The neighbor’s cat may be very cute, but its droppings in the vegetable patch or in the sandbox are a nuisance. However, there are ways to prevent cats from using your yard as a toilet. We introduce them.
Cats are known to be clean animals. They don’t just leave their droppings lying around, they bury them neatly. Why are they doing this? There are two theories about this. Firstly, they ensure that the smell is not scattered to the four winds and attracts predators. Second, they signal to higher-ranking cats that they accept their dominance in the territory.
But whether buried or not, there are places where feces are a nuisance. Loose soils are particularly popular with cats – i.e. sandboxes and freshly raked garden beds. We’ve put together some tips on how to get cats out of your yard.
Thorns and Trellis
A simple way to protect beds from cat droppings is to cover them with a compost grid. The crops they sow grow through the grid, but this makes it impossible for the cats to scratch, making the space less attractive as a toilet. Blackberry tendrils and other prickly plants are also suitable as a cover.
There are a number of scents that are unpopular with cats. The strategically clever planting of harp bush (“piss off the plant”), cranesbill, rue, or lemon verbena at the corners of the beds keeps cats away. The same effect can be achieved by sprinkling coffee grounds or pepper and spraying apple cider vinegar. Cats don’t like garlic either – and if they bury garlic cloves, you can still enjoy the harvest two years later.
The water pistol is an effective means of scaring cats away. Of course, the same works with the garden hose – but do not aim the jet directly at the cat, otherwise, it could be injured. With both variants, however, you have to be there and notice the presence of the cat. The Swiss Animal Protection (STS) therefore recommends water jet animal repellers, which are triggered by a motion sensor and automatically spray what passes them.
Another technical method is ultrasonic devices, which are also equipped with motion sensors and, when triggered, emit a sound in a frequency range that is imperceptible to humans. It is important that the frequency is set high enough not to actually disturb people. However, the STS advises against such devices, as other animals such as hedgehogs, bats, and birds may be disturbed.
None of the above remedies work 100%. Anyone who manually sprays water or sprinkles pepper needs a good deal of tenacity. Some cat lovers recommend an interesting alternative to repel: provide the cats with a welcoming outdoor toilet in a corner of the garden where they will not be disturbed. To do this, dig a small pit and fill it with sandy soil. It remains to be seen whether the cat will accept the invitation – cats are known to have a mind of their own.