I've also seen racoons eating out of those bowls. They are more of a problem in the veggie bed in the early spring when the soil has been freshly turned and there is a lot of empty space. Once the plants fill in, they aren't so bad. This spring one of them kept pooping and digging where I had sown carrots. I had to clean it up and resow 4 times! I tried sticking wooden skewers in the ground all around the area, but it just managed to push them out of its way . I've also tried the orange peel thing. It only works the day you put them out there, then as the peels dry out, the scent decreases, and the cats come back. I finally went and bought a roll of chicken wire at the local ranch supply store, and that kept the cats out of that bed long enough for the seeds to sprout. Once the sprouts started to grow though, I had to remove the chicken wire.

    I ran one off out of the flower bed that's against the front of the house the other morning. That would explain why the grass is beaten down from my neighbors yard to my flower bed. Dinner AND a nap! I haven't seen any poop in there though, so I'm thinking they might be sleeping in there up against the house.

    I'm a bit skeptical of the motion activated sprinkler device. I use both of my spickets on a daily basis, so I'd have to constantly be hooking and unhooking the thing, and likely get myself hosed down in the process. Just seems like a lot of trouble to me.

    Paula, I think your idea of the rose bush stems is a great one, and if I had roses, I'd sure try it!

    Best of luck,

  • pitimpinai

    I feel for you. Years ago I invested ~$50 in a Haveahart trap that is large enough to trap a large cat or raccoon. It is the best investment I have ever made.

    Every spring, I just about throw up whenever I work in the garden because stray cats would have urinated & littered all over my garden all winter.
    I used to catch friendly cats and attached a note to their collar telling the owners to keep them indoors and that if I caught them in my garden again, I would trap them and take them to Anti Cruelty Society.

    Some owners heeded my warning, others didn't. Now, if I can't stand them anymore, I trap them and take them to Anti Cruelty Society. Period. No more warning.

    Nowadays, the society is so overwhelmed with strays that they send these cats to Animal Control.

    This year I already caught 5. They were fighting under my window, on my front steps, in the yard day and night. It was unbearable. I think all of them were feral cats though.

    I haven't seen any cat for now. But if I see any cats in my yard again, I will trap them and take them away again.

    Once, I called Animal Control to take a cat. The worker took my trap and did not return it. I had to fight to get that trap back. I don't want have to deal with the department directly again.

  • northerner_on

    Paula, I feel your pain. I have been dealing with this problem for over 25 years. It's our front bed, which usually had annuals, and every spring when we would go out and cultivate the bed we would be digging up oodles of cat poop. Then the laws changed and cats had to be tethered or they were picked up and it stopped a bit. Now it's back with feral cats, and two neighbours who put out food for the cats. Two years ago, we trapped nine and had them delivered to the Humane Society. One year, they had a nest behind my wood pile and I was alerted when I saw three kittens gamboling in my backyard. They keep breeding, and I am now in the process of keeping a new litter of 4 out of my yard. I have used just about everything, including the citrus, cayenne, garlic, but they work for a while. Last year, I lifted all the soil and replaced it, mixed in a good amount of used coffee grounds, and sprayed the earth and the walkways with a mixture of dettol and water. That kept them away. But I also chase them (I think they know me now and run once they see me), I turn the hose on them if I see them, but there was one place right next to my door that I could not keep them from. Last week, a neighbour gave me a plant of rue (it's dangerous and can cause awful blisters). She uses it in her garden to keep them away. Apparently there's something about the smell of the plant that will keep them away. For me, I will continue to use the dettol because that works, it's cheap and easy to use. They just hate the smell. I spray it before planting out seedlings which they will dig out, across the path they will use to my garden, and if they come near, I spray it on them. If they ever do their stuff, I dig that lot of soil out, then soak the soil there with dettol so they lose the scent. It's a horrible problem to have especially because the feral cats keep reproducing. It seems things may be getting better soon: a For Sale sign went up on the lawn of one of the 'feeders'. That may cut things down a bit. They enticed one, took her and got her spayed, but there are too many for that to matter. The Humane Society said the only answer is to campaign to get them to stop feeding the feral cats. Then they move on.

  • october17

    There are trap and release programs to get the cats spayed/neutered. It will cost you at most $30 per cat for the surgery and rabies vaccines. The neutering/spaying stops the fighting and spraying.

    Cats keep the vermin population down. I have a couple of feral cats here that I trapped and had spayed/neutered. (There are also four kittens I'm planning to get fixed.) My neighbors all have mouse problems, not me. Guess the cats chased all the mice out. I heard they are great for moles and voles too. Haven't had a squirrel on the property all summer either.

    As far as keeping the cats out of the garden, pet stores sell stuff to repel house cats from furniture. Maybe douse a piece of cloth with it and place in areas they toilet.

    It sounds like you don't want to harm the cats. Is there anywhere in your yard you wouldn't mind them using?

  • Linda G

    northerner_on, are you talking about dettol, the antiseptic disinfectant liquid soap? (never heard of it but am willing to try it if so!!!!)


    Here is a link that might be useful: Dettol

  • anita22

    You might want to try predator urine -- fox/coyote.

  • grisellloop

    I have a bed of stones in my back yard, I thought cats liked grass but this cat goes on the stones every nite, I tried everything but nothing works, I'm going to try chicken wire now let's see what happens, to be continued. ..

  • texasranger2

    I've got sand and ornamental grasses, cats love both. Next door the walk-in small garage door is left cracked open and there are about 12 or so roaming freely, they use that for shelter and whatnot, I hate to think past that. Once cats have a place like that, more follow. I feel your pain. Chicken wire won't work. I put cholla cactus cuttings in the grasses, it keeps the cats from using them as toilets but thats not much. I piled cactus cuttings in the stucco doorway leading to the backyard where they were walking in but they walk right over them, carefully mind you, but they were not deterred nor did the ones I wired to the fence help, they just go over them. Again let me stress, I feel your pain in a very big way. Cat pickup by the city is no longer practiced, they are too inundated by them so trapping and paying to neuter them is the answer, you can rent traps from Animal Control. Yes, that costs $$$$. A body is on their own both financially and otherwise. Griping helps a little bit when you reach that certain stage of exasperation, as you will from time to time and stuff like chicken wire is good therapy but thats about all. The smell nearly knocks me back several feet in some spots and its lovely grabbing that handful of surprise when weeding.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Prickly prunings or chicken wire spread across the seed beds works for me. It is a routine part of seed sowing in my garden. Nothing in powder or liquid form works in a climate with regular rain.

  • rosegarden3

    A few years ago I had a problem with free roaming neighbors cats. They really like my freshly spread compost. I bought a live trap from Tractor Supply store for $25.00. I caught 3 different cats multiple times. These 3 cats belonged to 2 different neighbors. I took the cats to our local shelter where the owner had to pay $50.00 to get them back. After 2 or 3 times the cats never came back. I think the neighbors were sick of paying to get their cats back and kept them inside or didn't leave them out long enough for them to wonder into my yard. If you set live traps PLEASE be prepared to check the traps regularly! All animals need access to fresh water. Also don't leave them out over night unless you are prepared to trap a skunk! NO ONE around here takes them. The animal control nor the DNR will help with them. Yes I learned this the hard way!

  • rosegarden3


  • ponyexpress_1

    What about using that plastic runner mat stuff, and putting it in there upside down so the spikes stick up? They won't like it on thier feet. Once they are gone, you could just put small strips there as a reminder. Or a combination of these things. How about a motion activated dog barking too? The unpleasantness with the dog barking might scare them off.

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