Posted on 03 April 2013 by

Cats in the Garden: Shew Cat Shew

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Photo Credit: Garden helper by play4smee used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: Garden helper by play4smee used under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

When I was a child, cats in the garden were never really a problem.

My dogs normally chased them up to the barn and that was that.

Once I got married and moved to the urban jungle, I quickly learned about a horror tale called the “Black Cat and the Garden.”

While I am not superstitious and did own two black cats at the time, I did have a problem with this one black cat. My neighbors had associated the sight of the black cat and bad luck, especially in the garden.

I knew this was not true and instead tried to teach them the true reason for their plants dying. It was not black magic or bad luck but instead a cat’s need to go to the bathroom.

At this point, you may wonder, as my neighbors did, what can be done about a cat using your garden space as a litter box and the answer is not a simple one. First, one must look at the size of the garden.

Second, while one approach may work for me, it may not work for you so there is some trial and error involved. Lastly, using one type of approach all season or for more than one season will affect your ability to keep cats out. The best approach is to try several and mix them up.

The list below is just partial but these are ones that I have tried and know they work.

1. Orange Peel is a great substance to sprinkle around plants to keep the cats away. They do not like the smell but change it often. Do not have any orange peel, do not worry any citrus peel will do.

2. Cayenne Pepper is another great item to sprinkle around plants and on plants that are being nibbled on. Do not forget to reapply after rain or if you water.

3. Chicken Wire is great to use on large areas. To use this technique, simply roll out the chicken wire over an area that has not been planted. Once that is done, secure to the ground with the wire’s end, plant and cover with mulch. While you can leave this down from season to season, remember to monitor the area. Chicken wire can be crushed down and the effectiveness of the wire will be reduced.

4. Double-sided Tape is a great choice for container gardens. It creates a sticky lip that the cats do not like. When using this approach though, always remove any debris that may form on the tape.

Cats destroy gardens but the above suggestions can keep the situation at bay without hurting the cats.

So until we blog again, love those cats for their rodent care, while protecting your garden from their digging affair.

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