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How to keep cats away from your Garden

Cats may be prized pets for their owners, but they are often vilified by local gardeners. At the Garden Centre we are often asked on how to keep cats out, but the below email we received really shocked us into writing something about how to keep cats out of your garden humanely!

To Whom it may Concern,

I am really beyond fed up at the moment, I have a recurring problem with the new neighbours cat. The little bugger comes in, digs everything up, urinates all over my fruit and vegetables and eyes up the fish in my pond. To put the icing on the cake the birdlife in my garden has been targeted to such an extent, I have stopped feeding birds in fear of their impending doom.

I am usually a very calm individual, but when I see that cat leering in at me when im in the kitchen, I almost hit the roof! Running outside with a bucket of water does not really support the friendly neighbour image I want to give off!

What can you recommend? Please, please help!

Tim *****

Well Tim, you are not alone. The problems cat pose in gardens is well documented, not only do can cats dig up your plants and soil on your edibles, their poo also differs from other animal poo, meaning it cannot be used as manure.

Many cat owners protest that this is the case and that cat’s poo is no different to other forms of manure we happily put on our soil. Firstly, manure we use is produced by herbivores, whilst cat ‘manure’ is that of a carnivore. This means that Cat poo can contain parasites and harmful ingredients passed on by its last meal. Composting cat poo is therefore not recommended for the same reason.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can put down on your garden do to help the situation. We list them below:

  • Animal Control Crystals– These strongly scented crystals deter cats from fouling and digging up flower beds. The crystals can also be used on hard surfaces such as patios and decking. This option is often reported to work pretty effectively
  • The Scaredy Cat Plant- The Coleus Canina plant is a weed which has been imported from Europe. Its unofficial name is gained from its ability to emit a smell which is offensive to cats, but fine for humans.  These plants should be planted around three feet apart.
  • Common household items- There are a number of household items you can sprinkle around your garden to deter cats. Orange and Lemon peels are reported to work well, as is Cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, pipe tobacco, peppermint oil and even mustard!

Remember that if cats can gain access to your garden, they are much less likely to soil your garden if they cannot access dry soil. Cats also do not like to walk on uneven and rough material, so changing the underfoot properties of your garden can help massively. Putting down stones and pine cones in flower beds can prevent cats from using them; bundles of twigs can also help.  Pricky plants are also a great option.

It has been reported that filling small bottles with water and placing them randomly around the garden will deter cats; the light that reflects off the water keeps them away. Old CD’s on pieces of string can also have the same effect.


Protecting birdlife from cats

The most recent figures regarding cat-bird deaths come from the Mammal society. They estimate that cats in the UK catch around 55 million birds a year. The most targeted type of birds by cats are house sparrows, blue tits, starlings and blackbirds. There are a number of things you can do to help protect your birds whilst feeding them:

  • Avoid at all costs feeding birds off the ground, this is where they are most vulnerable
  • Ensure feeders are high off the ground and are away from places where cats can jump at
  • Position birdhouses away from where cats can reach them or can sit by


We hope the above has helped! If you guys have any other tips… Please reply below! Happy Gardening!



Published September 9th, 2013 by Jordan. Article ref 945

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