Discover how to help stop your own cat or the neighbour’s cat pooping in your garden flower beds with these simple home remedies
Cats love to explore the great outdoors and will often see carefully planted flower beds and immaculate lawns as the perfect spot to pee or poop. Although this can be frustrating for garden owners, it’s simply part of a cat’s natural behaviour, so they’re not being ‘naughty’ by destroying your prized blooms.
Although cats have the right to roam wherever they want, there are some cheap and effective cat deterrents to help stop them from peeing and pooping in your garden and digging up your lawn or plants.
Whether they’re your own cat or belong to a neighbour, all cats are different, so some methods may be more effective than others. You may need to experiment with a few different solutions before you find one that works. Also remember that causing injury or harm to a cat is against the law, so any methods you use will need to be gentle and humane. Find out more about cats and the law.
1. Strong smells
Cats have very sensitive noses and so they will often avoid strong smells as they find them overpowering. Adding cat-safe, non-toxic items with a powerful scent to your flower beds can help to deter cats from the area. Items you could try are:
- citrus fruit, for example lemon, lime, orange. Try putting the peel in the soil (it will compost and give your plants added nutrients too!). You can also try mixing the juice with some water and spraying it around your garden or soak some cotton wool in it and place this around your plants
- cinnamon. Sprinkle some ground cinnamon around your plants. Alternatively, mix it with water and spray it around your garden or soak some cotton wool in it and place this where the cats like to go
- banana. Add the peel or fruit to the soil (it will naturally compost to give your plants added nutrients)
- lion pee/dung. There are fertilisers available that contain essence of lion pee/dung, a scent that cats will associate with predators and tend to avoid
- chicken manure. This is a non-chemical fertiliser that will give your plants added nutrients
- your own cat’s poop. If you have a cat and you want to deter other cats from entering your garden, you could place some of your own cat’s poop in the garden to keep the neighbours’ cats away. Cats are very territorial, so will often try to avoid areas that smell of other cats. Remember not to touch the poop yourself, instead use a scoop to move it from the litter tray into the garden where other cats are pooping
Some strong-smelling items can be harmful to cats, so avoid using:
- coffee grounds
- cayenne pepper
- essential oils
Uncovered, dry, easily accessible soil is very inviting for cats to use as a toilet, so try putting some obstacles in their way to deter them.
Cover the soil around your plants with things that cats find uncomfortable to walk on and dig, such as:
- crushed up eggshells
Cats are not keen on digging in wet soil so keep the soil around your plants damp, and try placing your plants close together so there is less space for cats to dig in-between them.
If you have a sandpit or sandbox in your garden for children to use, make sure you cover it over when it’s not being used, otherwise it will be a very inviting toilet for cats!
There are some plants that cats naturally don’t like and will try to avoid, because they either have a strong smell or are spiky and uncomfortable to get close to. Try planting some of these in your garden where cats like to poop:
- Scaredy cat plant (coleus canina)
- Curry plant
- Lemon balm
- Shrub roses
4. Create a designated pooping area
If there are particular areas of your garden you don’t want cats to poop in, you could try providing them with a suitable toilet elsewhere in the garden that you don’t mind them using. Cats like to poop in dry soil or sand, in a private area where they can hide from people and other cats and won’t be disturbed.
If you have your own cat and want to stop other cats from pooping in your garden, it’s best to avoid purposefully creating an outdoor cat toilet, as this is likely to encourage neighbourhood cats into your cat’s territory and could cause stress and conflict. Provide your own cat with a litter tray indoors so they always have somewhere to toilet away from other cats.
5. Shoo them away
Most cats like to toilet somewhere that feels safe and private, so a simple way to help stop them pooping in your garden is to make it seem less secluded. Cats are usually shy of strangers, so when you see a neighbour’s cat pooping in your garden, walk towards them and make some noise. This should stop them from associating your garden with a safe toileting site. Make sure they have somewhere to easily run off to, as cornering them or trapping them could cause them stress and lead to them becoming aggressive.
You could also try spraying water from a hose or water pistol near to the cat. Cats don’t like getting wet so the sight and sound of the water should cause them to run away. Avoid spraying the cat directly with the water though as this could cause them harm.