The Q&A Archives: Cats in my backyard

Question: How can I stop cats from using my backyard as their litter box? Also, I've planted vegetables in the area where they now poop, can I still eat those vegetables? The seeds are barely starting to grow and I'm not sure if I should eat the vegetables??? They have pooped very close to my little plants. Help!

Answer: Cats enjoy digging in soft, fresh soil and your garden is obviously very attractive to them. You can scrape out the visible poop and remove it from your garden. Since the vegetables are just starting out, they should be fine by the time they reach harvestable size - as long as you keep the cats out from now on. Apart from building a cage around your garden, you may have to experiment a bit until you find something that works on this particular cat. Some gardeners report success using a variety of deterrents to make the garden less attractive to cats. One is to scatter thorny branches (such as rose trimmings) over the surface, another is to spread a layer of wire mesh such as chicken wire over or just under the mulch to make digging impossible, another is to use a repellent spray applied to the garden (there are commercial varieties intended to repel cats or you can make your own concoction with garlic or pepper or both). Finally, some gardeners report that a pet dog is the most effective deterrent they have tried. You might also check with the local authorities and/or neighborhood association as in some areas it is illegal to allow pets, including cats, to roam.

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