5 Ways to Keep Cats Out of the Garden

by on January 13, 2012

UrbanFig: Cat in the Garden

Cats are not always so innocent in our urban gardens.

If you live anywhere near a community whether in the city or the suburbs, chances are good that there are outdoors cats around. I love the precious little furry bundles of love just as much as the next guy, but when it comes to cats in the garden I have to draw the line.

Cats dig, scratch and leave their little kitty gifts in garden beds because they can. Ancient Egyptians worshiped the cat and while the practice died away, the cat never forgot.

Here are five ways to keep the area cats from using your garden as a little box:

1. Keep the soil damp. Cats hate water and don’t like to get wet. Wet soil is far less inviting.

2. Cover bare soil. The less bare, exposed soil that is visible (especially soil that is freshly tilled or recently dug), the less likely you will be to find kitty treats in your carrots.

3. Remove waste immediately. Don’t let feces stay in the garden assuming that it will compost itself. If there’s cat crap there, cats will crap there again.

4. Get a gun. Relax. I’m talking about a water gun. A few directed squirts aimed at an unwelcome cat will help to discourage the unwanted behavior. I hear it works for kids, too.

5. Blood meal. It’s a great fertilizer that cats despise. Get the picture?

You can also use window screening or chicken wire at the base of plants to keep cats out of the garden, but this is a last resort because they’re ugly and you don’t want your garden to be ugly. Another option is to plant catnip in an outlying area away from your precious garden. The cats will appreciate it and may even avoid your other beds altogether!

These simple tips will help you to keep loving area cats without feeling the need to love them to death.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew January 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Ask and you shall receive. I’m about to create my garden and I knew I was going to have to deal my cats wanting to make their presence known in my food garden. Well, this was just not an option for me and my family. Thanks Urban Fig for the info.


Michael Nolan January 27, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Hey Matty, thanks for the comment. I hope you’ll let us know what works for you and your garden!


Kris January 27, 2012 at 8:15 AM

I left a community garden because the person in charge for some unknown reason dumped sand in the middle of the garden and it attracted soooooo many kitties. I have had them as pets most of my life, so don’t get my wrong. I too love them. But not in my food! And it’s really not healthy for us to eat where they go to the bathroom…… I don’t set out of my kittie box.


Michael Nolan January 27, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Indeed it isn’t healthy at all.


Steve jacob December 1, 2013 at 5:37 AM

There are also plants which cats are said to detest the smell. The herb Rue is said to deter cats and also recently there has been a mysterious plant named Pee-Off, which as far as a colleague has found is a member of the Coleus family, which as most gardeners know is only half-hardy.


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