Ground Pepper As A Cat Deterrent - Knowledgebase Question

Seattle, WA
Avatar for tcb7
Question by tcb7
April 14, 2001
I have a friend who said that adding ground pepper to the soil in my raised beds will prevent cats from using the beds as giant litter boxes. Makes perfect sense to me--cats hate sneezing--but I'm wondering about the quantity to use and any precautions or concerns for the soil and plants (vegetable and flowers). Thanks for your help. What a great service! Thanks for your help, and I look forward to using this site.

Answer from NGA
April 14, 2001
I understand the logic between pepper and sneezing, but it would probably be more effective if you sprinkled pepper on the soil surface rather than mixing it in with the soil.

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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