Ideas for keeping neighbors' cat out of gardens

primgal36April 17, 2008

Does anyone have ideas? I love animals, but the cat is always in my gardens, and I find things I don't want to. I have talked to them about keeping the cat indoors, but it falls on deaf ears. There aren't ordinences where we live for cats roaming.

We have a dog, and when he's out, the cat stays away, but he isn't always out.

Is there any inexpensive deterrents that I could use that also won't harm the plants?

Thanks for any advice.

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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

motion activated sprayers should work. when the cat gets close, it soaks the area.

most leash laws say ALL domesticated animals, not jsut dogs. many people think tha tonly dogs should be controlled, but around here the dog catcher is called for just as many cats as dogs.

last option is on eof those bb guns that shoots plastic bbs. they won't kill or permanently harm the cat, but they sting enough to run it off.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:03AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Posted by Violet_Z6 6a (My Page) on Mon, Jul 18, 05 at 13:57

Cat Deterrents for your Garden:

Keep in mind that each cat is different (like people), what works for one may not necessarily work for another. On the plus side, most cats will keep pesty squirrels, moles and other critters out of your garden. They're great for keeping out moles, rabbits, squirrels, and other critters which can do more damage in your garden than a cat ever will. Birds aren't stupid, they watch for cats and stay away. Sometimes natural law comes into play and the quicker animal wins, it's natural law.

If the cats have owners, talk to them without being confrontational. The cat owner who allows his cat to damage other peoples' property is as guilty as the cat hater who kills the cat for trespassing. Remember, cats will be cats, and it is unfair of us to blame them for being what they are and how nature intended them to participate in this world. After-all, we praise them when they catch mice or rats or other creatures we deem to be 'pests'.

* amonia soaked (corncobs, etc)
* aluminum foil
* bamboo skewers
* black pepper
* blood meal fertilizer
* bramble cuttings
* Carefresh - "recycled" wood pulp
* catnip - donated into your neighbor's yards (so they'll stay in their own yards)
* cedar compost
* chicken wire (metal or plastic)
* cinnamon
* citrus peels
* citrus spray
* cocoa bean shells
* coffee grounds -fresh & unbrewed, not just a light sprinkling (highly recommended by MANY Gardenwebbers!)
* dogs
* electric fence for animals
* essence of orange. essence of lemon, lime (citrus essential oils)
* fresh manure(ditto)
* garlic cloves
* gumballs from the Sweet Gum Tree
* gutter covers
* hardware cloth
* heavy bark mulch
* holly leaves
* keep the area damp, they like dry soil
* lavender
* liquid manure (good for your garden too)
* motion sensor sprinkler
* pennyroyal
* pinecones
* pipe tobacco
* plastic forks
* predator urine
* red wine vinegar
* river rocks over the exposed soil
* rocks, crushed
* rose bush clippings
* rue, an herb (Ruta graveolens) (highly recommended in plant form only)
Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler
(do a search or
Shake-Away Domestic Cat Repellent Urine Powder
(do a search or
* short twigs throughout the planted area about 6" apart
* six-inch bamboo skewers (pointy side up)
* Spray on your leaves (not the cat): fill a spray bottle with 1/2 t chili powder, 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1 t dish soap and water
* squirt gun with water
* talk to your neighbors
* tansy
* thorny berry, lilac, hawthorn, rose clippings
* toothpicks
* upside down vinyl carpet
* vinegar sprayed on areas where they roam
* water bottle on "stream"

*** chili powder, red crushed pepper, cayenne pepper (NOT recommended), it gets on the cat's paws then they wash themselves and they get it in their eyes, beware cats have literally scratched their eyes out because of this. Even if it's one cat out of 500 infected in this way, that's one too many for me.
*** Don't ever use mothballs or flakes. Those little toxic waste pellets destroy cats' kidney function, could seriously harm people who handle them, and yes, contaminate your own garden soil. Their packaging even warns against using them this way.

Give them their own areas:

(To keep them out of where you don't want them)
(If you don't mind them protecting your garden from other critters)

+ Pick the cat up and bring it to eye level with the plant to see and smell it up close. Usually, once a cat seen and sniffed at the plant, she usually doesn't bother with it later.

+ give them their own plants - i.e., pots of grass for her to chew on and a place in a large planted container on her balcony with some miscanthus grass in it (the cat likes to curl up in that for some reason)

+ if the cats are strictly indoors and attracted to your houseplants, grow catgrass for them. If someone forced you to remain inside one enclosed structure all your life, you might be attracted to the plants too.

+ Barley Grass
+ Any type of "catgrass" from the pet store
+ Carex elata 'Bolwes Golden' but put it in some shade
+ Catmint
Nepeta mussini
cultivars (Simply put, Catmints are Catnips without any culinary or feline use. In any case, they are, however, phenomenal, long flowering, hardy perennials that belong in every fairie or flower garden.)
+ Catnip
Nepeta cataria
(in your own yard) The oils of which also work as a mosquito repellent that works 10 times better than Deet! Catmint is the common name for all varieties of Nepeta. Catnip is the common name for the specific variety of Nepeta called
nepeta cataria
, which is the variety that cats are most attracted to.
+ Cat Thyme (Teucrium marum)
+ Flax
+ Oat Grass
+ Jacob's Ladder
+ Lemon Grass
+ Loose soil and mulch like small bark mulch
+ Mints
+ Purple Fountain Grass so the cat lays in the long leaves all day. Maybe put something in that the cats really like and - you know cats won't winky were they like to hang out.
+ Sandy area
+ Silver vine (Actinidia polygama)
+ Striped Ribbon Grass (can be invasive)
+ Sweet grass
+ Trificum aestivum (type of cat grass)
+ Various Varieties of Cat Mints (Catnips)
+ Wheat Grass
+ Wheat Berries
+ Valerian

As a gardener, grow your indoor cat some catgrass and catnip. They're healthy alternatives for your houseplants and they'll much prefer them.

