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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. 

longhaired ginger-and-white tabby cat sitting among grass and plants outdoors

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:

Some strong-smelling items can be harmful to cats, so avoid using:

Find out more about what is poisonous to cats.

2. Obstacles 

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:

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!

longhaired brown tabby cat sitting in flower bed outdoors

3. Plants

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:

Find out more about cats and plants. 

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. 

Find out more about cats and toileting. 

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. 

Find more advice about keeping cats out of your garden.

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