The Q&A Archives: Cats in the Garden

Question: We have several stray cats that used our garden for a litter<br>box last summer and probably have over the winter. How detrimental to the soil? I want to plant vegetables in this spot.

Answer: Cat feces and vegetable gardens are not a very healthy mix. Try to find and remove any fresh feces and then deter the cats by placing crumpled poultry netting over the surface of the garden, or driving stakes around the perimeter of the garden and stringing fishing line between the stakes. Keep the line about six inches off the soil, and criss-cross it so there's less than 12 inches of space between the lines. You can plant between the lines, or cut holes into the chicken wire to place your plants. Since we don't know the degree of contamination, it would be best to put your veggies in another spot. If you must use this garden plot, try to grow only vegetables that will not come in contact with the soil, such as peas, beans, and tomatoes. This season avoid growing root crops, leafy crops like lettuce, or squash that may have to lay on the soil.<br><br>Once the cats figure out they cannot access the garden soil, they'll find another litter box.

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