9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

Image by Chris Winsor/Getty


What’s the best way to keep cats out of your garden? If repeated visits from neighbouring cats are ruining your lovingly cared-for lawn, there are actually a number of steps you can take to humanely deter cats from entering your garden.

With homeowners regularly faced with unwanted feline visits, outdoor specialists Garden Buildings Direct have revealed nine methods that UK households can employ to stop local cats pooping in your garden and from entering in the first place.

As a friendly reminder, cats should never be harmed and are protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. An obvious, initial step to make it difficult for cats to enter your garden is to install high, close-boarded fences. The RSPCA also advise: ‘Avoid feeding roaming cats as unsurprisingly this will encourage them to return to your garden.’

As independent cats are difficult to trace to their owners and are even harder to control, Garden Buildings Direct have listed exactly how four-legged trespassers can be deterred, using pebbles, pine cones, lavender, orange peel and more.

Alternatively, if you can’t beat ’em? Join ’em. You could create an area that cats will enjoy to keep them away from the rest of the garden.

‘The UK is famous the world over for its love of animals, with a high proportion of households having at least one pet. That affection for our four-legged friends rarely extends to allowing your garden to become a toilet for the neighbour’s cat though,’ said a spokesperson for Garden Buildings Direct. ‘Nobody wants to cause them any harm, but you’ve got to try to stay one step ahead if you want to maintain a clean lawn and undisturbed flower beds.

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‘Cats are cunning creatures and may become wise to your tricks, so it’s important to regularly vary your methods.’

9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

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1. Clean up

Make sure bins are secure, declutter to remove any hiding places for mice, sweep up any enticing food waste, check no potential toys are lying around and dispose of any existing cat poo used to mark their territory.

2. Rough ground

Lay chicken wire under mulch or embed it in the top layer of soil (with holes cut out for plants) to create an uncomfortable surface to walk on; cats will also do their best to avoid areas covered in stones or pebbles.

3. Sounds

Purchase a high-frequency, ultrasound device to shoo unwanted visitors, hang a sensitive bell on the garden fence or fill a tin with stones that will rattle when disturbed by a cat.

4. Cat-zone

Create an area specifically for cats to discourage them from exploring other parts of the backyard; pick plants like catnip and insert a sandbox, which will act as a toilet and contain the problem of cat poo.

5. Obstacles

Place a collection of pine cones or branches in gaps around bedding to form a bristly obstacle for cats without ruining the natural look of the garden or causing them pain.

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9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

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6. Pungent plants

Introducing smelly plants that cats hate to problem areas could persuade them to head elsewhere; effective choices may include coleus canina or lavender.

7. Other smells

Commercial cat repellent containing predators’ odour could have them retreating, whilst spreading coffee granules or citrus (orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit) peel around the backyard might also repel feline visitors via their noses.

The RSPCA warns: If you do decide to use an approved cat repellent product on the market, please make sure it’s a licensed product and that it is used in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. Failure to follow these may lead to an offence being committed and could result in unnecessary suffering being caused to the cat.

8. Get a dog

One sure way to put off any cats from visiting your property is to have a loud and lively canine ready to greet them with an enthusiastic bark.

9. Water pistol

Have a children’s water pistol filled and available to gently drive away any unruly cats that persistently invade the garden. Please ensure it is low powered and is squirted near the cat, not directly at the cat.

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8 plants to help naturally deter garden slugs

9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden


These tall, elegant plants are not just great at attracting bees – they contain a large amount of nerve toxins which are repellant to slugs. They are also good at breaking up a border which may have become the perfect habitat for slugs – moist, low and shady. Foxgloves bring light, height and structure.

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9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden


Euphorbias contain a latex-filled tissue which is repellant to many pests.


9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

Japanese Anemones

Similarly, Japanese anemones contain the same unpalatable tissue and provide a zap of colour to any border.


9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden

Day lily hemerocallis

The striking flowers on these beautiful blooms are not our focus here, it’s the fury stem that makes it hard for slugs to grip.


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9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden


Succulents form a similar texture barrier with their waxiness and, with some varieties, spikiness. They are also very low-maintenance and add colourful structure.


9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden


These delicate flowers may look sweet and innocent but their string scent is repellant for slugs.


9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden


Again, slugs detest the smell of this highly aromatic herb.


9 ways to keep unwanted cats off the garden


The bitter scent of fennel isn’t attractive to them, either.


Ruth Doherty Ruth is an experienced freelance digital writer and editor, covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty.

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