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How To Stop Cats From Using My Garden As A Toilet

After putting in hours to have a gorgeous flower bed, it’s disappointing to find cat poo sitting in between your flowers. As cute as cats can be, not many of us can stomach this behavior. I get many emails asking: how can I stop cats from using my garden as a toilet. I also see this question asked in forums and Facebook groups, so let’s look at some solutions.

Black and white cat tiptoeing in the garden

Ways To Stop Cats From Using Garden As A Toilet

Inhumane ways to deter cats from peeing and pooping in your garden

Let me start by saying that it’s never OK to be mean or hurt cats (or any animals for that matter), regardless of how upset you are with their behavior.

I often see people on FB groups suggesting terrible ways to keep cats away from the garden:

  • throwing stones
  • shooting the cat
  • sprinkling chili powder, black pepper, cinnamon, crushed up mothballs (mothballs are toxic for humans too, and will seep into your plants), etc. While these do work, cats will get them in their eyes as they clean themselves. That is not nice!
  • “planting” plastic forks (or other poky things) in the garden to keep cats from walking on the soil
  • putting pieces of duct tape sticky side up
  • adding a cat scat mat to the garden (this

I’ve seen people whose neighbor’s cats invade their garden talking about picking up the poop and leaving it on the neighbor’s doorstep with a note. Or others wanting to fling the cat’s feces on the neighbor’s driveway, or place it on their AC unit. 

My questions: how would that help you?

Instead of doing the above, take a look at the alternative options below, that are both humane and efficient. 

 

Best ways to keep cats out of your garden

1. Motion-activated sprinklers

My favorite way to keep animals out of the garden is to install motion-activated sprinklers where the animals like to go. This works amazingly well for cats, dogs, rabbits, deer, and many more…

A gentle spray of water is the most effective and humane solution for scaring off animals.

Just make sure you don’t get soaked when you walk by the garden 😉

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2. Ultrasonic pest repeller

This works by making a sound only animals can hear. Very simple and safe, but costly if you have a large garden.

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3. Make it uncomfortable for cats to visit your garden

  • Cats like freshly dug soil a lot to use the bathroom in. So, while you plant your flowers or veggies, and your soil is freshly dug, add some 6″ to 8″ tall sticks to your garden: just sick them in the ground around your plants.
  • Take a few baby food jars and poke holes in the lid. Fill with ammonia and bury it in your garden (all the way to the lid): the scent tricks the cat to think it’s being marked by another cat
  • Add orange and lemon peels to your garden beds. Felines dislike the citrus smell and will stay away. If you don’t like pieces of lemon and orange rind in your garden, you could dry and crush them into small pieces. I save citrus peels all winter long when we use lots of them (and use them for my garden as well as to make my own citrus-infused vinegar for cleaning around the house).
  • Sprinkle some critter ridder: cats hate the smell of it and stay away
  • You can also buy coyote or fox urine on amazon, or a hardware store. If you spray it in the area, they think a larger predator is around and they stay away.
  • Spray straight or diluted vinegar around the edges of the garden and on plants, fences, posts, and garden decor to keep cats away. Concentrate the spray on areas that the cats frequent or that you particularly want to protect. Spray every few days or as often as needed to repel the cats. Make sure to be careful: some plants like the acid and some don’t.

4. Trap it!

You can legally trap them and take them to a shelter, regardless of if it’s someone’s pet or not. Not my favorite method if it’s a neighbor’s pet, but will do this if I get desperate.

If the cat using your garden as a toilet is a feral cat, trap it and get it fixed: this will stop their proliferation, and they’ll also be less likely to mark their territory.

5. Create a spot for cats, away from your garden

While this is not a sure thing (meaning cats might still visit your garden), you can create a spot in a far corner of your yard where cats will love to be.

Plant some catnip as far away from the garden as possible. Yes, it’s possible that more cats will come, but you will know exactly where they are, so you won’t be stepping in cat poop.

I hope these methods to stop cats from using your garden as a toilet will help you keep your garden intact, and smelling fresh rather than like cat urine and poo.

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Jon Bishop

Friday 29th of May 2020

2 deterrents that work (1) Jeyes Fluid, pop some in the watering Can and water the ares the Cats are using, It has an ammonia in it and confuses Cats into thing Hey this is a BIG Cats area (2) there is a shrub called a Rue planted in the area of where the Cats use Emits a strong odor that Cats Hate

DIANE THOMPSON

Friday 22nd of May 2020

I live in Ontario Canada and here we have a in-law in place that states cat are not to be allowed outside at all. But we all know to well that people just let them out no matter what. This winter I had an issue with my greenhouse they decided it was their home away from home and sprayed all the walls , the smell is just terrible.

With the nice weather I have been able to remove the entire cover . I am going to see if cleaning it with ammonia will remove the smell. I think I will try the vinegar trick or the animal urine as suggested. Thanks

John Smith

Thursday 28th of November 2019

The nicest way to say it is remove them from the outdoors! Cats belong as indoor pets. Outside they are destructive invasive species that need to be removed from the ecosystem. They spread disease, kill and displace native species destroy homes, and habitat .End the horrible practice of TNR!!!!

Shana

Sunday 16th of May 2021

@John Smith, My thoughts EXACTLY! Cat people kill me thinking that just because they love their cats, EVERYBODY else should too! Stop making your pet MY pet.

Dog mom

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

@John Smith, perfect answer.

Dog mom

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

@Sickofrudepeople, I have large dogs that also are able to pull down the door handle and open an UNLOCKED door. Lock your door. Tell your small children they are not to open the door without an adult to hold the cat while they do so. Stop making excuses. If one of my large dogs went and destroyed your backyard garden or left loads of poop in your freshly manicured lawn would you be happy?

Sickofrudepeople

Wednesday 7th of April 2021

@John Smith, I don’t let my cat outside! He’s determined to go outside to the point of knowing how to open doors. I have small children that are slow opening and closing doors behind them and the cat darts out every chance he gets. It’s exhausting trying to catch him everyday to bring back in the house. And exhausting trying to find ways to prevent him from escaping the house. I find it very rude when people like you just assume cat owners simply let their cat outside. I don’t want an outside cat and try hard to make him happy to stay inside the house.

Maria Johnson

Friday 17th of July 2020

That is right!

Jennifer in Colorad

Thursday 31st of October 2019

I would like to add another solution. I live in Colorado and have an abundance of pine cones which i have added to my flower beds......SCORE!!! it looks pretty and my 2 cats stay away while I did give them an alternative place to do thier business. It works and keeps pine cones away from other places like under my feet.

ILoveGardening

Thursday 31st of October 2019

Great idea!

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Sunday 13th of October 2019

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