The Q&A Archives: Flower Bed Or Litter Box

Question: I have wonderful flower beds situated around my house in various locations. My neighbor likes to take in stray cats and lets them run around the neighbor hood and do as they please. I love animals and I like the fact that the cats keep the rodent population under control. My problem is: the cats like to use my flower beds and outside potted plants as litter boxes. Can you recommend any remedy short of calling animal control to alleviate my problem? I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have.

Answer: You can't blame cats for wanting to dig in fresh, sweet soil, but it can be bothersome to have them digging in your flower bed. Cats are creatures of habit. The key is to break that habit by making their experience in your flower bed an unpleasant one. You can put up a temporary barrier until they learn not to visit your garden, or you can place decorative stone or large pieces of bark over the soil surface between your plants to keep cats from digging. An inexpensive deterrent consists of stakes placed around your flower bed with nylon fishing line strung from stake to stake. Keep the line about 6" above the soil surface and make sure it criss-crosses every 8". Cats entering the bed will quickly exit because they'll be afraid of getting their legs caught. Once the cats associate fear with being near the flower bed, they'll stop visiting.

Hope this helps!

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