Sunday, 12 May 2013

Keeping Cats out of the Garden

Apologies to all cat-lovers out there...

We are a feline-free island in a sea of cat owners. Therefore all the local cats think that our garden is their playground, operatic stage, wrestling ring, hunting ground and bathroom.


I love gardening and am fed up of discovering unwelcome piles of very smelly, semi-buried cat faeces. I also object to being woken up by cats squabbling half way through the night.

In an attempt to keep cats out of the garden I have tried numerous deterrents. Please don't get me wrong, I don't wish the moggies any harm, I just want them to steer clear of my garden. I also want to stay friends with all my neighbours...

In an attempt to solve the problem we talked at length to cat owning friends and did lots of research.

The first thing we tried was some incredibly smelly garlic granules. These were so effective that they cleared our garden and several neighbouring gardens of cats and humans alike.

Having been told that I should spray water near unwanted cats, I took to stalking the garden with a loaded water pistol. Whoever gave this advice had obviously never tried it because it is totally impossible, the cats very sensibly stayed out of the garden until I returned to the warmth of the house.

Sprinkling ground pepper and shredded citrus rind around the garden proved to be expensive, time consuming and didn't seem to work.

 
Convinced that the local cats were now laughing at me, I semi-buried plastic chicken wire. It was very fiddly to bury, made it very difficult to weed and even more difficult to extract cat faeces from...
 
Becoming increasingly desperate I forked out for a very expensive sonic device that emitted a high pitched squeal designed to deter cats. I think all the local cats must be deaf...

In an attempt to save money I placed freebie CDs around the garden shiny side up as cats don't like reflections...maybe our local cats are both deaf and vain?


I knew things had reached rock-bottom (please excuse the pun) when I tried to persuade Mr TH to wee in the garden as cats don't like the urine of larger male mammals. Mr TH vehemently declined citing indecent exposure as an excuse...

Frustratingly, we were still regularly removing piles of cat faeces and being woken up in the early hours by cat fights and operatic choruses.  But when I discovered that all my carefully planted lettuce seedlings had been dug up so that the pot could be used as litter tray I declared out-right war!

 I staked their toilet sites with canes...

 
I started to think like a cat...would I like having my paws prickled? Clippings of holly were placed on favoured bathroom sites, this did work but I had to keep up as they quickly found other toilet-sites around the garden.


I know that cats don't like to get wet so I strategically placed dishes of water around the garden. This combined with the holly seemed to work.


I then turned to their favoured entrances and exits to the garden. Surely a sudden noise would deter them? A (cat-loving) friend bought me an anti-cat rattle that I attached to one of their entrances to the garden.


Inspired by some online research, I scrubbed all the garden walls with biological washing powder to remove all favoured cat-smells and then sprayed with a mixture of third parts; water, alcohol and lemon juice.


I know that this is not a guaranteed solution. I will still be clearing their unwanted presents out of my garden for years to come. Cats like privacy to carry out their ablutions and somewhere sheltered to stalk and terrify the local bird population. The bird feeders in my garden will always be a draw for the moggies.


I also know that cats are discerning so maybe I should take their presence in my garden as an extremely warped compliment. They, like me, appreciate a good garden when they see it...or maybe I should just step up my continuing petition for a dog?









19 comments:

Cheryl said...

Have you tried sections of old water hoses. Only needs to be a couple of feet long. We hid them around the garden and the cats hated them. Thought they were snakes, I suppose. (Funny to watch the cat's reaction from a distance, too)

Thrifty Household said...

Thank you Cheryl, I'll be trying that idea out...!

Highland Monkey's said...

Oh dear. Although not having this problem I feel your pain. I've heard that filling empty large pop bottles with water and laying them down is supposed to deter....if all else fails you need a dog!

marigold jam said...

We get some of this too even though we have a cat he is now to old to really mark the territory as his!! I did wonder about using the wet contents of his tray as deterrents here and there around the boundary. I remember once when we had problems with a bully cat next door who insisted on terrorising our cat the vet told me to try the water pistol trick or better yet to get a dog. Maybe you could borrow one (dog not water pistol)now and then and gradually persuade Mr TH that having one of your own would be a good idea.

Gillian said...

I read this with great interest!! We have a big issue with cat poo in our garden and it drives me mad, especially when the kids accidentally come into contact with it while gardening with me.

I found that poking sticks into any remotely bare patch of earth worked well. Broken garden canes, lollipop sticks, anything, and push then in deep so they don't get dislodged. THe cats seem to like an area to walk and scratch over before pooing and the sticks interfered with that. And holly or dried thistles stuck in the ground also work, although he holly leaves blow away...the things we do!

Anyway, good luck and thanks for all your tips and advice. Someone told me to just get a cat, as cats never poo in their own back gardens and other cats stay away as they know it's someone else's home!

Gillian x

Thrifty Household said...

Cat owning friends unanimously suggested that we should get a cat. Unfortunately/fortunately I am allergic to cats so it's not an option...!

Betty the Wood Fairy said...

Just seconding the suggestion for water hose - you squiggle your hose round the garden border and cats are cautious as they don't like snakey things - if it switches on occasionally that also helps!

silverpebble said...

I admire your persistence and ingenuity. I do hope the new deterrents work. Finding such presents is a gruesome business.

Tea soon?

Thrifty Household said...

Yes please, when's good for you?

snood knitter said...

have you ever thought about getting a dog??

Thrifty Household said...

...frequently!

http://www.thriftyhousehold.co.uk/2012/06/puppy-love-but-not-quite.html

Mrs. Micawber said...

Your garden is lovely, cat deposits aside.

Good luck with your quest!

P.S. Would Mr. TH perhaps be willing to wee in a jar (in the comfort and privacy of the loo)? Then you could put the results in a spray bottle ... etc. etc. (Not trying to be disgusting - just an idea.)

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I find keeping six dogs is an excellent cat deterrent ;)

Dianne - Hereford said...

Try soaking used tea bags in Jeyes Fluid. When well soaked just drop them around the garden. Cats hate the smell. The tea bags will compost down.

Dianne - Hereford

Clare said...

You have a lovely garden. Re cat problen, have you tried orange peel, this looks ok, but needs replacing when dry, its the orange oil in the skin that is meant to be the deterrant.

Gigibird said...

My garden is a cat toilet but as I have 3 I just have to embrace cat poo picking to my daily routine....however - heres a suggestion - why not make an area in your garden a cat poo area - I have 3 old drawers I grow lettuce in - one is currently empty after my chickens picked it clean and it has since become one huge kitty litter tray...all mine go in it and I then clean out any 'solids'... don't worry before I use it again to grow lettuce I take out the old soil and use half a grow bag of new soil to re-fill.
Even when we had a dog my neighbours cats still managed to leave me little presents.

Sophie Belle Designs said...

This was so funny as my Mother-in-law had the exact same problem and went through each and every one of your trials including a Cayenne Pepper one too. Her Sonic Device worked in the end, It was surprisingly effective. She was so happy, as like you she has a beautiful garden. But then when the cats stopped, the rats started!!! She didn't last long before the sonic device was turned off and the cats returned and rats departed.

Eugenia said...

Oh what a pleasant find your blog is. I rolled with laughter. I am a cat lover but keep my cats indoors. It's irresponsible to allow them to roam. I don't like wandering cats in my yard either. Yes yes a pup is probably the best solution.

Good luck.

xxxxooo e

Marny said...

What about a motion detector light or hose that goes off and sprays!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...