The Q&A Archives: Pet Control

Question: Sirs,

I have an approixmately 8'x12' area of dirt outside the front door that I have been intending (for 5 years) on using for plants/flowers.

I have had it separated from the lawn with chicken-wire. This has kept our dogs away. However, our cats have begun using it this last year.

WHAT CAN I DO TO DETER THE CATS once I have converted this area to a flower bed? I will, of course, amend the soil and would like to top it with mulch. Is there anything I can add to the soil as a cat deterrent? A border of special plants the cats shy away from?

Would appreciate your suggestions. Thanks.


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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