The Q&A Archives: Cats In The Garden

Question: I have a small flower bed near the back door. Of course, this is where my husbands cats like to go potty. So, I am afraid to plant anything nice, plus I have to keep "cleaning the cat box". Is there anything I can put in the dirt that will repel the cats but be non-toxic to plants?

P.S. I swear by Miracle Gro. What great stuff!

Answer: Cats like to dig in nice soft soil and they visit out of habit. If you make it uncomfortable for them, they'll soon find another place to go. Since you've already planted the bed, the best deterent is to drive stakes around the perimeter of the bed and string nylon fishing line between the stakes, criss-crossing it so there's no more than about 12" inches between the lines. Keep the line about 6" inches off the ground and the plant leaves will disguise it. Cats won't be able to walk or dig in the soil and will find another litter box. If you have beds that are not yet planted, you can lay crumpled chicken wire over the soil and cut holes in it for planting. As the plants grow, the leaves will cover the wire and you won't notice it. Or, you can spread a 3" - 4" inch layer of mulch material over the soil. The larger the material, the less likely cats will want to dig in it. Try the largest size of landscape bark, or the longest straw you can find.

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