From their purring cuddles to their mysterious vagabond ways, we love cats. What we don’t love is their tendency to trample and sometimes even poop their way through our carefully tended gardens. Gardens, cats—we love them both—they just don’t mix well.
Not only are conventional cat repellents harmful to your cats, but they are also harmful to you and your plants. With a host of toxic chemicals and compounds in their formula, you are better off sharing your organic harvest with your cats.
Fortunately, there are a few easy-to-fashion manoeuvres to keep cats out of your garden without the use of unnecessary chemicals or cruelty. For instance, in permaculture, the practice of sustainable, self-sufficient living in harmony with the land, there are several natural practices and recipes for keeping all sorts of animals from damaging your garden or your crops.
For everyone who has witnessed the frustration of coming home to soiled carrot plants or trampled flower beds, this list is for you!
One of the easiest and most effective means of keeping your garden cat-free is to spray your plants with a habanero spray. Cats are not huge spice fans like some of us, especially with their heightened sense of smell. Once they get one whiff, they’ll be turned off for good.
Preparation is easy.
ll you need is a spray bottle, 3-4 habanero peppers, some natural non-toxic soap, a blender, and a strainer. If habanero peppers are not readily available to you, you can also use another pepper that is around the same spice level (cayenne, ghost peppers, scotch bonnet, etc.) You can even use dried cayenne powder.
First, place the peppers in your blender with 2 cups of water. Blend on high until liquefied. Next, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the solids and seeds (don’t skip this step—the seeds and chunks can clog your spray nozzle). Then, pour the pepper liquid into your spray bottle with a funnel, adding 1 tablespoon of natural soap. Screw the nozzle on, give it a shake, and voila!
You can now spray any flowers or plants that you want to keep your cats away from with this spicy solution. Just make sure to wash any plants that you sprayed well before consumption! The soap ensures that the solution sticks to the plants and withstands getting washed away by a single rainfall or watering. However, a soak and rinse should remove any residue left on your plants before consumption.
Another way to ensure your cats stay out of your garden is to plant flowers and herbs that emit odours that naturally repel them. You will have to do some trial and error with this one because each cat has their sensitivities and preferences when it comes to plants. There is no one size fits all approach.
Rosemary (AKA Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary doubles as a natural cat repellant, as many cats don’t like the strong aroma that its oils give off. Planting herbs around your crops or flowers not only promotes biodiversity, which naturally keeps pests away but also ensures that your cats don’t use your garden soil as their litter box.
Scaredy Cat Plant (AKA Coleus Canina)
By emitting an odour that strongly resembles pee, the Scaredy Cat Plant effectively deters most cats and even dogs away from its vicinity. Don’t worry, it won’t stink up your garden—the odour is very subtle and only detected due to the sensitive noses of our feline friends. This also happens to be a very low maintenance plant, able to survive in dry conditions and various soil types.
Citronella (Pelargonium Garveolens Citrosa)
Not only does citronella drive your cats away, but its pleasant, lemony smell is also a natural repellant for mosquitos. Talk about repelling two pests with one plant! Planting these in pots around your garden beds is recommended since overfertilization can reduce the strength of its scent.
Catnip (Nepeta Cataria)
Since most cats are attracted to catnip, you can use it to draw your cats to areas of your garden that your cats are allowed to visit. Catnip’s gorgeous purple flowers will not only emit an odour that excites cats but will add life to your garden’s dead zones.
That’s right, you can keep your cats out of your garden with water. After all, it is one of their most feared predators. By setting up motion activated sprinklers in your garden, you can keep your cats from turning your flowers into a personal litter box. Once they get sprayed a few times, they won’t dare try again.
Another way to use water to keep your cats away is to regularly water your plants. This washes away any urine or other odours they may have used to mark their favourite litter spot. You can even try applying a diluted natural soap spray to make sure that built up odours are removed. If using in conjunction with the spicy spray, make sure to apply another layer after a thorough wash.
These days, there are several products on the market for keeping cats out of the garden by emitting a high-pitched frequency that is a nuisance to them and will effectively drive them away. Although this option requires an investment, it could be well worth keeping your garden free from trampling cats that turn garden beds into litter zones.
Create an Outdoor Litterbox
If you have outdoor cats or frequent feline visitors, you might benefit from building them their outdoor litterbox. It doesn’t have to be fancy—you can simply section off a part of your garden with wooden planks and fill it with sand (bags are cheap at the hardware store). You can even fill a shallow storage container with sand and leave it as far from your plants as possible.
Cats prefer sandy, dry soil or even small rocks, so presenting them with this option creates a high probability that they will stay away from your garden soil. This would be a good place to plant that Catnip to lure them over!
We hope these tips will help you find peace in your garden life and reduce the amount of kitty poop you deal with regularly. After all, there is always a way to live in harmony with our furry friends, even if it takes a little bit of effort on our part!
- Natural non-toxic soap
- Rosemary / Citronella / Catnip
- Motion activated sprinklers
- Cat repeller
- Wooden planks
- Storage container
Motion activated sprinkler