Are cats finding a way to enter your garden and creating havoc? Are they disrupting your carefully planted herbs and plants? Does your garden seem to look like a litter box when cats are around? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Cats can be a nuisance when they want to, but there are ways to handle this.
They are skilled at catching pesky insects, mice, moles, etc. What better place to hunt for food and bounce around than a neighborhood backyard? In fact, cats are also songbird hunters. The same songbirds that munch on pests in your garden are targeted by cats.
If you are an avid gardener and have put in plenty of effort to nurture your raised garden bed and overall garden then you would definitely prefer songbirds over cats.
How do Cats Harm Your Garden?
Cats can harm your garden in several ways. You may want to enlighten yourself a little on this topic:
- Cats have a habit of digging through flower beds. This will destroy your plants and seedlings due to uprooting the roots.
- They find comfort in using fresh garden soil for littering purposes. Cats will leave half-eaten food and literally convert your garden into their private litter box.
- Cat urine possesses a combination of nitrogen and several salts. These components will burn and spoil your plant roots and foliage. Even worse, cat urine has a nasty odor that can ruin the atmosphere for a gardener and his/her plants.
- You may have designed your garden such as pollinators and wild birds are attracted. This may help in your gardening purposes as well as beautification. But as mentioned earlier, cats have a thing for birds and in most circumstances would injure or kill birds in your lawn.
- As cats are carnivore animals, their poop will consist of roundworms, pathogens, and bacterial parasites that are not generally found in herbivore manure. You don’t want them excreting in your lawn as the odds are you would be eating whatever you grow.
For such and several additional reasons, attempting to keep cats out of your backyard would be a wise idea. Besides, you don’t want your lovely vegetable and flower beds to get attacked by wild cats. Do you?
5 Tricks to Keep Cats Out of Your Lawn
We have curated a few smart tricks that you can inculcate to prevent your garden from facing cat attacks:
1. Cats hate prickly and spike-like surfaces
Cats absolutely hate discomfort. If you manage to roughen and harden out your soil, cats would prefer to keep a distance from your backyard. They are attracted to soil that is loosened and soft. The more prickly your soil is, the lesser probability that cats will invade your garden space.
As a gardener, you must already be adept at creating stakes. Consider spacing out wooden stakes on your backyard to make it troublesome for cats to navigate around.
Check out these DIY gardening tools and you will surely find something to complement this and several other gardening tasks.
Another good option would be to place chicken wire scattered in areas of your garden that cats usually enter from. Most herbs and plants will grow through the wire so don’t worry about obstructing plant growth.
Cats are highly sensitive animals and the slightest of jerks or surprises can leave them afraid of entering your garden again.
In case the cats are primarily ruining your plants, you can simply cover budding plants with recycled bags that have twigs popping out.
You can even position pine cones half-way under the soil around your plants. This makes it so much harder for the cat to get to the plant, that you will land up conserving your gardening efforts.
2. Motion-activated devices
There are several devices that can detect movements in your backyard and summon a reaction as a response.
- Motion-Activated Ultrasonic Devices – You can strategically place these sensor-like devices in an area that covers larger regions. As soon as any movement is detected, it gives out high-frequency sounds that prove too much for the cat to handle, thus it runs away.
The best part is that this frequency is inaudible to humans, so you can expect least disturbances while having automated the process of keeping cats at bay. However, these devices require their batteries to be changed every few months. Make sure you carry out frequent checks so as to avoid a sudden attack.
- Motion-Activated Sprinklers – If you have an erected garden hose storage solution then attaching a sensor-operated sprinkler will prove handy in your battle against wild cats. Direct these sensors toward your frequently attacked garden areas and they will shoot water in case movements are detected.
This is a great way to keep all kinds of animals at bay. You may even want to attach an oscillating sprinkler system along with this sensor. This way you can automate the watering process for your plants and simultaneously fight cats. Be warned that colder climates may freeze the waterline. Thus you can use another solution for colder climates.
3. Cats hate the scent of Vinegar, Oranges, and Lavender
Cats are picky animals. If they don’t like anything they will simply walk away and not force it. There are a couple of easy solutions to incorporate when it comes to placing edible items in your backyard, with the sole intention to keep cats out of your lawn.
- Vinegar – Cats, dogs, and even rabbits despise the smell of vinegar. You can erect a few wooden stakes in your garden with soaked vinegar rags. The scent will not be unpleasant for you and will simultaneously hover around, keeping these animals at bay.
Even better, you can soak these rags once again every week. 4 times a month is fair enough to keep animals away.
- Black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Orange Peels, and Lavender – Placing orange peels and crushed forms of black and cayenne pepper have commonly known to keep cats at bay. Also, add some coffee grounds with these ingredients for a foolproof solution against cats. Above all, these mixtures have properties to act as a garden fertilizer too
Remember, you would need to regularly replace these ingredients as they lose their scent when exposed to open air for long.
Cats also hate the scent of lavender and rosemary. Consider including these plants in your garden if you are a victim of regular cat attacks.
4. Physical barriers
The placement of spaced wooden stakes is a low-level route to include physical barriers to restrict cats. If you have been thinking of putting up fences then make sure to include meshed-wires. A 2-meter high fencing would be enough.
Also, when you decide to use chicken wire, you have to use landscape pins to secure these wires. Otherwise eventually the cats will find a way to get across the trap.
Some people may not want wooden or metallic fences around the perimeter of their garden. These people can opt to erect a wired-meshed fence. There is no way a cat will manage to get across such barriers.
5. Design a cat-friendly zone
Do you like cats and don’t want to get rid of them entirely? Who said you have to always kick them out of your garden? You can choose the alternative route and create a little zone in your garden that consists of elements that cats love.
Cats are fans of honeysuckle and mint. Over and above all, cats cannot resist catnip plants. This is because of the presence of an oil known as “nepetalactone”. When cats sniff the catnip plant, pheromone receptors are stimulated in their body. This induces a sense of happiness and euphoria, much like dopamine for humans.
A better idea would be to create a sandbox spot where a few catnip plants are growing. This is a good way to avoid them from pooping in a scattered manner all around your lawn.
You can ever spray and sprinkle deterrents that will keep cats away; they are sold as cat repellents.
Eventually, you must study which of these options will not interfere with your overall garden maintenance tasks. If you’re interested in a DIY project over the weekend then take up the task of building a catio.
There is no better way of teaching cats discipline than sharing your space with them.