Last Updated: June 4, 2021
Whether they are yours or somebody else’s, cats can be a nuisance to your garden. They dig up plants, leave deposits in the borders, and they will even eat some of your favorite displays. What’s more, they can get into your vegetable patch or herb garden and leave feces behind containing parasites and pathogens that can be quite dangerous to humans.
Whatever the reason you want to stop them, there are steps that you can take to prevent cats from making their way into your borders. Below are 11 friendly and simple steps that you can take to try and deter cats and prevent the damage or harm that they might cause in your garden.
1. Use Sharp Mulch
Mulch is the material that you put down on flower beds and soil, around plants. It can improve moisture levels and enables you to manage the health of the soil. It can also prevent weeds, and if you choose a sharp mulch, it can deter cats.
Cats have soft paws and prefer soil and grass to walk on because it is softer and won’t cause any pain. You shouldn’t add anything that will do real damage but consider pinecones or another sharp, natural deterrent. Stones and even eggshells can do the trick, or you can use the holly cuttings from your garden.
2. Add Small Stakes
Small pieces of wood can be staked into the ground, a few inches apart and with the top inch showing. These serve a similar purpose to sharp mulch because they make it uncomfortable and impractical for your cat to walk on the beds. You may have to experiment to get them the right distance, but the aim is to make it difficult, or impossible, for a cat to comfortably turn around.
3. Lay Chicken Wire
Lay chicken wire an inch under the surface of the soil. This should be deep enough that it won’t be visible but close enough to the surface that cats will want to avoid walking over it. Chicken wire also allows plants to grow through, and if you have trees or large shrubs, you should be able to cut holes of an appropriate size to allow them to grow through.
4. Add Lavender
There are numerous smells that cats dislike. Lavender is one such odor, and it is easily released from the lavender plant, which also has the added benefit of looking pretty. Plant lavender somewhere slightly exposed. This ensures that it will get blown by the wind, and when this occurs, the smell of lavender will waft across the garden. Other plants that cats dislike include lemon thyme and rue.
5. Use Citrus Peel
Citrus peel is very strong and most cats dislike the acidic smell of citrus. There are always exceptions, especially when it comes to cats, and there are bound to be some that will enjoy and hunt out the smell, but add orange and lemon rind around the borders of your garden to deter cats. You don’t have to do anything special, simply throw the rings in the soil.
6. Throw Coffee Grounds
Cats also dislike the smell of coffee. If you have your own coffee machine or grinder, save the grounds that you create. Alternatively, speak to a local coffee shop and ask if you can have a bag of leftover grounds. They will usually be willing to let you have them unless they’ve already been approached by another avid gardener with a feline problem they’re looking to deal with. Again, you don’t have to do anything, just spread the grounds across the soil.
7. Add Cat Repellent
You can buy repellent. These may include ingredients like lavender and citrus, but they can also include hormones that smell of predator urine and that will put all but the bravest of cats off visiting a garden. Ensure that the spray is non-toxic and that it won’t harm your plants, either.
8. Wash Away Cat Scent
If the neighborhood cats use your garden as a meeting spot, or as a toilet, you can wash away the odorous evidence of their visiting. Get out the hosepipe and wash the areas where the cats tend to congregate. Cleaning the smell away effectively wipes away their claim to a favorite spot and, with any luck, they will go and find another spot somewhere else.
9. Spray Water
Cats dislike being sprayed with water, and we’re not suggesting you hit them with a water cannon or jet wash, but you can set motion-activated sprinklers to go off when anything approaches your flower beds. Ensure that you remember when they’re turned on, or it could ruin your barbecue.
10. Use Sound
Visiting cats will also be distracted by loud or sudden noises. Use wind chimes and motion-activated devices that detect a cat and then play a sound. These should stop cats from coming around again.
11. Install A Run
If it’s your own cat that is causing trouble, consider adding a run or exercise area that is accessible from inside but does not allow them into the main garden. This will protect birds from being predated and it will prevent nasty deposits in your rose bushes while ensuring that your cat is still able to get the fresh air he craves.
Keep Cats Out Of Your Flower Beds
Cats can be a nuisance, especially if they dig up your garden and leave poo behind while hunting songbirds. The steps above can help you prevent cats from becoming a nuisance in your life, but do remember that cats are independent and unique. One cat may hate the smell of lavender while another might like it. Experiment to find the method that works best for your situation and in your garden.
Image Credit: Irina_kukuts, Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.