Meyer Lemon tree and cats- a killer connection?

jeelli(5/6 CT)March 2, 2008

Okay- here's a good one! One of my cats (all female) has decided to use my potted Meyer lemon tree as a litter box- just discovered ten minutes ago. Urine and feces. Will this kill my lemon tree? It's three feet tall! I've scooped some of the dirt out, because among other things it smells, but should I expect any kind of damage???

Thank you in advance- I love all of you and this forum!!!

(sigh) Now- where's the cat forum...

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Jeelli..oh boy, naughty kitty.
The feces won't matter, but urine will be a problem..
Do you know how much she went?
You need to leech the soil..Depending on the size of your citrus, hall to the shower or outside..(don't know what your temps are) Or another water source where water won't destroy carpeting, etc.
Run water through the soil..about 10 mins..hopefully, enough it'll dilute before any harm is done..I'd get to it now..BTW, this can only be done if your pot has drainage holes..does it? Toni

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 4:09PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Hi Toni!
It looks like she hit the inside of the pot- which is glazed pottery. I do have a drainage hole- I just have to get the tree up to the shower. I had scooped out as much soil as I could, and I replaced that with new soil- but I definitely will leach it!
Thank You!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 8:12PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

I leached my soil- by the way- eewwww! I watered until water poured out of the bottom of the pot clear-ish and odorless.
I watered a few days later with some Peroxide in water. I hope that helps. I hope the plant doesn't die of root rot, but so far she looks good! I'll try to put her out if it's warm enough to help dry out the soil (it's in a clay pot)
I'll keep my fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 9:51PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yikes! Feces may not kill your plant, but I'd consider it a MAJOR problem! Let's solve the problem of your cat using the container as a litter box.

First, there are some cat repellent products on the market that are reported to be quite effective. Visit your local pet supply store for ideas. You can also lay some large pine cones on top of the soil, or sweetgum balls (Liquidambar styraciflua), which will make them shun the container.

Do not cover the top the pot with anything that will prevent the soil from exchanging gases and evaporating properly, like plastic wrap or a cover of foil.

By the way, if your potting mix is porous enough, you wouldn't need to worry about root rot after a thorough leaching. Something to think about! ;-)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 1:15PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Thanks Rhizo!
Hopefully it won't happen again. EVER!!!(Or else! LOL) It's never happened before; not in plants, anyway.
One of my girls gets stressed out on occasion, and she has hit other places. I did put three old shelf brackets holders on the rim of the pot- they'll fall easily if touched, which should scare away my skittish Kitties (and the Dog). Otherwise- no, I don't want to block the surface by any means.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 2:27PM
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The cat urine will kill the tree. I'd knock all the dirt off it and use new potting mix. I've noticed low doses of cat urine won't kill bannana trees. I use broken clay flower pots as a mulch to keep the cats off my plants. The smaller pots work best.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 11:47PM
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