Cat repellent or how to keep cats out of your garden

Do cat repellents work? How to prevent a cat from using the garden as a litter box? Tell me how to keep cats out of my garden. These are common questions that concern all gardeners, but is there a real answer?

The first line of defense is to make sure your yard boundaries are secure. Any gaps in your fence should be blocked off to deny low level access. But cats can jump, so fix a taut wire or place it about six inches above the top of your fence to determine this approach.

Once inside your yard, many people say that the best cat repellant is a dog that will promptly eliminate any feline invaders. If you are not a dog lover, you will have to resort to more passive methods. Since cats like to lie down in freshly dug soil, you should mulch the edges so there is no exposed bare soil. The seedbeds should be covered with wire mesh or branches arranged as a barrier.

Young trees should have plastic protectors placed around their trunks to protect them from being used as scratching posts.
Your garden pond should be covered with a net to keep your fish safe.

Cats are generally known to dislike water, so a well-aimed bucket or blast from the hose is sure to send an intruder running. After one or two applications, you can learn your lesson and stay away.

To protect plants and borders, both mothballs and citrus are said to be effective deterrents. Arrange mothballs, orange peel, or lemon zest around the edges. Alternatively, spray cloths with orange-scented air freshener and place the cloths around the plants you want to protect. Other popular cat repellents include cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, lavender oil, lemongrass oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, and mustard oil.

Certain herbs are said to deter cats. In particular street but not catmint which has the opposite effect. Coleus canina is another plant that a dealer sells as a cat repellant.

Broadcaster Jerry Baker has suggested treating your garden with a tonic made from chewing tobacco, urine, birth control pills, mouthwash, molasses, detergent, and beer. A small farmer has reported that he has had success using dried rabbit blood, but he may feel that the ingredients listed in the previous paragraph should be tried first.

If you visit your local garden center or hardware store, you will find several cat repellent products for sale. These range from electric water sprayers and ultrasonic devices to sprays and granules.

Motion activated sprinklers act in the same way as a burglar alarm using an infrared detector. When the cat enters the area covered by the detector, the sprinkler launches a jet of water to scare the animal. It is claimed that after one or two encounters with the stream, the cat will learn to avoid the area.

Ultrasonic devices emit a high-frequency sound that is annoying to cats (and dogs) but not audible to humans. There are several different models, some that work continuously and others that have an infrared detector and only emit a pulse of sound when the cat activates the device. To be successful, you need to make sure the model is powerful enough to cover the area you want to protect. Also, make sure the sound frequency is designed for larger animals, as some models are meant to deter insects and therefore wouldn’t be useful for cats.

There are also commercial scented cat repellents. Those using chemicals should stay away from any food crops, but the essential oil-based pellet varieties act in the same way as the orange and lemon peel mentioned above. Another way to keep a cat away from your garden is a repellent evaporator which consists of a container containing puffed rice that has been infused with essential oils. These are effective for three to four weeks and can then be recharged for an additional period. Another natural product that many people claim actually keeps a cat out of the garden is lion manure. You may need to visit your local zoo to get this, although some stores stock zoo poop.

In Ontario, Canada, the local municipality offers a cat trap service. Once the animal enters the cage, it cannot escape but is completely unharmed. The owner has to pay to get his pet back, so he should be encouraged not to let the cat go missing in the future. Apparently few owners bother to claim their cats and only get another kitten. However, this sounds like a good way to deal with a cat that cannot be deterred by any other method. If there is no such scheme in your area, just buy your own trap.

So, to recap, the first priority is to secure the boundary fences. Then you have the entire selection of suggested cat repellents ranging from homemade recipes to expensive commercial gadgets. I suggest you try orange peel and thorny twigs for starters. If you are nearby when the intruder appears, try the bucket of water or the hose. Even if you miss, the shock may be discovery enough. If these don’t work, you may need to consider commercial alternatives.

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