A common concern among gardeners involves keeping pests out of their garden space. While for millions of pet owners cats are a cherished member of the family, for a gardener the neighborhood cats can be as much as a nuisance as bugs and weeds. According to Jeff Schalau with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, cats are territorial mammals that mark their territory with urine and feces. Cat urine and feces both have distinctive odors, and the University of Maryland Medical Center points out that cat excrement is a carrier of the parasite that infects humans with a disease called toxoplasmosis. Fortunately, there are a number of resources and products that discourage cats from using a garden as their latrine.
Things You'll Need
- University agricultural extension website
- University-associated moderated forums
- Local library
- Natural repellent spray
- Cat deterring surface
- Cat repelling plants
- Food scraps with citrus odor
Access the website of the nearest university agricultural extension. These organizations publish a wealth of helpful information tailored to the local community.
Read the university extension website to determine the best cat repellent products and techniques for the local area. These may differ, depending on climate and local laws.
Peruse a moderated forum associated with a university for additional tips on finding the best cat repellent. Moderated forums help ensure that forum advice is relevant and accurate.
Go to the local library and investigate the available texts on cat behavior. The librarian may be able to recommend a particularly appropriate selection.
Obtain several recommended repellent products in the listed categories. Multiple layers of repellent techniques may be necessary in order to keep all cats away from the garden.
Spread a natural repellent spray such around the perimeters of the garden. Make sure the garden is completely encircled by the repellent.
Set down a cat-repellent surface between the plants and the repellent spray barrier. Pine cones and chicken wire are two surfaces cats generally find especially uncomfortable.
Plant a ring of cat repellent plants such as lavender or rue at the edge of the garden soil. Cats will usually avoid their scents.
Scatter food scraps with a citrus odor in the garden itself. Orange peels, chili powder, or anything soaked in vinegar is recommended.
Tips & Warnings
- Cats tend to follow strict routines. Once the habit of using one garden as a litter box is broken, a cat may not return to it again.
- Most cats dislike strong citrus smells. Orange peels, vinegar, and chili powder are all recommended by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. These substances are organic and can be spread beyond the garden itself for maximum effect.
- A system utilizing several repellents combined with a physical barrier such as a fence often provides the best results.
- Do not use any substance that contains ammonia near the garden. A cat may think the ammonia scent means another cat has marked that territory and feel the need to further mark the garden itself.
- Photo Credit cat image by Darren Ager from Fotolia.com pine cone image by Carol Tomalty from Fotolia.com lavender image by Lytse from Fotolia.com
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