@#%@% Cats

carduus(5 - NE OH)May 15, 2007

My neighborhood is inhabited by no less than 10 stray cats which several of the neighbors feed and otherwise care for. Last year, I had the issue of the cats being fascinated by the loose, aerated soil in my garden, and they thusly proceeded to dig in it and use it as a litterbox. Occasionally, they'd kill one of my plants either by peeing on it or knocking it over in their digging zeal, and all last year, my garden smelled to high heaven like cat poop.

I tried barriers. I tried hot pepper flakes. I tried soap flakes. I tried to convince my wife to let me take them to the pound (to no avail). None of these seemed to deter the cats, and eventually (after having to replace a third of my tomato patch due to casualties) the plants were big enough to withstand peeing and being hit, and I learned to live with the smell.

Well, this year they're doing it again, and I'm fed up. Do you have any tried and true (non-lethal) ways of deterring cats from digging up my garden? I swear, I'm pondering a way to make weak-force mousetraps or something to give them the equivalent of a ruler against the knuckles.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

So you've not tried any of the commercial repellents that are on the market? How about a motion sensitive impact sprinkler? Many people swear by them. You can also lay hardware cloth down on top of the mulch/soil. Cats won't want to walk on it and can't dig in it.

I wouldn't hesitate to take them to the pound. Feral cats can be a real problem, and a health issue.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 1:53PM
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mockapple

I've been using chicken wire laid flat on the soil. They hate walking on it, and so far it seems to be working. In another part of the yard I'm also using cocoa-shell mulch as a deterrent (another pointy walking surface) which also seems to work. I've also heard good things about the motion-activated sprinklers.

MA

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 3:17AM
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carduus(5 - NE OH)

I guess an important piece of the puzzle that I forgot to add is that I live in a twinplex, and this bed is against my house, between my and my neighbor's back doors. So any solution can't really be that unpleasant to look at (so as not to tick of my neighbor, who gave me her garden space), and can't be motion sensitive (as we both leave our back doors all the time). The commercial cat-deterrant spray sounds intriguing. I'll have to look into that. Are they plant-safe?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:27AM
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