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Looking for humane ways to keep cats out of your garden? Find out more in our guide.

As hard as it is for us to admit, we know not everyone is a cat lover. It can be frustrating to see neighbourhood cats digging your newly planted flower beds or finding cat poop in your garden. Keeping cats out of your garden doesn’t need to harm them at all – there are lots of cat-kind ways to keep curious moggies out.

Know the law

Cats have the right to roam, which means that they are legally allowed to wander into your garden. They are also protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, so injuring or harming a cat using any homemade or shop-bought deterrent could be considered an offence under the act. If you’re found guilty you could face a hefty fine or even a prison sentence.

This is why it’s so important to use humane methods to keep unwanted moggies from visiting. You can read more in our guide on cats and the law.

How to deter cats naturally

There are a few natural ways you can help deter cats coming into your garden, including:

  • bushes and shrubs. By planting shrubs fairly close together, you take away the space a cat has to dig and move around and therefore they’ll find your garden less interesting
  • manure and soil. Spread Soil Association-approved chicken manure pellets around beds and borders
  • strong smells. Cats dislike the smell of lavender, so growing this may deter them from your garden. They’re also not fond of citrus smells, so any orange or lemon peels you have pop them directly onto your soil. They’ll compost and provide your plants with nutrients, while keeping cats away
  • don’t feed them. If a cat comes into your garden – don’t feed them! This will just keep them coming back
  • keep bird food off the ground. If you throw food out for the garden birds, keep it off the ground and somewhere hard for cats to get to
  • keep bins secure. If cats catch the smell of something exciting they’ll want to investigate. Keep outdoor bins secure and tightly lidded

Other ways to keep cats out of your garden

Along with more natural methods, there are some other humane ways to keep cats out of your garden:

  • fences. High, close-boarded fences next to the hedges in the garden make it difficult for cats to enter your garden
  • spray. Install an automatic garden spray, triggered by an infra-red sensor that detects movement. These are especially effective if the cat can’t work out where the water is coming from. You don’t need to hose cats, though, just a light spray of water is enough
  • sometimes saying “shoo” works. If you see a cat in your garden, clapping and shooing them away can deter them from coming again

How can I stop cats pooping in my garden?

Cats like to poop in gardens, especially where the soil has been freshly turned over (so flower beds and other areas ready for planting). It can be really unpleasant to come across cat poop while you’re trying to plant your pansies, so there are a few ways you can discourage cats from pooping in your flower beds:

  • put crushed up eggshells around plants. These will naturally compost into the soil and are also great for keeping other garden pests away from your plants
  • use pebbles and stones in flower beds. Cats will naturally avoid pebbly or rocky areas, so try using these between your plants
  • create obstacles. Putting a few twigs or branches between plants will create a barrier for cats. If you’re growing vegetables or have seedlings, putting a mesh barrier around them so they can still get sunlight can also deter cats from digging and pooping
  • make a cat safe area of the garden. If it’s your own cat in the garden, or a cat you don’t mind but you wish they wouldn’t poop in a particular place, try making a space they can poop in so they use this instead of your flower beds

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