Change the litter to something they prefer. If you don't clean it out everyday, consider it. Cat's appreciate a clean, comfortable place to go just as much as humans do.

This list compiled by Violet_Z6, email at for comments and suggestions regarding this list.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:58PM
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WOW! Thanks for the ideas. I don't mind that they get unwanted critters, but I do mind the birds, because I like to see them.
I know the nature of cats, but it's a much longer story than I care to go into, the fact is they have been talked to by more than one, they don't care.
There are no ordinences- I checked. They're trying to change it, but for now, that's the way it is. I wouldn't do anything to harm an animal, but I get tired of poop and body parts in my garden, so I'll have to try some of these methods.
Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:01PM
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palmettogal(SE zone8)

I live in the country and also have a neighbor (and friend!) who allows cats to breed continuously and then does nothing about the kittens but let them grow up to breed as well. These are NOT pets. They are snarling, hissing hell cats that won't let anyone even close to them (and I DO like cats). About 2 weeks ago the last straw came in the form of being wakened late at night to something coming through my heat/air return vent. I don't know which of us was more frightened, me or the cat, but the fur was a flyin' and so was I!!! Enough was enough. We borrowed a cat trap that does not harm the cats and proceeded to catch and relocate one or two a day until they were gone. I'm sure that will offend some people and I'm sorry about that, but it seemed a more reasonable alternative than automatically being euthanized after 7 days at our county shelter. The real shame and blame lies squarely on the shoulder of those who don't take responsibility for their animals.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 4:11PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

only problem with relocating cats is they have an uncanny ability to find their way back home. when my sister moved out at 18 she took "her" cat with her. she moved abotu 9 miles away form my parent's house. every 3rd day the cat would show back up at the kitchen window at our house! she would come get it, and next time she let it out it headed straight home. after 3 months, she gave up and left with my parents.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 5:57PM
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palmettogal(SE zone8) was back last night and the neighbor was putting food out this morning. My husband said he took them to different locations probably each about 5 or 6 miles away from our home. Oh well...if he stays out of the garden I won't complain. If he comes up through my heat/air return again in the middle of the night it will be GAME ON.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 9:05AM
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This cat has attacked my son twice now, not the cats' fault. Their son has tormented this poor cat ever since they got it, it's mean. We've all said things to the parents and the child, but it falls on deaf ears. This cat has targeted my son now, my son is very gentle with animals, the first time was SO awful, he had to go to the hospital and get rabies shots- the cat had never been to a vet. He sunk his teeth into my sons' foot, and in a matter of an hour, it swelled from his foot to above his knee. It was very traumatic for all of us, our son is also Autistic, these people didn't care what happened to him, they were told to keep the cat indoors, and within days, the cat was back out. This last time, the cat attacked him on the back of his legs, I EXPLODED!!!
My son has been terrified to go outside because of this animal, we are thinking about getting a lawyer, I'm tired of dealing with this.
So far, the cat escaped once, but they retrieved him back inside, so I'm waiting for them to get lax again, if they do, it's all bets off, I am not going to have my son being afraid to play outdoors.
It's like the cat knows my son is easy prey, he only goes after him, maybe it senses the fear he has. I don't know, but I will not continue to tolerate this from these people.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 9:13AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

That's terrible! You say there are no ordinances? That's sad that you have to hire a lawyer just so your son can be safe on your own property. I'd imagine that would cost a lot of money. Not to mention having to take him to the doctor for treatment. I'm sorry...I wouldn't tolerant such blatant disregard from this person. Even if it meant renting a trap and trapping the cat. I love cats and have had many over the years but there comes a time when you have to draw the line.

Good luck.

Have you spoken to the police? The cat is, afterall, dangerous and is at least a serious nuisance. Can you file a complaint?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Yes, I have spoken to the police and did file a complaint. They have been cited through a "loophole", so we'll see if they abide and keep the cat indoors. They said that they're trying to get the law changed, but I can trap the cat if needed. My son has been scarred emotionally by this, and I'm just at the end of my rope. I like animals too, but I can't see living like this, so let's hope they keep him indoors.
It's been very frustrating, they shouldn't have animals period, but what can you do?
Thanks for letting me vent.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 11:36AM
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the thing is cats dont like lemon. spray lemon oilish LOL around where you don't want them to be. and they wont cross that line. but the bad part is when it rains ya have to renew it. they kept coming on my porch til i did that, stinkers. literally. and i don't own any cats. like em but dont' own any. we have allergies to them. same with dogs. love them but have allergies to some. its in their hairs. not their dander like you'd think. i use a bb gun for the dog accross the street and he'll stay away for a while. but when his owner comes over then he thinks its ok to come over. then its back to the bb gun again.
i think in your situation, i'd go to the attorney general cant he/she do something about that?? i mean you have extenuating circumstances, or do what they probably dont have the something or another to do. capture it let it loose in the woods.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:27AM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Stop to think is the cat there to catch rodents ? if its just poo get over it

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Why should you have to landscape your yard around a cat that isin't even yours, That is enabling the irresponsible cat owners not to take responsibility for there cats, it will draw more cats onto your property. It is legal to trap cats on your own property,after trapping it take the cat to the humane society.( your info is confidental) Cat deterents do not work, cats always find another way around them. We have to start holding cat owners accountable for thier cats,if the law won't do it we need to do it,therefore trapping will solve your issues with a unwanted-unsupervised cat on your property. As far as the rodents owls and hawks and skunks and raccoons and opposums are the rodents natural predator they will eat what they kill, the domesticated cat will not eat what it kills, the cat kills for sport.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 8:44AM
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