we love cats, but having a cat frequently pooping in your garden can be very frustrating.
some of the most effective things to use to prevent cats from pooping in your garden (listed from extremely effective to slightly effective) are:
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- a scarecrow water spray deterrent
- ultrasonic noise deterrents
- chicken wire
- cat-proof fencing
- cover soft ground
- lion dung
- sharp pointy objects such as pinecones
- odour repellents
- citrus peels
- banana skins
- animal scarecrows
you may want to keep the cats away to save your garden, to keep the area clean and safe for your children or maybe to protect the birds who visit your bird feeders.
there are many reasons you might want to stop cats from using your garden as a litter box.
it could be that your neighbour has approached you about your cat frequently visiting their garden and you’re looking for ways to prevent this.
“…there are plenty of simple ways you can deter a cat from pooping in your garden.”
in addition to wanting to keep your own garden clean, you may have concerns about health too as cat poo can carry parasites that are particularly dangerous to pregnant women and unborn babies, it is very important to use gloves if you are cleaning cat poo from the garden.
be aware not every method will work with every cat, so try a few different methods until you find something that works.
below are 12 of the best ways to prevent a cat from pooping in the garden ordered from most effective to least effective:
1. scarecrow water spray deterrent
a scarecrow spay deterrent is a motion-activated deterrent that sprays water to startle the animal away from the area. it can be used to deter all animals not just cats and is effective in larger gardens too.
this deterrent is especially good if the cat is using the same spot regularly as you can set up the detector and sprinkler to go off when the cat enters the area and water will be sprayed.
the cat will very quickly realise this area is out of bounds and won’t return but you can keep the scarecrow set up just in case.
- fully adjustable
- robust and long-lasting
- effective in deterring cats and other animals such as foxes and badgers
- not ideal for smaller spaces
- expensive solution
- has the be connected to the mains water system via a hose
2. cat noise deterrent
similar to the water sprinkler deterrent above, this detects movement and emits a high-frequency sound.
the sound is ultrasonic meaning it is very irritating to cats but is almost inaudible to humans.
the deterrent is battery powered and works day and night.
the noise is loud but they tend to cover a very limited area, the cats will need to walk relatively close to the sensor for it to be triggered so it may be a case of knowing where the cats are entering the garden and placing it there to ensure effectiveness.
- easy to set up
- low maintenance
- heard by cats and not by humans
- batteries run down quickly
- may take some trial and error to find the best positioning in the garden
- mixture of results
3. install netting
if you are trying to protect your flower bed or a specific area of the garden, you may find protecting it via a fence or netting is the best method.
- simple solution
- keeps the cats from entering areas you do not want them in
- only suitable to protect a certain section of the garden e.g. a flower bed
- not the most aesthetically pleasing solution
- does not protect the whole garden
4. chicken wire
a solution that may be a more appealing option than surrounding your flower bed with netting is to put chicken wire along the ground in the areas the cat frequently walks.
you can place the chicken wire on top of the soil so it will be uncomfortable for the cat to walk on.
this is a good option as cats hate walking on chicken wire, however, it is not the most practical solution.
- cats will not walk in areas of chicken wire
- more hidden solution than using fencing
- will stop the cat from digging in these areas
- requires hard work and effort to put the chicken wire in place, particularly around plants
- not the most practical solution
- to be effective you’d have to cover a large portion, if not all, of your garden with chicken wire
5. prevent the cat from climbing the fence
one way to stop a cat from entering your garden (or for keeping your cat in your garden if you are a cat owner) is to cat-proof the fence.
there are many ways of doing this from using a net barrier to using anti-cat spikes along the top of the fence (the spikes are blunt so they will not cause harm to the animal).
there are options suitable for deterring cats and keeping cats in so if you have a fenced garden this could be an effective method.
- many options available to suit your situation
- an effective way to prevent the cat entering the garden (or from leaving your garden if the cat is yours)
- can be costly
- requires installation
- only suitable for fenced gardens (best used on wooden fence panels or walls)
6. cover soft ground
cats love to do their business in the soft soil of your flower beds.
it is easy to dig up so it makes sense for them to go there.
covering soft ground will deter them from pooping in your garden.
you can cover the ground with anything from full-on decking to simply laying loads of sticks on the soil a few inches apart.
you can do the same thing with rocks if you prefer the rock garden look.
- highly effective
- can be time-consuming and expensive if you have large areas of soft ground
7. lion dung
cats are highly territorial creatures and they mark their territory by leaving smells.
as ludicrous as it sounds lion dung is a genuine cat repellent product that you can buy. it is exactly what it sounds like – packaged lion poo!
even the bravest of cats will think twice before doing their business in a garden which appears to be the territory of a lion!
- cheap & easy to use
- eco friendly
- it stinks!
- some cats won’t be bothered by it
8. sharp/ pointy objects
you can try using pine cones, spike pads, plastic forks, egg shells or holly cuttings on the ground in the areas the cats walk and do their business as a deterrent.
the sharp objects need to be blunt so the cat does not get hurt, even blunt the pointy objects will discourage the cats and make the areas uncomfortable for the cat to walk over.
- cheap option
- useful if your flower bed is established
- several potential objects you could use
- not the best option if you plan to work on your flower bed frequently
- the items are not set in place so could get blown around or washed away during rains
- not practical for large gardens
9. odour repellents
cats are sensitive to smells, therefore using certain odours as a deterrent can be effective.
strong smells such as lavender, peppermint or cinnamon are disliked by cats.
the best option is to mix three parts water with one part of essential oil, shake and spray. a gentle spray of the area should be enough to deter them.
