The Q&A Archives: Cats

Question: There are neighborhood cats and possibly other forms of wildlife making use of my sandy ground as their litter box. Is there anything I can put down to deter these animals that is safe and nontoxic?

Answer: Cats bury their business; most wildlife does not so that might help you determine the culprits. 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. If it's your entire yard, it's problematic, but if it's a specific gardening area here are some ideas: 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. Other things to try: Motion detectors that spray water, sprinkling thorny rose branches after pruning on top of the soil (but watch out yourself!) or repellent concoctions made of garlic and/or hot pepper. You can make your own: Mix into a quart of water: one clove garlic (chopped), one onion (chopped), 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper or chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid. Dribble around the area to be protected (don't get it on the plants themselves). Be sure to wear rubber gloves and be careful not to get this in your eyes or on your skin. Any repellent will wear off with time and rain, so must be reapplied. Good luck!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Char and is called "'Diamond Head' Sunrise"