Cats are a nuisance in the garden, and there are lots of ‘solutions’ being offered online to stop them coming in.
However, these are not always effective.
Keeping cats off borders
The best answer is to stop the cats getting into the garden at all. Cats are creatures of habit and usually enter and leave by the same spot. Try observing where they come in.
If they are coming through a hole in the fence or hedge, block it up. If they are climbing over the fence, you can attach string 10-15cm above the top of the fence, running along the panel. This makes it hard for cats to balance on the fence panel. Or you can apply a grease like Vaseline to stop them using it.
If you see the cat in the garden, spray it with water from a bottle or pistol, or even the hosepipe. One bad experience should be enough to deter it from coming back to the garden.
Cats also dislike strong smells – try putting lavender, rosemary and curry plants in your border. Some people also recommend using cut citrus peel – apparently it smells too strong for the cat. Rubbing raw onion in places where cats frequent has been said to steer them away. I have never tried it though. Citronella is also said to be effective.
One of the things that has worked for me in the past is to save teabags and spray them with a muscle heat spray, like Deep Heat. The tea leaves absorb the strong odour. Place them around the spot in the garden where the cats damage the plants.
Another thing I would recommend is putting spiky things in the soil around the border. Wooden skewers or prunings from spiky plants like roses may help – cats have sensitive paws.
I would recommend making sure to remove any cat poo from your soil – the smell of it will attract other cats.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
you forgot the obvious one…get a cat theyre very territorial and never poo in their own gardens
Sorry, incorrect. We have two cats and one of them uses our garden all the time and I cannot stop him.
Buy Nepeta racemosa (Catmint) from Hooksgreen herbs at BBC Gardener’s world and give it as a present to your immediate neighbours the cats love it and should go to their gardens and not yours!!
Olbas oil on pine cone works. If you have raised beds, spray the edges with a mixture of white vinegar, water and Lemon juice. Waged war on cats for two years in school garden – kids love experimenting!
If your cat is given a litter tray, they will use that, at least that’s what my garden/house cats do.