- natural repellent option
- can be made at home with ease
- cost-effective and non-toxic
- not long-lasting requiring regular scent sprays to maintain efficiency
- not all cats are repelled by the same smells
- the spray will be washed away by rain
10. citrus peels
similar to the idea of odour repellent above, many cats do not like the smell of citrus so you can try scattering citrus peels around the garden in order to repel cats.
this is a good one to try without having to do any preparation or spend money to try to repel the cat.
if you don’t like the idea of putting citrus peel in the garden you could also bend or chop the peel into very small pieces and sprinkle this around instead.
the citrus peel will naturally biodegrade so you don’t have to worry about clearing it up either.
- very easy solution
- you may already have citrus fruit in your home meaning you can try this method immediately
- can use citrus essential oil to get the same effect without the peels
- will require regular replenishing
- not particularly aesthetically pleasing unless you blend the peels
- some cats may try to eat the citrus peels
11. banana skins
similar to citrus peels cats are also said to hate the smell of banana.
as bananas ripen they release ethyl acetate which smells similar to acetone.
this is known to be a smell that cats will actively avoid because they hate it.
so instead of throwing banana skins into the compost chop them up and scatter them around your garden, particularly in the areas where cats may have made a habit of doing their business.
- very easy
- you may already have bananas in your home
- will require regular replenishing
- can look messy
- won’t work on all cats
12. animal shaped stand with eyes that glow
this can be used to scare the cat away.
the shape of an owl (owls do present a threat to cats) or a cat in an on-alert stance with glowing eyes can deter cats and other animals away from your garden.
there are versions of these with light-reflecting materials used for the eyes and there are ones that light up artificially via solar power.
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if you use these it is a good idea to frequently moving the stand around the garden to make it more effective.
- a harmless way to deter cats
- easy to install and requires no maintenance
- cats may become used to the stand and begin returning to the garden
- not always effective
as you can see there are countless ways to try to stop cats from pooping in your garden, some methods are more effective than others but there are several which can be attempted with little or no expense.
the goal is to make the garden a less appealing place for the cat to come, whether that’s by using smells cats don’t like, noises, water sprayers or by simply making the fence difficult for the cat to climb over.
as all cats are different something that works really well for one person with this issue may not be as effective for another.
therefore, we advise trying a couple of different methods if the first is not as effective as you hoped.
make an area more inviting for the cat
now we’ve talked about deterring the cat away from one area, let’s look at how we can attract the cat to another spot in the garden.
this can be useful if the cat is always in the flower bed and you wouldn’t mind it in other areas of the garden instead, or if your cat is going to your neighbour’s garden and you want to make your garden a more attractive option for your cat.
choose a spot in the sunshine
cats tend to enjoy being in the sun so if you want to make an area of the garden more attractive to the cat, choose a sunny spot if possible.
take advantages of a cats love of catnip
it’s no secret that cats absolutely love catnip. by planting some catnip in your garden, you can distract the cat away from
zones it should not go to.
however, take care because there is a good chance the catnip will attract other cats to the garden too.
in addition to catnip there are also other plants that cats seem to love including lemongrass, flax, barley grass and wheat berries.
create a sand patch
zones of sand to use as a litter box…or sleep in!
the sand area will likely offer the cat a better place to do its business than the flower box but it will require regular cleaning.
making the area more attractive is a great way to keep your cat in your garden or convince an unruly cat to stay away from a certain part of the garden.
if you want to keep the cat away and try to persuade it back into its own garden, you could always give a catnip plant (or another plant cats love) to your neighbour to plant in their garden.
approach the owner regarding the cat
if you know who owns the cat, you may find it useful to go over and speak to the owner.
they may be willing to help with the problem or offer solutions on things the cat does not like to keep them away.
some owners may be unwilling or simply unable to help with the issue but it is always worth informing them on the issue.
keep your garden clean to avoid cat visits
you may also find that cats are coming into your garden because they can smell food, this can be avoided by:
- not feeding your pets outside
- keeping your bins securely closed
- washing away urine spray if you see any as this is a way that cats mark their territory
- clearing away any clutter or areas where mice may live
- keeping bird feeders off the ground and in an area where cats wouldn’t be able to catch the birds who come to land
how to stop your cat going to your neighbours garden
if your cat is allowed to roam freely you may be trying to find ways to keep your cat in your garden.
many of the ideas listed above can be used to prevent your cat from going to other areas. however, you may find additional training is needed, for example training your cat to stay in your garden.
you may also find that restricting outdoor access to daytime only can help the situation and reduce conflict.
as well as this, making sure your cat is fed well and neutered or spayed will likely be beneficial too.
keeping on good terms with neighbours is important so if you know your cat is causing issues, be open and talk to your neighbours about it.
give them your number, be sympathetic of the situation and tell them you are looking at ways to prevent this from happening in the future.
a summary of how to stop cats pooping in your garden
having cats constantly visiting your garden can be very frustrating, fortunately there are many ways you can deter or even prevent cats from entering your garden.
if your neighbour has approached you regarding your cat visiting their garden regularly, you may be pulling out your hair wondering how on earth you can stop your cat from going over there.
cats may do their own thing but there are relatively simple ways that you can help sway their decisions.
by making areas more or less appealing depending on the desired outcome, you can help the cat to make decisions that benefit you as well as them.
just remember that the cat does not mean to annoy or aggravate you and simply doesn’t know what areas are ‘out of bounds’.
giving them a nudge in the right direction can be all they need to find a new favourite hangout spot.
good luck and we hope this article has helped you to find an effective solution.
also read: how to dispose of cat poo: 3 safe & hygienic methods
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