You're reading: How to Stop Cats from Digging in Flower Beds
Cats love to dig and they see patches of earth as welcoming places to do their business. However, it can be so frustrating to find feces and urine among your beautiful flowers! Some cats may even gnaw off parts of the flowers. Whether you are trying to keep your cats or neighborhood cats out of your flower beds, there are some simple solutions that may do the trick.
Using Barriers Download Article
Place taut string around flower beds to create an obstacle for cats. Hammer a stake at each corner of the bed. Wrap the string around 1 of the stakes, then pull it taut and wrap it around the next stake at the same level. Keep going until you have surrounded the flower bed with string.
- Cats dislike the feeling is going over or under a piece of taut string, so this might be enough to keep them out.
Pour mulch around flower beds to make the ground deeper. Use the trimmings that you would normally discard or purchase a bag of mulch. Put down a 2 ft (0.61 m) wide and 6 in (15 cm) deep layer of mulch or trimmings around the edges of your beds.
- The depth of the mulch or trimmings will cause cats to feel like the ground is not safe to tread on, which may deter them from entering.
Lay chicken wire across the soil to make the beds uncomfortable. Place strips of chicken wire between plants in the flower bed so that the chicken wire is completely covering the soil. If needed, hammer in a stake at the end of each piece to keep it down.
- Cats do not like the feeling of wire on their feet. If a cat makes it all the way into the flower bed, the chicken wire should scare it off. The chicken wire will also prevent the cat from digging.
Cover the flowers with netting overnight to block out cats entirely. Lay the netting so that it completely covers the flower bed. Insert stakes through each corner of the net and hammer them down to hold the net in place.
- Cats often prowl around neighborhoods at night, so placing a piece of netting over your flowers may solve the problem.
Tip: Garden netting lets in enough sunlight that you could leave it on during the day too, but it will prevent you from seeing your flowers. Remember to take the netting off during the day to make your flowers visible again.
Install a motion-activated sprinkler to spray cats that come by. Position the sprinkler near the flower beds that the cats like to dig in. When the cat visits, it will be surprised with a quick blast of water. The water may not even hit the cat, but the surprise of water shooting out at random will scare it. The cat may try to invade the flower beds again later on, but it should learn to stay away after setting off the sprinkler a few times.
- Check hardware and garden supply stores for a motion-activated sprinkler.
Deterring Cats with Scents and Sound Download Article
Sprinkle strong-smelling foods and spices for a quick fix. Cats dislike anything that has a strong or pungent odor, so you may be able to keep them at bay with items from your kitchen. Some items you can sprinkle in and around your flower beds that might deter cats include:
- Citrus fruit peels, such as lemon, orange, and lime
- Cayenne pepper
- Coffee grounds
- Pipe tobacco
- Dried herbs, such as peppermint, lavender, and lemongrass
Plant strong-smelling flowers and herbs for a long-term solution. For a long-term solution to cat invaders, try creating a garden based on flowers that cats dislike or plant a few of these types of flowers and herbs around the perimeter of your flower beds. Some strong smelling flowers and herbs include:
- Lemon balm
- Lemon thyme
- Scaredy cat or Coleus canina
Tip: You can also use the scent of a predator to help deter cats. Coyote urine can be purchased online and can help scare smaller animals away.
Plug in an ultrasonic device near the flower beds to create a sound barrier. Cats can hear different frequencies than humans can, so an ultrasonic device may also help to keep them at bay. Plug in the device in your garden or as close to the flower bed as you can get it.
- You can purchase these devices at hardware stores or online.
- The device will not harm the cat! It just creates a sound that the cat will find annoying or frightening.
Put up wind chimes for constant ambient noise. You can also try hanging wind chimes near your flower beds. The tinkling sounds may bother any invading cats and make them think twice about sticking around. Position the chimes as close to the flower beds as you can.
- For example, hang chimes from your front porch if the flower beds are on the front side of your house, or hang the chimes near a back window if they are behind your house.
Set up a motion-detecting sound deterrent to scare cats off. Motion-detecting sound deterrent devices make a loud hissing sound when a cat comes near. Cats dislike this sound and will usually take off running when they trigger the device. Position the device right next to your flower bed so that it will go off as soon as the cat approaches.
- You can purchase these devices at hardware and garden supply stores.
Tip: You can also find motion-activated statues that make noise, such as a frog statue that croaks. This type of device may also scare off the cat if you place it near your flower beds.
Trying Visual Deterrents Download Article
Lay a garden hose among the flowers to make cats think there’s a snake. Cats are often afraid of snakes by instinct. Laying a garden hose in and around a flower bed may trick a cat into thinking there is a snake. Get a small garden hose and lay it in and around the flowers.
- For something even scarier, try getting a fake plastic snake to put in your flower bed! Place it on the edge of the bed so cats will see it right away.
Hang CDs or water bottles to deter the cats with light. Random light patterns and strange objects may also spook cats. String up a few CDS or empty water bottles and hang them from a nearby bush or tree branch. The reflections and movements of the objects might scare away any cats that come by.
Read more: How to Kill Nutsedges in a Vegetable Garden
- Placing a few CDs back side up on the ground around the flower bed might also help to scare away invading cats.
Put a scarecrow or stone statue near your flower beds to spook cats. An old gardener’s trick is to put up a scarecrow or some other type of statue, such as a stone owl. Place the scarecrow or stone statue right next to the flower beds.
- For an extra measure of protection, you can purchase a special type of scarecrow that has a built-in motion detector. When the cat sets it off, it will shoot a quick burst of water at the cat.
- Check hardware and garden supply stores for scarecrows and statues that you can place in your garden.
Tip: If you don’t mind having something spooky in your yard, you could also purchase a motion-activated Halloween decoration, such as a witch or zombie. Watch for sales after Halloween to get a cheap motion-activated decoration and place it near your flower beds.
Avoid chasing cats out of your garden yourself. While it might seem like the sight of a human running after the cat would make it think twice about coming around, the cat may actually see this as a game or challenge and be more likely to visit again. The cat will be much more frightened of unknown threats than of a human.
- If you spot the cat in your garden or yard, don’t let it see you! Spray it with a garden hose or water pistol from a window or behind a bush. The cat will be more frightened if it does not know where the water is coming from.
- You could also try hissing from a window if the flower beds are close to your house. Just make sure the cat does not see you!
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If you know who owns the cat that keeps getting into your garden, consider talking to them. Let them know that you have found evidence of cats digging in your flower beds and see if they can help you get the cats to stop. They may be willing to keep their cat in at night or at least supervise them better.
About This Article
To stop cats from digging in your flower beds, put down a 6-inch deep layer of mulch around them, which cats won’t like stepping on. Or, you can sprinkle some strong-smelling foods around your flower beds to deter nearby cats, like citrus fruit peels, cayenne pepper, or coffee grounds. You can also try laying chicken wire over the soil in your flower beds since cats don’t like the feeling of chicken wire on their paws. To learn how to use visual deterrents to stop cats from digging in your flower beds, scroll down!
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