Keeping the cat out of the garden

How do I keep cats from using my flowerbeds as a litter box?

coleus caninaTake heart, there are non-toxic ways to keep the cats from digging around in the flowerbeds you’ve worked so hard to keep beautiful. I did a little digging of my own and found some common sense and ingenious ways to deter not just cats, but dogs and squirrels that may have taken an interest in your garden.

Chicken wire: Lay it on the surface of the dirt, critters aren’t interested in stepping through it; use wire cutters to open up spots for plants.

Layer of straw: A standard ground covering the local u-pick strawberry farms use is straw between the rows. Cats don’t like the feel of it and there’s the added bonus of keeping weeds down and holding onto moisture after watering. It’s also clean and looks great.

Scarecrow SprinklerPatch of catnip: Distract cats with their own patch of catnip (a member of the mint family). If you know cats, you already know how they’ll go out of their way to get at it and blissfully leave the other plants alone.

Motion-sensing sprinkler: it senses movement and should deter kitties plus most four (or two) legged critters from going near the garden!

Chopped citrus peels: I might try this one! Spread chopped citrus peels around the garden, cats don’t like the smell of citrus but I do. The peels break down in time and can be replaced weekly until the cats stop visiting.

Lemon thyme and other fragrant herbs: lemon thyme, absinthe, geranium, lavender and rue are fragrances they don’t love. I already have the geraniums planted and the rest have been added to my shopping list! A garden can never have too many herbs.

GarlicGarlic spray: a friend mentioned garlic spray, this was the first I’d heard so I googled it and found that garlic spray is also used as an insecticide; better yet – I found out how to make it. Combine garlic bulb and two cups water in the blender. Blend on high until garlic is pureed, then put into a storage container and set aside for a day. Strain out pulp, and mix liquid with one gallon water in a sprayer. To use as an insecticide, spray tops and bottoms of leaves thoroughly. Apply about once a week, and after rain. As a deterrent for critters, spray the perimeters; they should walk the other way.

The coleus canina, also known as the Scaredy Cat plant: it has a skunk-like smell that not only cats, but dogs and squirrels hate. Like other coleus it grows super easily from cuttings, and would be a pretty addition to the garden.

Tea leaves: It seems that cats are not fond of tea; mixed into garden soil sounds like a fine way of reusing the contents of tea bags.

If cats have already used the flowerbeds as a litter box, get rid of old debris, add new peat moss to the soil and dilute with lots of water to remove the toxicity caused by salts in the urine; after that flowers should do well; and all the best with keeping kitties from digging in your dirt. My personal note is, they’re welcome to visit and if they don’t use the litter box at home first, hopefully I’ve made my flowerbeds uninteresting enough (to cats and squirrels) that they’ll just walk past it.

If you have other unique ways of keeping the cat out of the garden or using your flowerbed as his litter box, I’d love to hear them!

On a personal note: The websites that I am affiliated with here on my blog, are websites that I have dealt with and trust; and many of the products that I endorse I have personally used and feel confident in recommending them to you. Pat

Credits: Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist at Hortiscope and Natural remedies in our garden at shelsgarden.com 

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