Anyone who owns a cat knows that they love the sunshine and the smell of the outdoors. However, as much as we love our feline friends, cats in the garden can be a real nuisance. They will end up digging your flowerbeds, which you have worked on for hours, and use them as a litter box. To add to the misery, tomcats will spray the foliage with their urine to mark their territory or just flatten all the plants as they loll around in your flowerbed, comfortably sunbathing while all your hard work goes out for a toss. The unfortunate, unappreciative behavior of cats towards flowerbeds and gardens, can result in misery and hostility towards the cat. However, instead of attacking the poor cat, try these simple and effective steps for keeping the cats out of your garden.
Tips on How to Keep Cats Out of Flower Beds
Cats are usually quite free-spirited, wanting to roam around the world, without hindrance. Since they are pretty agile and can seem to jump over or squeeze into anything, they usually manage to get into your home territory quite easily. However, there are a list of commercial as well as homemade cat deterrents, that seem to work effectively in keeping them away from your flowerbeds.
Tip 1: Before you can implement any steps to stop the cat from ruining your precious flowerbeds, it is advisable to talk to the owner of the cat and know if it is domesticated. However, if you are that unfortunate a cat owner, it is recommended that you look into options like cat proofing your garden or building cat enclosures. Believe me, it will not only make your neighbors happy, but your cat will be safe as well. Building a toilet area for your cat, like a sand pit, is a great idea.
Tip 2: There are many commercial cat deterrents available in the market. Most of these chemicals contain the active ingredient, methyl nonyl ketone, which should not be used near food crops. Any of these can be used to protect your flowerbeds.
Tip 3: This is one method that I am sure will work, even if for a limited time. As soon as you see the cats near your flowerbeds, just squirt some water on them. Since cats HATE water, they will probably just get flustered and not come back again. There are certain motion-activated sprinklers, that use infrared to detect the animal and shoot a jet of water on it. If the cat belongs to someone you know, it is advisable that you tell them of the plan and assure them that you will not hurt the cat. This method is, however, severely limited by the fact that some weird cats might actually think you are playing with them!
Tip 4: A great way to keep the cats off the flowerbeds, is by spreading peels of lemon, orange, or grapefruit on it. For some reason, cats seem to have a developed distaste for citrus smells. Drops of citrus oil or coffee grounds also seem to do the job just as well.
Tip 5: By installing a fine garden netting over the soil in the flowerbed, you can ascertain that the cat does not dig away the soil. Placing it an inch or two above the flowerbed ensures that they are not walking on it either. You can also try spreading pine cones, by adding it to the mulch on the flowerbeds. Since cat paws are sensitive, they would usually avoid such places. Alternately, you can cover the ground with rough-surfaced rocks or use the branches of a thorny plant.
Tip 6: Most gardeners around the world have the 'perfect plant solution' and it involves planting certain plants in the garden that repel cats. Marigolds are a great option in this case. Not only do they look good and are fairly easy to grow, but they also possess a scent that keeps cats away from the flowerbeds. Plants such as geranium, pennyroyal, rue, lavender, garlic, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and other strongly scented plants are also unpleasant to cats. A weed originating in Europe, known as 'coleus canina', deters the presence of cats, by emitting an odor offensive to them (but not to humans).
Tip 7: High frequency sounds emitted by ultrasonic devices usually send the cat running, while causing no distress to your ears.
If these tips do not seem to work, try to make your garden less cat-friendly, by doing away with the huge cat magnets, like bird feeders and birdbaths. If you have catnip plants, please do away with them unless you want cats from miles away, swarming into your garden. There are people who also recommend getting a dog. However, I do not think it's a good idea because if the dog attacks the cat, you could be fined. Also instead of the cat ruining the flowerbeds, a dog may destroy it in completely different ways and then you would probably end up reading an article on 'how to keep dogs out of flowerbeds'.